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Moore writes: "After watching the deranged, delusional National Rifle Association press conference on Friday, it was clear that the Mayan prophecy had come true. Except the only world that was ending was the NRA's."

Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty Images)
Portrait, Michael Moore, 04/03/09. (photo: Ann-Christine Poujoulat/Getty Images)


FOCUS: Celebrating the Prince of Peace in the Land of Guns

By Michael Moore, Open Mike Blog

24 December 12

 

fter watching the deranged, delusional National Rifle Association press conference on Friday, it was clear that the Mayan prophecy had come true. Except the only world that was ending was the NRA's. Their bullying power to set gun policy in this country is over. The nation is repulsed by the massacre in Connecticut, and the signs are everywhere: a basketball coach at a post-game press conference; the Republican Joe Scarborough; a pawn shop owner in Florida; a gun buy-back program in New Jersey; a singing contest show on TV, and the conservative gun-owning judge who sentenced Jared Loughner.

So here's my little bit of holiday cheer for you:

These gun massacres aren't going to end any time soon.

I'm sorry to say this. But deep down we both know it's true. That doesn't mean we shouldn't keep pushing forward – after all, the momentum is on our side. I know all of us – including me – would love to see the president and Congress enact stronger gun laws. We need a ban on automatic AND semiautomatic weapons and magazine clips that hold more than 7 bullets. We need better background checks and more mental health services. We need to regulate the ammo, too.

But, friends, I would like to propose that while all of the above will certainly reduce gun deaths (ask Mayor Bloomberg – it is virtually impossible to buy a handgun in New York City and the result is the number of murders per year has gone from 2,200 to under 400), it won't really bring about an end to these mass slayings and it will not address the core problem we have. Connecticut had one of the strongest gun laws in the country. That did nothing to prevent the murders of 20 small children on December 14th.

In fact, let's be clear about Newtown: the killer had no criminal record so he would never have shown up on a background check. All of the guns he used were legally purchased. None fit the legal description of an "assault" weapon. The killer seemed to have mental problems and his mother had him seek help, but that was worthless. As for security measures, the Sandy Hook school was locked down and buttoned up BEFORE the killer showed up that morning. Drills had been held for just such an incident. A lot of good that did.

And here's the dirty little fact none of us liberals want to discuss: The killer only ceased his slaughter when he saw that cops were swarming onto the school grounds – i.e, the men with the guns. When he saw the guns a-coming, he stopped the bloodshed and killed himself. Guns on police officers prevented another 20 or 40 or 100 deaths from happening. Guns sometimes work. (Then again, there was an armed deputy sheriff at Columbine High School the day of that massacre and he couldn't/didn't stop it.)

I am sorry to offer this reality check on our much-needed march toward a bunch of well-intended, necessary – but ultimately, mostly cosmetic – changes to our gun laws. The sad facts are these: Other countries that have guns (like Canada, which has 7 million guns – mostly hunting guns – in their 12 million households) have a low murder rate. Kids in Japan watch the same violent movies and kids in Australia play the same violent video games (Grand Theft Auto was created by a British company; the UK had 58 gun murders last year in a nation of 63 million people). They simply don't kill each other at the rate that we do. Why is that? THAT is the question we should be exploring while we are banning and restricting guns: Who are we?

I'd like to try to answer that question.

We are a country whose leaders officially sanction and carry out acts of violence as a means to often an immoral end. We invade countries who didn't attack us. We're currently using drones in a half-dozen countries, often killing civilians.

This probably shouldn't come as a surprise to us as we are a nation founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves. We slaughtered 600,000 of each other in a civil war. We "tamed the Wild West with a six-shooter," and we rape and beat and kill our women without mercy and at a staggering rate: every three hours a women is murdered in the USA (half the time by an ex or a current); every three minutes a woman is raped in the USA; and every 15 seconds a woman is beaten in the USA.

We belong to an illustrious group of nations that still have the death penalty (North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran). We think nothing of letting tens of thousands of our own citizens die each year because they are uninsured and thus don't see a doctor until it's too late.

Why do we do this? One theory is simply "because we can." There is a level of arrogance in the otherwise friendly American spirit, conning ourselves into believing there's something exceptional about us that separates us from all those "other" countries (there are indeed many good things about us; the same could also be said of Belgium, New Zealand, France, Germany, etc.). We think we're #1 in everything when the truth is our students are 17th in science and 25th in math, and we're 35th in life expectancy. We believe we have the greatest democracy but we have the lowest voting turnout of any western democracy. We're biggest and the bestest at everything and we demand and take what we want.

And sometimes we have to be violent m*****f*****s to get it. But if one of us goes off-message and shows the utterly psychotic nature and brutal results of violence in a Newtown or an Aurora or a Virginia Tech, then we get all "sad" and "our hearts go out to the families" and presidents promise to take "meaningful action." Well, maybe this president means it this time. He'd better. An angry mob of millions is not going to let this drop.

While we are discussing and demanding what to do, may I respectfully ask that we stop and take a look at what I believe are the three extenuating factors that may answer the question of why we Americans have more violence than most anyone else:

1. POVERTY. If there's one thing that separates us from the rest of the developed world, it's this. 50 million of our people live in poverty. One in five Americans goes hungry at some point during the year. The majority of those who aren't poor are living from paycheck to paycheck. There's no doubt this creates more crime. Middle class jobs prevent crime and violence. (If you don't believe that, ask yourself this: If your neighbor has a job and is making $50,000/year, what are the chances he's going to break into your home, shoot you and take your TV? Nil.)

2. FEAR/RACISM. We're an awfully fearful country considering that, unlike most nations, we've never been invaded. (No, 1812 wasn't an invasion. We started it.) Why on earth would we need 300 million guns in our homes? I get why the Russians might be a little spooked (over 20 million of them died in World War II). But what's our excuse? Worried that the Indians from the casino may go on the warpath? Concerned that the Canadians seem to be amassing too many Tim Horton's donut shops on both sides of the border?

