12/25/12

Michael Moore: Who Are We?

Michael Moore, in an email blast, said that even if we ban automatic and semiautomatic weapons and magazine clips that hold more than 7 bullets; beef up background checks; build better mental health services; and regulate ammo -- all things we should do -- it won't prevent another Newtown.

Connecticut, with one of the country's strictest gun laws, couldn't stop a killer with no criminal record from carrying legally-owned guns, none of which fit the description of "assault weapon".

The Sandy Hook school was locked down when the killer showed up that morning.  The children were drilled on how to respond if a shooter breeched school security.

The killer's rampage stopped when the cops -- the men with guns -- showed up at the school.

Other countries with a lot of guns, like Canada, with 7 million guns to its 12 million households, have low murder rates, Moore said.  The UK, a nation of 63 million, had 58 murders last year. Japanese kids watch the same violent movies and Australian kids play the same violent video games that American kids do, yet these countries have murder rates far lower than ours.

We need to ask ourselves, Moore said, who we are.

The U.S. invades countries that haven't attacked it. It uses drones to assassinate people, taking out innocent civilians in the process. The country was built on genocide and slave labor. The Wild West was tamed with guns and ammo. Six hundred thousand Americans died in the Civil War. American women are raped, beaten and killed at a staggering rate.  A woman is murdered in the U.S. -- half the time by her husband or boyfriend -- every three hours;  raped every three minutes; beaten every 15 seconds.

North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and the U.S. are the only countries in the world that still have the death penalty.

Thousands of Americans die each year just because they can't afford medical treatment.

The U.S., the so-called "greatest democracy on earth", has the lowest voter turnout of any western democracy.  American students rank 17th in science and 25th in math. We're 35th in life expectancy.

We pride ourselves on being the biggest and the baddest on the planet, but when the violence we idolize runs amok in a Newtown or an Aurora or a Virginia Tech, we shed maudlin tears.

The violence is fed, Moore said, by three factors:

Poverty. 50 million Americans are poor. Even if you're not the 1 in 5 Americans going hungry at some point during the year, you're living from paycheck to paycheck.  Crime is driven by desperation, something only decent jobs can cure.

Racism. The 300 million guns Americans keep in their homes, Moore believes, represent white suburbanites' fear of black home invaders.

The "Me" Society.  Our "Not my problem!" approach just postpones the day when that problem becomes ours, Moore believes. Remove the social safety net, and we will all eventually fall through. In civilized countries that recognize the national benefit in taking care of their own, there is less of a "lone wolf" mentality, Moore believes.  Connectedness and solidarity make it harder to kill your neighbors.

Moore's website.

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