Watching "Bowling for Columbine" for the first time. I tend not to see Michael Moore's films when they first come out 'cause I feel like, in my case, he's be preaching to the converted.
At one point Moore is interviewing a PR guy at the big Lockheed plant in Littleton, and asks him if he sees any connection between what happened at Columbine and the WMD that get built at that facility, one of the largest nuclear bomb fabrication facilities in the world. And of course, Mr. PR Man says no, because these WMD are built to defend us against "people who would do us harm."
And that's the story we keep telling ourselves. It's for defense. The "Defense" Department. There are no flies on us, and no sickness in the land of the free and the home of the brave (somebody cue George Zimmerman).
More than any other media figure I've encountered, Michael Moore attempts to root out the origins and causes of the American penchant for gun violence. After establishing that Canada, England, Germany, Japan, and Australia watch the same movies and play the same violent video games as we do, and that they have miniscule numbers of gun deaths per year compared to our 12,000 or so annual bag total, he identifies the things we have that citizens of those countries don't.
1. Nightly local news broadcasts that focus on violent crimes in the locality, especially those committed by blacks and other minorities. Their purpose is to ramp up the fear, get more viewers who have ground their teeth to powder in their fear, and sell them denture cream.
2. A population of former slaves living among a guilty, white population, with both races extremely fearful of one another.
3. A government which reflexively wants to bomb all of its overseas problems, where all other governments would look for a less invasive and traumatic way of dealing with those problems.
4. Universal, wide availability of all manner of guns, the ownerhip of which is legally encouraged.
The guns, of course, are for defense. To protect us from them, whoever they are. All enemies, foreign and domestic, as it were.
If the US is truly exceptional, we'll take a close look in the mirror, recognize the monster we've become, and take steps to change. If we're past our prime, as I suspect, we'll go on getting worse, until the race war which is on simmer now breaks out into flames, or we bomb somebody who can hit back.
That's the way it goes when people are balls to the wall nuts. And we are. Kept at a low boil by nightly stories of ghetto violence and drug busts, terrorized by the hangover from Osama bin Laden's lucky shot on 9/11, and armed to the teeth, our badly disorganized suburban militias are apparently ready for anything except sanity.