No. It's because too many white people are afraid of black people. Period. The vast majority of the guns in the U.S. are sold to white people who live in the suburbs or the country. When we fantasize about being mugged or home invaded, what's the image of the perpetrator in our heads? Is it the freckled-face kid from down the street – or is it someone who is, if not black, at least poor?

I think it would be worth it to a) do our best to eradicate poverty and re-create the middle class we used to have, and b) stop promoting the image of the black man as the boogeyman out to hurt you. Calm down, white people, and put away your guns.

3. THE "ME" SOCIETY. I think it's the every-man-for-himself ethos of this country that has put us in this mess and I believe it's been our undoing. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps! You're not my problem! This is mine!

Clearly, we are no longer our brother's and sister's keeper. You get sick and can't afford the operation? Not my problem. The bank has foreclosed on your home? Not my problem. Can't afford to go to college? Not my problem.

And yet, it all sooner or later becomes our problem, doesn't it? Take away too many safety nets and everyone starts to feel the impact. Do you want to live in that kind of society, one where you will then have a legitimate reason to be in fear? I don't.

I'm not saying it's perfect anywhere else, but I have noticed, in my travels, that other civilized countries see a national benefit to taking care of each other. Free medical care, free or low-cost college, mental health help. And I wonder – why can't we do that? I think it's because in many other countries people see each other not as separate and alone but rather together, on the path of life, with each person existing as an integral part of the whole. And you help them when they're in need, not punish them because they've had some misfortune or bad break. I have to believe one of the reasons gun murders in other countries are so rare is because there's less of the lone wolf mentality amongst their citizens. Most are raised with a sense of connection, if not outright solidarity. And that makes it harder to kill one another.

Well, there's some food for thought as we head home for the holidays. Don't forget to say hi to your conservative brother-in-law for me. Even he will tell you that, if you can't nail a deer in three shots – and claim you need a clip of 30 rounds – you're not a hunter my friend, and you have no business owning a gun.

Have a wonderful Christmas or a beautiful December 25th!


 

Comments   

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+92 # divadoc 2012-12-24 10:15
And out hatred/fear of blacks is I think what the psychologists call 'projection'. We enslaved THEM, exploited, brutalized (some, if not much of the time; not all) them, and don't like to think about that or really deal with it. Our violence may be a simple case of the Golden Rule turned upside down: do onto others what you fear they will do unto you. Yikes.
 
 
+6 # robcarter.vn 2012-12-24 18:32
Yep Mike really got the lot right here. and one main point "I think it's the every-man-for-h imself ethos of this country that has put us in this mess and I believe it's been our undoing"
Someone on RSN yesterday pointed out the 2nd amendment is well outdated when US couldn't afford full military with drones they now have. They needed a Militia with private guns, training, uniforms for support. Now they wouldn't accept a private gun and civies except in covert ops perhaps. 300mn private guns what!?
Another RSN cvomment said Australia had easy gun law too, until 13 years ago a 40 kill attack. they changed the laws and havent had another massacre like that since.

As mike said you arrogant Yanks can learn from others you know. You didn't have Nukes till yhou learned from stolen German scientists and polluted Australia testing them.
Look to your selves first, you just agreed the Blacks are better than whites eg for president?
I also agree since emancipation women make too much ear fodder and so are more likely bumped off, in divorse they get too bigger share and the kids and man best to shoot them than get nothing from a life of work accumulation and loss to the better half.
 
 
+3 # Holmes 2012-12-27 01:20
Was it not the Pom's who made a mess of our outback with atomic weapons? News to me that the US was here, just our old colonial masters imposing on the colonials yet again. The USA messed up the Central Pacific and its own west.
 
 
-27 # MrDave 2012-12-25 22:17
"We enslaved THEM" Just how old are you anyways? The Emancipation Proclamation was signed back in 1863, that would make you...really dang old! We did not enslave anyone, our ancestors did. We had nothing to do with it.

And just how much white on black violence do you see/read on the news lately? What about black on white? I know what I have seen more of, what about you?
 
 
+16 # hobbesian 2012-12-26 09:13
In one insignificant way yes, it was our ancestors who did that; however they had so much land and such big houses that they wanted to have slaves to work for them. We are the inheritors of that net-worthage, we got a lift-up and entitlements, at the same time as we refused to help ex-slaves and others with a leg-up. In that way, unless we yield up our inherited wealth, which we would have to admit was created for us by black slaves, we are in fact responsible. And you should remember this; black on white violence comes from desperation at the uneven landscapes we each live in; poverty, life with single mothers worn out raising children with no help. young men who see no hope, who take drugs to drown out the unfairness of American life. We are indeed responsible.
 
 
-21 # MrDave 2012-12-26 09:51
For those that are giving me a negative rating, are you mad because what I said is true? Do you really loath yourself that much?
 
 
+19 # Texan 4 Peace 2012-12-26 14:34
No, we're giving you a negative rating because you're ignorant. True, "we" did not enslave anyone, but we still reap the benefits from those centuries of slavery. White-on-black violence? Go into any prison, bank loan dept., public hospital, or inner-city school, and you'll see plenty. It just doesn't make the news much.
 
 
+1 # candida 2012-12-27 13:51
"Just how old are you anyways?"
 
 
+5 # SMoonz 2012-12-26 01:43
There is a racial factor here. White paranoia.

One segment of whites is afraid of Blacks and Hispanics and any non white group. Another segment of whites takes a knee jerk reaction and wants to ban all guns outright.

Unfortunately it is mostly whites who want to make laws, change laws, and leave everyone out of the decision making process.
 
 
+69 # Gnome de Pluehm 2012-12-24 10:27
It started with the Horatio Alger stories. The circular reasoning that we are better because we are us and because we are us we are better than everyone else. It's the arrogance and narcissism in the American character. We believe in social Darwinism and now in financial Darwinism; I can't understand why gobs of people will accept this much Darwinism and still deny Darwin.

We no longer believe in America, we believe only in our individual selves and huge numbers of us -- not just the upper .01 per cent would be willing for the country to be a banana republic IF we were the owners. There is no loyalty.
 
