COMMENTARY | Michael Moore has a Christmas greeting for America.
Entitled “Celebrating the Prince of Peace in the Land of Guns,”the Oscar winning activist posted his letter on Twitter today.
“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. Their bullying power to set gun policy in this country is over.”
So far, so incendiary. But the filmmaker who brought the world the seminal Bowling for Columbine was only just getting started.
“The nation is repulsed by the massacre in Connecticut,” he continues, adding, “here’s my little bit of holiday cheer for you. These gun massacres aren’t going to end any time soon.”
Lest anyone thinks Moore is suggesting nothing can be done, he writes:
“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.”
Citing statistics in New York City — arguably related to its tough stance on handgun ownership — that reveal the numbers of murders in recent years has gone from 2,200 to 400 a year, [NYC's homicide rate is now among the lowest for a US city at 4.75 per 100,000 population, according to the Huffington Post], Moore goes on to say:
“While all of the above will certainly reduce gun deaths … it won’t really bring about an end to these mass slayings and it will not address the core problem we have. [Conn.,] had one of the strongest gun laws in the country. That did nothing to prevent the murders of 20 small children on December 14th.”
Pointing out that Adam Lanza had no criminal record, would not have shown up in background checks, and the guns he had access to were legally purchased, Moore admits a paradox:
“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 … 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.)”
So what’s the solution in the world according to Michael Moore? He answers that by posing a question:
“(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?”
Addressing that existentialism head-on, Moore blisters:
“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 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 rape and beat and kill our women without mercy … every three minutes a woman is raped in the USA; and every 15 seconds a woman is beaten in the USA.”
He goes on:
“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.”
At one point Moore wonders if it’s “because we can.” Punching holes in breast-beating patriotism, he notes, “we believe we have the greatest democracy but we have the lowest voting turnout of any western democracy. We’re the biggest and the bestest at everything and we demand and take what we want.”
Identifying poverty, fear/racism and The “Me” Society as three possible reasons why violence is so prevalent in the US, Moore concludes that other countries may not be perfect but that many see value in “taking care of each other.”
Finally asking “why can’t we do that?,” the man — who to many is the uncompromising voice of America’s conscience — ends on a grace note, urging people to reach out to each other despite their differences, as that “that makes it harder to kill one another.”
Undoubtedly a Christmas message with a difference, but in light of the 27 slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the hundreds more in US atrocities past, it’s an entirely appropriate one.