Michael Moore was on Piers Morgan last night talking about the Aurora massacre. He also wrote an article about it here. In this article, he points out that psychopaths exist, regardless of ideology or whether or not gun control laws are prohibitive or strict. He says there have always been insane people, and there always will be. However, he makes a designation between the United States and the rest of the civilized world. He states that we have two “Auroras” that take place every day of the year in America, and he is not count the ones who are accidentally killed. Adding those triples it.
Now, I support the second amendment and the right to bear arms. I’ve made no secret of that. However, there is no getting around the fact that the United States is responsible for more than eight out of ten gun deaths in the wealthiest twenty-three countries combined.
In his article, Michael Moore states,
“The right believes that the Founding Fathers, through some sort of divine decree, have guaranteed them the absolute right to own as many guns as they desire. And they will ceaselessly remind you that a gun cannot fire itself – that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
Of course, they know they’re being intellectually dishonest (if I can use that word) when they say that about the Second Amendment because they know the men who wrote the constitution just wanted to make sure a militia could be quickly called up from amongst the farmers and merchants should the Brits decide to return and wreak some havoc.
But they are half right when they say “Guns don’t kill people.” I would just alter that slogan slightly to speak the real truth: “Guns don’t kill people, Americans kill people.”
Because we’re the only ones in the first world who do this en masse. And you’ll hear all stripes of Americans come up with a host of reasons so that they don’t have to deal with what’s really behind all this murder and mayhem.
They’ll say it’s the violent movies and video games that are responsible. Last time I checked, the movies and video games in Japan are more violent than ours – and yet usually fewer than 20 people a year are killed there with guns – and in 2006 the number was two!
Others will say it’s the number of broken homes that lead to all this killing. I hate to break this to you, but there are almost as many single-parent homes in the U.K. as there are here – and yet, in Great Britain, there are usually fewer than 40 gun murders a year.
People like me will say this is all the result of the U.S. having a history and a culture of men with guns, “cowboys and Indians,” “shoot first and ask questions later.” And while it is true that the mass genocide of the Native Americans set a pretty ugly model to found a country on, I think it’s safe to say we’re not the only ones with a violent past or a penchant for genocide. Hello, Germany! That’s right I’m talking about you and your history, from the Huns to the Nazis, just loving a good slaughter (as did the Japanese, and the British who ruled the world for hundreds of years – and they didn’t achieve that through planting daisies). And yet in Germany, a nation of 80 million people, there are only around 200 gun murders a year.”
Probably the most succinct statement he made is this:
“So those countries (and many others) are just like us – except for the fact that more people here believe in God and go to church than any other Western nation”
Michael lays it out in two points:
“1. We Americans are incredibly good killers. We believe in killing as a way of accomplishing our goals. Three-quarters of our states execute criminals, even though the states with the lower murder rates are generally the states with no death penalty.
Our killing is not just historical (the slaughter of Indians and slaves and each other in a “civil” war). It is our current way of resolving whatever it is we’re afraid of. It’s invasion as foreign policy. Sure there’s Iraq and Afghanistan – but we’ve been invaders since we “conquered the wild west” and now we’re hooked so bad we don’t even know where to invade (bin Laden wasn’t hiding in Afghanistan, he was in Pakistan) or what to invade for (Saddam had zero weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with 9/11). We send our lower classes off to do the killing, and the rest of us who don’t have a loved one over there don’t spend a single minute of any given day thinking about the carnage. And now we send in remote pilotless planes to kill, planes that are being controlled by faceless men in a lush, air conditioned studio in suburban Las Vegas. It is madness.
2. We are an easily frightened people and it is easy to manipulate us with fear. What are we so afraid of that we need to have 300 million guns in our homes? Who do we think is going to hurt us? Why are most of these guns in white suburban and rural homes? Maybe we should fix our race problem and our poverty problem (again, #1 in the industrialized world) and then maybe there would be fewer frustrated, frightened, angry people reaching for the gun in the drawer. Maybe we would take better care of each other (here’s a good example of what I mean).”
Here’s a clip from Piers’ show last night on CNN where he discusses the aftermath of the shooting in Aurora, CO, acclaimed filmmaker Michael Moore speaks out on topic of guns in the U.S.
The Second Amendment and Atheists…
I’ve written before on my support of the second amendment, and how many people are under the assumption that those of us who hold no belief in the existence of deities oppose the private ownership of firearms. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and part of our Bill of Rights 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.
The fact is that many of the sweeping “across-the-board” gun control laws that aim to remove the right to bear arms from United States citizens are blatantly unconstitutional. The second amendment grants an individual’s right to own guns as personal, private property, and that many restrictions on buying and carrying guns unconstitutionally impede individual rights.
As an American, the First Amendment guarantees that I will not to be forced into worshiping any god. The Second Amendment guarantees my right not to be prevented from acting defensively, with extreme prejudice if necessary, to protect life, limb and personal property. Gun ownership has nothing to do with hunting. Many gun owners do not only refrain from hunting, but are against trophy hunting, meaning that if you kill an animal you should be prepared to eat it, unless you shoot it to protect yourself from an imminent attack. The issue is about the right to protection, defense and deterrence.
With That Said…
Freethought, skepticism and the process of critical thinking are our landmarks, and from time to time those of us who live in the trenches outside the world of academia and that collection of brilliance we know as the scientific community must reexamine ourselves, our motives and our points of view. We must constantly revisit the reasons why we hold our opinions, and using the tools that are available to us, to make changes where necessary or to reinforce where needed.
While I still support the Second Amendment, I have reservations about the availability of weapons designed solely for killing large groups of people and ammunition that is designed to pierce bullet proof vests, among other ordnance that been specifically designed to wreak massive amounts of havoc to the general public.
I know this sounds like I’m cherry picking the Second Amendment, and perhaps I am. The issue of gun control and regulation is an evolving point of view for me, particularly in the face of incidents like Aurora, Columbine, etc. Who knows where I will stand on the issue the next time a mass murder is committed with these types of weapons.
To wit, and as I have stated in my last book, I feel it is my responsibility to my readers to bring forth my thoughts on issues that have been the target of my process of critical thinking and my re-examination of my points of view.