 
-152 # indio007 2012-12-24 10:37
Ban guns and people will be killed with something else. Stop being fools. 1 gallon of gas, some cloth strips, and a few glass bottles would have done far worse and the victims would have suffered far more.

If someone really wants a gun, they can simply make one from scratch. Shit, people already have their own aerial drones for crying out loud.
 
 
+33 # sebastiangerard 2012-12-24 11:43
And your point is . . .?
 
 
+64 # ericlipps 2012-12-24 12:08
Quoting indio007:
Ban guns and people will be killed with something else. Stop being fools. 1 gallon of gas, some cloth strips, and a few glass bottles would have done far worse and the victims would have suffered far more.

If someone really wants a gun, they can simply make one from scratch. Shit, people already have their own aerial drones for crying out loud.

I suppose it's possible someone can make a gun from scratch, though I doubt to many folks could put together a rapid-firing semi or full automatic weapon that way. And there's nothing stopping a lunatic from planting bombs NOW, no matter how easy it is to get guns.

No, like it or not, we have to make it harder to obtain such weapons. And we have to change the mentality which makes excuses for not doing so.
 
 
+3 # Midwestgeezer 2012-12-24 12:08
Come on. Be real!
 
 
+60 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2012-12-24 12:12
So your logic is "Don't improve the situation by any increment unless the improvement is comprehensive and perfect."

Did you READ the article? CHECK OUT THIS LINE, because your theory is at odds with this fact: "...it is virtually impossible to buy a handgun in New York City and the result is the number of murders per year has gone from 2,200 to under 400..."
 
 
+60 # jwt 2012-12-24 12:45
Quoting indio007:
Ban guns and people will be killed with something else. Stop being fools. 1 gallon of gas, some cloth strips, and a few glass bottles would have done far worse and the victims would have suffered far more.

If someone really wants a gun, they can simply make one from scratch. Shit, people already have their own aerial drones for crying out loud.


Amazing how many people continue to repeat this droning mantra when all the stats show this is totally not true. This is the tragedy - that, even faced with the naked facts, people continue on their self-destructiv e path chanting the lies and myths that have brought us here in the first place.
 
 
+7 # Phlippinout 2012-12-25 13:03
I call it the chimp rant
 
 
+17 # dmcquaide 2012-12-24 13:00
THATshould comfort the mothers & fathers in Newtown, CT.
 
 
+44 # unitedwestand 2012-12-24 13:42
The point is that a gun or rifle takes seconds to pick up and use. Should someone have evil intent it would take more time, perhaps time to rethink their actions, or be discovered and stopped.

All your skewed support of guns for everyone is not going to work anymore, but we do have to look at all the reasons.

Michael has all the reasons down pat. Poverty and joblessness are a main cause and it makes people desperate and they will do desperate things.

You indio00,7 not only don't want to look at gun control, but I assume you unwittingly support policies by our government representatives that creates more people to be desperate.

I've asked people that are doing well financially right now, what would they do if they couldn't feed their children or have a roof over their heads, ALL of them said they would steal if they had to. These are not criminal types, they are law abiding people who work hard. But EVERYONE can be pushed to extremes in desperation and ruin their lives and others forever.
 
 
+12 # BeaDeeBunker 2012-12-24 15:45
Dana,
What were you thinking when you made your thoughtless comment? Are you saying that we as a nation are destined to kill, kill, kill!? Do you realize that you gave instructions for making a Molotov Cocktail, which is frowned on by such Federal agencies as Homeland Security. Are you saying that you know how to make a gun from scratch? Again a red flag for the drone that is intercepting your e-mail accounts (ain't technology great?).

I guess you wish for the good old days when, if you were dissed you just took off your glove, slapped your disser across the face, threw the glove on the ground, marked off 20 paces, and had a go at it?

By the way, where exactly is Massachuse?
 
 
+44 # Kayjay 2012-12-24 10:46
Thanks to M Moore for this post. I just wanna add a wish. There are always gonna be problems in the world. Just be sure everyone, to focus on the good as well, and have a merry, happy holiday. Take a day off and enjoy those around you and have a safe activist new year.
 
 
+78 # tadn54 2012-12-24 10:52
this is the absolute best assesment of our countrys many shortcomings, fueled mostly by selfishness, greed, coveting, and isolation. We have much more than a gun problem---altho ugh reducing their availability is a start.

"You're problems aren't my concern"....eve ntually, they are.
 
 
+27 # Kiwikid 2012-12-24 19:59
Totally agree, tadn54. Tragically, to suggest in the US that you might in fact be your brother's or sister's keeper seems to immediately attract the label 'socialist'. Apparently this is a bad thing, though if you live in a country that Americans regard as socialist like I do (NZ), one is mystified as to why Americans should think this way - maybe, unlike Michael Moore, most of your fellow countryfolk don't travel much, read even less, and lack any curiosity as to how the rest of the world lives.
 
 
+11 # dovelane1 2012-12-25 05:17
Long time ago, Dick (can't remember the last name)said something about it's hard to be your brother's keeper when you don't know how to be your brother's brother.

And so many people have learned to believe its a sign of weakness to want or need help. Can't appear vulnerable - what would the neighbors think. They might think we're mentally ill if we happen to be vulnerable human beings.

Wake up people. the first thing we all are is vulnerable human beings. That's the big lie everyone keeps telling themselves.
 
 
+49 # howard1912 2012-12-24 11:01
Michael, only this morning in going to a fire, two firemen were shot and killed, 2 seriously injured.. I guess you have heard- the swat team had to come in - evaucate 30 homes because they couldn't get to the fire, and as a results at least 3 other homes have been hit. We need more mental health facilities as well as taking back these massive speed assault weapons.
 
 
+39 # Kasandra 2012-12-24 11:06
Michael Moore is an insightful guy. He' willing to stick his neck out as far as is safe, to make his point. His particular comments cover a lot of what's on people's minds but dare not speak about in public. There's that fear factor again--Free speech int his country is limited. This is another factor that Michael did not mention. He also did not mention the blatant genocide of the Native American Indians, who, yes, they killed one another, for whatever gross reasons of survival, but who got mercilessly, and unreasonably slaughtered, displaced and deliberately shamed, for just being part of the human species! Conquest for space and resources is ruthless and unspeakable, yet it's still going on around the globe. Annihilation is the boon of the human condition. How we can "stop it," really has to do with looking within and creating a peaceful heart, rather than a murderous one. It's time for all social issues and current accepted modalities to be brought to the forefront, reviewed and transformed in total truth, peace and real justice!
 
 
+28 # EternalTruth 2012-12-24 13:06
[quote name="Kasandra" ]He also did not mention the blatant genocide of the Native American Indians"

Actually, he did: "This probably shouldn't come as a surprise to us as we are a nation founded on genocide..."

Which genocide did you think he was talking about?
 
 
+53 # DaveM 2012-12-24 11:28
The British Empire (and several others) was built on a tradition of bloodshed at least equal to that of the United States. England, too, had a Civil War, fought any number of bloody battles against the Scots and Irish, for some decades had a low-level civil war running in Northern Ireland (somewhat akin to the current Israeli-Palesti nian "dispute"), and not all that long ago, trotted out all the usual "putting down the natives" gear to prove that they were more powerful than Argentina. One of those wars of empire was started by, and led to the creation of, the United States.

BUT

Virtually all of that occurred a very long time ago by American standards. Perhaps the American empire is too young to be civilized yet. I hope not and believe otherwise. After all, one can point to any number of relatively young former colonies--Canad a, Australia, New Zealand, etc.--and find the very models of civil societies.

These nations have something America does not: a society based on personal responsibility, politeness, and (some will find this ridiculous) manners. Canadians apologize if their shopping bag brushes your leg when you pass on the sidewalk. Americans scream at the Wal-Mart clerk if they have to wait in line three minutes because the cash register is acting up.

We can do better than that. And the end result will not only be a decrease in violence, but a far better nation in which to live. It won't take much to start. Smile at someone. It can't hurt.
 
 
+58 # Susan W 2012-12-24 11:36
It is quite obvious that any country whose national anthem glorifies "bombs bursting in air" has a mindset of violence that is encouraged and venerated. A warrior nation should not be shocked or surprised when the population acts out the ethos of its leaders.
 
 
+31 # Midwestgeezer 2012-12-24 12:10
My own personal National Anthem is "America The Beautiful". My own National bird? The Wild Turkey.
 
 
+24 # Old Man 2012-12-24 12:02
I'm sure that our founding Fathers had good intentions when they wrought the second amendment, but if they could only see what's going on now, they might have thought of something else....I don't think they had a clue of what they were creating for this country.
Something has to change and change it will, we do have the momentum to see it through.
 
 
+20 # Regina 2012-12-24 16:33
Context is everything, mere individual words are very little. The Second Amendment speaks of militias and muskets, not solo gunners, military guns, and mega-bullet magazines. The justices who yammer about original intent have forgotten original context. The NRA-type zealots are yanking American society around for their own enrichment, in cahoots with arms sellers, and laughing all the way to the bank as they sneer at the country's needs and purposes.
 
 
+2 # David Heizer 2012-12-26 18:28
Considering how grammatically impenetrable and ambiguous it is, my personal theory (completely unsupported by research) is that it was compromise language, one of the last ones that no one could agree on, it was August in Philadelphia, and everyone was sick of the whole project and eager to sign the damn thing and get back to their farms.

I'd like to find out how far off-base I am with this one. :-)
 
 
-126 # Dumbledorf 2012-12-24 12:12
Hey Michael Moore, You lying farce of a fraud!For a rich, marxist with 9 body guards (http://www.alternet.org/story/1474/michael_moore%3A_why_i_had_to_hire_9_bodyguards_after_winning_an_oscar)you sure sling that Leninist dung around. WHAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF, MICHEAL??
Only 9 armed body guards, ready to kill anyone who offends you? Surely you need more than that....Time to go on a die,again,Mikey . All that fat is accumulating in you brain.
 
 
+30 # Bruce Gruber 2012-12-24 14:24
Michael learned from JFK, RFK, MLK and John Lennon that blind, biased,ignorant and hate filled quoters who need to hide behind anonymity and concealed carry permits to overcome fears and insecurities might let their ignorance drive them to actionable 'defense' against that with whixh they disagree. Please TRY to THINK about the things you FEEL.
 
 
+29 # BeaDeeBunker 2012-12-24 15:59
Hey Jeff,
Does Dumbledorf really stand for Dumb & Deaf?
As to what he has to be afraid of, here's a partial list.

The NRA hates him for film about guns.

The Health Insurance industry hates him for his film "Sicko."

General Motors hates him for everything!

Get the picture, Dumb & Deaf?
 
 
+39 # jwt 2012-12-24 17:36
Quoting Dumbledorf:
Hey Michael Moore, You lying farce of a fraud!For a rich, marxist with 9 body guards (http://www.alternet.org/story/1474/michael_moore%3A_why_i_had_to_hire_9_bodyguards_after_winning_an_oscar)you sure sling that Leninist dung around. WHAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF, MICHEAL??
Only 9 armed body guards, ready to kill anyone who offends you? Surely you need more than that....Time to go on a die,again,Mikey. All that fat is accumulating in you brain.


Dumbledorf - If Michael Moore does have any body guards, it's because people like you have guns.
 
 
+11 # Anarchist 23 2012-12-25 19:23
Dumbledorf: Michael Moore is not a Leninist/Marxis t. He's what is known as an old fashioned liberal. I know Leninist/Marxis ts and believe me, he ain't one.
 
 
+17 # FDRva 2012-12-24 12:31
Michael Moore is smart enough to realize that among the biggest profiteers from gun violence--and among the biggest purveyors of gun violence--are Hollywood firms that financially depend on depicting gun violence to cover-up their less than Shakespearean dramatic talents.

And the even bigger point & shoot video game business that has even less scruples.

It may take a violent video game where points are scored by shooting up a Gay Bar--and the inevitable over-the-edge gamer who goes out and does just that--to get the Hollywood set to fathom the connection between what they sell and what it does to the world.
 
 
0 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-12-25 22:32
Quoting FDRva:
... --and the inevitable over-the-edge gamer who goes out and does just that-- ...


Do you have any fact to support your assertion?

Please point me to the stats. And if you don't find them or they say the opposite of what you claim, be honest enough to post them here nonetheless.
 
 
+4 # FDRva 2012-12-26 22:38
A very lawyerly reply.

Do dead bodies count as stats?

Or do you require a sociologist who interviews survivors after-the-fact?

Since the early days of television studies have consistently shown a relationship between media violence and youth violence.

And government has consistently refused to address it--for political reasons.

Is your last name Murdoch??
 
 
+17 # jwt 2012-12-24 12:42
Very well said, Michael, and thank you for your piercing honesty. Part of the problem is that the human mind has a seeming infinite ability to fool itself. And so, we can hold the two opposing realities in our minds at one time - that we are #1, the best, kind, etc., and still have terrible rates of murder, etc. This is one reason propaganda is so effective - and nothing brings people together faster and tighter than a common enemy. An old friend asked me yesterday, "How are you doing?" My answer was, "I am embarrassed to be a member of the human race."
 
 
+36 # AMLLLLL 2012-12-24 12:43
Thanks, Michael. Listening to what the NRA advises: it will NEVER say we need fewer guns. Never. We need to reduce the perverted NRA to the size of a lemonade stand. Although it is a more complex problem, it would go a long way just to eliminate the gun show loophole. Much like re-balancing the tax code, it's not a cure-all, but a good start.
 
 
+44 # A.Reimann 2012-12-24 12:47
What Michael Moore said here echoes very well the views of the Europeans. Only a few months ago in one of my visits to America, when I expressed my surprise at the vehement opposition by Americans to Barack Obama's Health Bill, I was given to feel that I am a pussycat from Europe. I was told, America is great because they can stand up and fight and not cow down. With jingoistic attitude like this, it is no wonder that one American would impose his will on another American, when needed by force, and the guns are only mere tools.
 
 
-45 # FDRva 2012-12-24 12:59
It should be noted that weapons trafficking is closely related to drug trafficking on the world stage.

They are pretty much the same business.

The schizophrenia of many on the left is embodied by the notion that you can legalize dope & control guns.

It is pure deadly fantasy.

If you legalize drugs--includin g Dope, Inc.s 'loss-leader' marijuana--you underwrite the weapons trade--and reduce the traffickers legal expenses.

That naturally would lead to more bloodshed--and drug use--in schools--in both Afghanistan & Connecticut.

With all the $ Billions our banker-dominate d government has spent in Afghanistan--ha ve we gotten around to eradicating the poppy fields?

Nope--too busy killing civilians while Too Big To Fail banks launder drug money.
 
 
+22 # barryg 2012-12-24 14:07
The reason for drug laws is to create and maintain government jobs and increase profits for drug traffickers. The gun trade associated with gun trade is not the same as the gun trade internally in US. We are talking about regulating what are now legal weapons.

There is no way to regulate the illegal gun trade, but it would decrease because the profits of gangsters would decrease. The feds are against the states deregulating MJ because drug dealing starts at the top.

all wars make money for someone, which is why we have them. So the Drug War is no different.
 
 
-28 # FDRva 2012-12-24 14:32
Drugs and guns go together.

If you want to stop the guns--you better grow up--and really fight the drugs.

And that would include prosecuting the money center banks--not bailing them out like Bush II and Obama I have done.

Drug money laundering by 'Too Big To Fail' campaign contributors explains much about the Bush and Obama presidencies.
 
 
-41 # FDRva 2012-12-24 14:40
How about this for a public service announcement--g iven the well-known connection between drug and gun trafficking:

"Smoke Pot. Support School Massacres."

(And Wall Street thanks you for your support.)
 
 
-38 # FDRva 2012-12-24 14:49
Many RSN readers may like their drugs--more than they dislike gun violence.

It reminds me of the funniest bumper-sticker I ever saw:

"Pot Smokers can't remember the brains they've lost."
 
 
+19 # jwt 2012-12-24 17:37
Alcohol kills brains cells, not pot.
 
 
+5 # BeaDeeBunker 2012-12-24 20:08
jwt-I grok you, but don't even try to explain anything. That horse has already left the barn!
It's 10,000 brain cells/ounce, btw.
 
 
-2 # hobbesian 2012-12-26 09:21
The brains of young people who smoke pot often are found to be deficient and damaged..... as the kids are pretty dumb already, that's a bad thing.
 
 
+18 # SusanT136 2012-12-24 14:50
Quoting FDRva:
It should be noted that weapons trafficking is closely related to drug trafficking on the world stage. ....

If you legalize drugs--including Dope, Inc.s 'loss-leader' marijuana--you underwrite the weapons trade--and reduce the traffickers legal expenses.


No, actually the weapons trade does not have to be inextricably linked to pot. Many medical marijuana dispensaries currently grow their own pot, and there's no reason why "grown legally in the U.S." can't be part of legalization nationally as it is already in some states. Legal growers will sprout up everywhere once the legal market opens up.

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/12/medical_marijuana_new_business.html

http://thephoenix.com/boston/news/147505-massachusetts-and-medical-marijuana-the-faqs/
 
 
+6 # BeaDeeBunker 2012-12-24 20:18
In fact it gets better than that...there is history associated with 'pot.'
The fledgling US Navy would not have been able to exist if not for pot. Only then it was called hemp, and grew as a wild plant. From hemp they made those strong ropes that outfitted the frigates of the young nation's navy.
Out West, where hemp also grew wild, it was called locco weed, because when the horses would graze on it they would giggle instead of neighing.
 
 
-1 # Holmes 2012-12-27 01:37
So for those who want guns available for all please remember that about 1% of the population are potentially likely to become schizoid. Pot does seem to hasten this process especially where younger persons use too much. Otherwise people with this tendency may die of other issues at a ripe age with out being much of a problem.

1,200 years ago or so, the Chinese suppressed the use of pot as a recreational drug as it was too disruptive in the family.

Dealing with a paranoid schizophrenic even in a country (not the US) with a much better public medical service, is not fun. Give him a gun and....

Otherwise the Chinese wisely used the plant for all of its valuable uses. None of this ban total crap. Opiates were not so feared as the person often quietly goes to sleep in the corner.
 
 
+1 # FDRva 2012-12-26 22:59
Sad but true--it is time to grow up and give up weed.

If you smoke enough you'll think it cured the common cold.

But the organized crime/Dope/Wall Street connection is too strong to deny.

Ever hear of a government drug-runner named Oliver North?

Please do not embarrass yourself by trying to refute the obvious.
 
 
0 # FDRva 2012-12-26 23:16
Do you want to solve the problem or just feel good about yourself for doing nothing?

Drug-running and gun-running are the same business.

Spare us the hypocrisy--do not tell us guns are bad--but the dope sales that underwrite the gun trade are just fine.
 
 
+26 # rlhollow 2012-12-24 13:04
Thank you, Mr. Moore. As always, the insights gained from your writings, films, and interviews are greatly appreciated. The best to you, this season.

From your list of extenuating factors I would select number 2, FEAR, as the critical element. And not necessarily of dark skinned people, but fear of so much that is unknown, unfounded, or unlearned by many Americans.
 
 
+27 # candida 2012-12-24 13:15
part 1: great article, michael! you just forgot to mention white paranoia of all things mexican (except tacos). or maybe you just don't know. i know a lot of easterners aren't aware that mexicans exist in this country, let alone that people of mixed native and european ancestry predate northern europeans by a century. and then whites come out west for sunshine and cheap labor to pamper them in their retirement and are shocked (OMG!) to find out there are brown people here! (who the hell did you think provides the cheap labor?!?!) these white immigrant carpetbaggers (also called phoenixians or san diegans or las vegans, etc., etc) then get elected to office and start telling native peoples not to speak their languages (English only!) or that they can legally be racially profiled (SB1070) or shut down our schools and programs in which we teach our history, culture and perspectives (HR2281). come on, micheal. the article is great and i love you but, really, try to break out of that black/white paradigm. racism in this country is worse than even that, i'm afraid, but resistance to it is much greater, too. heard of the Dreamers and the immigration rights movement? check it out. it's the most active and important civil rights movement today.
 
 
+19 # candida 2012-12-24 13:15
part 2: and i'm sure you know latinas/os were critical to the coalition that re-elected barack obama? since the Militia Act of 1792, white men have had the legal prerogative to own weapons and use them whenever their aristocratic leaders felt threatened and ordered them to shoot. Think slave rebellions, the war for (lots of!) mexican land, genocide of indigenous people (for their land!). (See Robert Parry's excellent recent articles in RSN & consortiumnews. com on the matter of the 2nd amendment and the milita act, although he, too [sigh], omits mexicans and barely alludes to native people. jeez, when is the white left going to get past this?!) do whites have a reason to be paranoid? oh, yeah! but not due to an actual threat by hordes of armed people of color. rather, it's the delusional kind brought on by their role in historical and contemporary racial injustice. you're right, michael, this must be dealt with and part of that is thinking beyond the white/black binary of race. you're brilliant and brave. i know you can do it and help lead the white left to more complex and inclusive thinking!!
 
 
+4 # barryg 2012-12-24 14:14
oops I am sorry I hit the wrong button. I meant to thumbs up your posts. great posts. right on. and I am white.
 
 
+4 # FDRva 2012-12-24 14:07
Merry Christmas, one and all.

With a shout-out to Bill Clinton--
when it comes to horrible things like Newtown:

It's the culture, stupid.

And culture is a lot tougher to change than politics--so spare us all the partisan hyperbole.
 
 
+28 # sadkins624 2012-12-24 14:13
This is one of the best articles I have read on this subject. I agree with the entire thesis especially about the fear and paranoia. I live in the most backward state in the nation(Oklahoma )and I know many people who own small arsenals and live in constant fear that the President is going to come and get their guns. When I have ask them what has he ever said or done to make them think that I get the latest NRA talking points or some blather about their "rights" even though most of them are barely literate and certainly haven't read the constitution or the history of the second amendment. I also hear a lot about this being the greatest country in the world even though they know absolutely nothing about the rest of the world except what FOX tells them. It is a complex problem with no easy answers but better mental health care and free health care for all and limiting the availability of guns would be a good start. We need to also start teaching our children to be critical thinkers so they won't be so easy to spoon feed propaganda from any source.
 
 
+7 # Gord84 2012-12-24 14:13
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/12/24/1173622/-Israel-to-NRA-and-Tea-Party-You-have-no-idea-what-you-are-talking-about
 
 
+16 # lvpapa 2012-12-24 15:16
Frustration! It is frustration that causes all violence. Key contributors to frustration: illness, social and financial. Keep these things in mind when deciding how to deal with murders. Then ask yourself what would happen to the height of frustrations - the point where violence occurs - if it took a long time to create a killing device. Then you will see why guns are the murder weapon of choice or of availability. Reduce the levels of frustration and many guns will be discarded (with a little encouragement) and gun sales will drop. During the cold war, we were propagandized into believing socialism is a very bad thing. Now, we put the socialist label on too many things at the exclusion of relieving frustration in our society. Improved and greatly expanded social programs will alleviate frustration and thus solve many of our problems.
 
 
-1 # jwt 2012-12-24 17:39
So are you saying that, as Americans, we are that much more frustrated than the rest of the world? I'm sorry, but I find that very funny.
 
 
+5 # hobbesian 2012-12-26 09:26
it is not really funny; it is sad but true; we here in America are taught every day by our movies, TV and games that guns solve problems. We never see anybody in those movies, TV and games grieve their dead, either. That's reserved for the press to show us - "How does it feel to see your child dead?" The rest of the world shake their heads in disbelief as our misfortunes crowd their newspapers headlines every day; We think we are the world's alpha male; we have to bite and snarl at everybody to keep our place. What would it take or us to become the world's peacemakers? What is wrong with us arrogant bullies?
 
 
+2 # lvpapa 2012-12-27 12:54
Quoting jwt:
So are you saying that, as Americans, we are that much more frustrated than the rest of the world? I'm sorry, but I find that very funny.


As compared to countries where social services are stronger, we are much more frustrated. But, even if our levels of frustration are similar, we have more guns with which to vent our frustrations. And, therein lies the problem.
 
 
+15 # humorlessfeminist 2012-12-24 15:30
This is a better article addressing the MA school shooting than other liberal articles I've seen so far. I appreciate some nod to racism and gringo exceptionalism in the analysis, as well as bringing poverty into the discussion. That said, the usual suspects are missing from this discussion- what about male supremacy/machi smo? Killings like this definitely won't stop until we figure out how to deal with that.

Something that disturbs me is this tendency to romanticize police officers as "good guys with guns." If you are going to have an honest discussion around racism and white supremacy, you cannot assume that police are on the side of regular people. Lanza rolled up into this school dressed like someone on a swat team. Same deal with the guy in Colorado. These shooters are doing the same things that the police and the military do everyday with relative impunity and generally with some air of institutional legitimacy. The military and the police are the most armed and the most romanticized men in our culture. Think that has anything to do with our tendencies- especially the tendencies of white males- to commit violence? How can we logically talk about further restricting civilian access to firearms without talking about demilitarizing the police, and taking our troops out of countries they have no business being in? Stopping that god awful drone program?

Unless you adress this stuff too, michael, you're wooling your eyes like the rest of 'em.
 
 
+7 # BeaDeeBunker 2012-12-24 20:39
Fine comment. You did mean to say Conn. not MA, didn't you?
But being from NC, I guess all those Yankee states seem the same to y'all. ;-)

Btw, the Readers' Digest had it 100% correct...humor is the best medicine. May I respectfully suggest that you lighten up on yourself, and change your handle to 'Humorousfemini st.' Being a feminist is work enough...being a humorless feminist must be exhausting and raise your blood pressure into the red zone.
 
 
+3 # jwarndt 2012-12-24 15:48
Michael, you were so adament about investigating the role antidepresants played in previous school shootings; why haven't you even mentioned it here? Why the silence? Did the psychopharmacol ogical mafia make you an offer you couldn't refuse? For RSN readers who don't believe me, here you are: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04UqzYOdGNs I hope that link works. If not, just go to YouTube and type in the keywords "Michael Moore - Reveals the real cause of Columbine."

And no, I'm not a Scientologist.
 
 
+6 # Dion Giles 2012-12-24 17:34
All countries prescribe antidepressants . One country is awash with guns in private hands. One country suffers an endless succession of gun massacres.

Just join the dots.
 
 
+5 # jwarndt 2012-12-25 14:39
Dion, Oceans of digital ink have been spilled over the gun issue since Sandy Hook. Not a drop, so far as I can see, about the role antidepressants ARE KNOWN TO HAVE CAUSED in previous mass killings. That suggests the pharmaceutical industry has got a lot more influence over the media (including "progressive" sites like Reader Supported News) than the NRA ever could dream of. Yes, there have been far more of those tragedies here the USA, but mass shootings committed by kids on antidepressants have been happening all over the world. Check out the list at:
http://www.ssristories.com :
Germany
Finland
Belgium
England, to name a few.
All of them countries with very stringent gun laws.
But this isn't just about individuals with rifles and handguns, legal or otherwise. You say: "All countries prescribe antidepressants ." Yes, they do. I'd like to see toxicology reports from the teenage boys and girls who've "volunteered" to be suicide bombers in Palestine and elsewhere. And it's about military personnel with access to nuclear weapons. SSRI antidepressants are known to incite violent rage in a significant minority of those taking them. Do you want generals with their fingers on the nuclear trigger to be on Prozac? Do you really?
Well, if not, don't you think it might be time for "Progressives" to start speaking out about them? (Like Michael Moore did, so eloquently, before he was silenced.)
 
 
+15 # BeaDeeBunker 2012-12-24 16:29
Great article Michael, once again. Of course you can't cover all the 'reasons' we find ourselves scratching our heads until they bleed.
Here are a few others to consider, with the proviso that they are all interrelated; much like the five blind men describing an elephant based on where they were standing.

Education: As the late retailer, Sy Syms said: "An educated consumer is our best customer." So too this applies to our nation. An educated citizen is the best defense against tyranny.

Once educated, a citizen has to be an active participant in this gift of citizenship. This means that everyone has to register and vote; even if you vote for 'none of the above.'

In Australia, a country settled by criminals England didn't want to bother with anymore, not voting is considered a crime and punishable by a monetary fine.

Here in America, we the people are still not trusted to elect our leaders directly, but need an Electoral College to make the final decision for us.

I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world, but that does not prevent me from often feeling embarrassed by the antics, the stupid antics of my fellow citizens.
 
 
+2 # ottocat 2012-12-25 23:07
"I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in the world...."

Why not?
 
 
+7 # Kathymoi 2012-12-24 17:19
I'm disappointed Michael. You said like a NRA guy. "Guns will stop killings."
You quoted a few statistics. In a few countries there are fewer guns and only a dribble of gun killings compared to the daily flood of gun killings in our country. There may be other factors. Mental health and cultural sanction are factors. However, guns are the biggest factor. Don't waffle on that! We need to buy back the guns, restrict sale of guns not only to criminals and the insane, but to anyone who doesn't have a good reason and we need to stop thinking that self defense is a good reason.
 
 
-7 # gardenqueen 2012-12-24 18:40
never been invaded. anyone remember Pearl Harbor?
 
 
+14 # BeaDeeBunker 2012-12-24 20:49
I wasn't there, but I read about it in grade school. We were attacked, not invaded. As a matter of fact, because we were never invaded, our factories and infrastructure were never destroyed during WWII. But Europe and Japan took a beating. After the war all those factories were rebuilt brand new, with the latest equipment and procedures. That's why Japan was able to take over the steel industry from the US. We were still using our old, antiquated factories that had survived the war unscathed.
 
 
+17 # venusman 2012-12-24 18:54
Perhaps Wayne LaPierre should put his money where his mouth is. I have read that a school security guard would cost in the neighborhood of $80,000 a year, which I'm sure is a minimum. For the 140,000 schools in the US, this amounts to on the order of ten billion dollars a year. Given that the largely Republican supporters of the NRA are in horror of raising the national debt, this money must come from the NRA itself. There are four million NRA members, so the dues would have to be raised from the current (approximate) $35 per year to $2500 per year. I suspect that two security guards will be much more effective than just one, so we are talking of $5000 per year for the privilege of being an NRA member. It will be fascinating to see what happens to the NRA membership at this level of commitment.
 
 
+14 # robski 2012-12-24 23:44
People all over the USA fear and hate each other for their religious differences, their sexual orientation, their politics, their economic status and of course racial differences.

Why do people hate so much? Is it because 99% of us are being squeezed economically? Are there too few escapes, aside from watching a ball game or going to the movies? Are there too many regulations on personal freedom? I personally don't think it's because we watch too much violence in the movies.

We have been conditioned not to trust ... our priests have molested our children, our health care industry has been ravaged by businessmen, many of our school systems are a disaster, our media provides us with false non-news, our politicians have reportedly been completely corrupted by corporations and billionaire bandits. Our government sends our children off to other countries to potentially get killed in "wars" that have nothing to do with the security of our country, but are merely for corporate profiteering. We can't even trust that the food we eat is good for us anymore because it's been genetically modified and grown in toxic soil inundated with herbicide and pesticide!

When there is nothing left to put one's trust in, one is left with suspicion and that suspicion spreads and results in the paranoid need for protection. How do you solve that???
 
 
+7 # dovelane1 2012-12-25 05:46
Rob - I think it's more that we've learned to trust the wrong person or persons. We learn to trust everyone who has been given the title of "authority." It starts with our parents. We have to trust them, or we don't survive.

However, the process is supposed to end up where we learn to trust ourselves. To me, that seems t0o be the problem.

We trust the "authorities" in commercials, in the pulpit, in the government. in the banks. Were does it stop?

I've heard it called being "other-directed ." We have gone so far towards trusting other authority figures, we don't trust ourselves enough. And the "authorities" of the world with an agenda want that to continue.

The stated purpose of too many institutions is to abolish its own necessity for being; but its stronger, though often unconscious, purpose is to expand, to dominate, and to make itself indispensable.

So it is with the NRA. They want to be seen as indispensable, which keeps the money rolling in, and which gives them power and status. If they can make us subservient by keeping us afraid, that is what they will do.
 
 
-5 # Jack Hammer 2012-12-25 00:59
There's two things that you didn't mention MM -3.43% of Americans are psychopathic. That is a statistical fact. Secondly Came is "Stoned" -legally or illegally -it has a greater number of people who are "Out Of It" -put that together with all of the other factors and you have to ask "Why aren't their MORE murders?"
 
 
+13 # dovelane1 2012-12-25 05:48
MoveOn.org has started a petition that might make all the arguments moot:

The petition is addressed to The United States House of Representatives , The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, and reads:

The Second Amendment states:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Let everyone keep their guns. To do so, though, they must join a well regulated militia.

We call upon the Congress to pass a law requiring gun owners to join their state units of the National Guard, replete with background checks and psychological fitness evaluations, training on use and storage of a firearm.

Such legislation will not only make America safer from gun violence; It will also increase the readiness of our armed forces and our domestic ability to respond to crises major and minor.

Here's what Brian (the author) wrote about it:

The Second Amendment ties guns to national safety and defense. Own a gun? No problem! Join the National Guard, go through the training, background checks, psychological screenings and correct weapon handling procedures and help secure and defend your country domestically and abroad, if need be.
 
 
+5 # jazzman633 2012-12-25 15:42
Although I'm a libertarian, I have, over the years, become more convinced that Michael (whom I've followed since "Roger and Me") is, sadly, right about what America has been and has become. Every decade I become more ashamed of being an American.

He's right about guns and racism. Having a black president has probably made things worse. I believe that collective action is easier in mono-ethnic societies. Almost everybody is a Frenchman or a Swede or a Japanese - much easier to act collectively for the common good.
 
 
+3 # Sallyport 2012-12-25 20:01
The Move-On proposal is good as far as it goes, but should also include some sort of limit on the number of guns (each one fully registered with a paper trail like a car's) that the licensed, trained owner can have at any time. Of course this will produce a black market, but surely it will also reduce the number & availability of guns for the potential gunslinging criminal. What if there were only 500,000 guns out there in civilian hands instead of -- what? -- 300,000,000?
 
 
-2 # MrDave 2012-12-25 22:27
"We need a ban on automatic...wea pons" Already done. Typical hyperbole coming from someone that doesn't know what the are talking about. The National Firearms Act of 1934 made it so that you had to pay a $200 tax on a machinegun and register it with the government. In 1986 that registry was closed and there have been no new legal machineguns for civilians to own since then.

Automatic means that when you hold down the trigger the gun keeps on shooting until you let go or run out of ammo. Actual automatic weapons cost a lot of money. The cheapest one you can get right now is around $5,000 as they are all collector’s items and you need to jump through a lot of legal hoops to get one. To the best of my knowledge, there has only ever been one crime committed with an NFA weapon in my lifetime, and in that case the perp was a cop.
 
 
+1 # Igshaddy@aol.com 2012-12-26 11:50
lapierre is setting up the scene anticipated by the 2d Amendment: visualize arriving at a school, mall, theatre, etc. and having to pass the test of an armed guard. Looks like the government control that requires formation of a militia . . .
 
 
+3 # AUCHMANNOCH 2012-12-26 15:13
So... this British guy is eating lunch on a bench in Hyde Park, minding his own business, when an American sits down and takes up half the bench with his crap. As the American is wolfing down giant sized bites of his sandwich, he says through a mouthful of food, "you know something, man? England is the a$$hole of the world." The British guy turns to him and says, "Ah. Just passing through, are you?"
 

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