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BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine

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katlaughing 01 Nov 02 - 07:19 PM
katlaughing 01 Nov 02 - 07:42 PM
kendall 01 Nov 02 - 08:51 PM
Melani 01 Nov 02 - 09:49 PM
Mudlark 01 Nov 02 - 10:11 PM
Rick Fielding 01 Nov 02 - 10:32 PM
katlaughing 01 Nov 02 - 10:40 PM
Rick Fielding 01 Nov 02 - 10:47 PM
michaelr 02 Nov 02 - 12:26 AM
Alice 02 Nov 02 - 12:26 AM
DougR 02 Nov 02 - 01:55 AM
Jon Bartlett 02 Nov 02 - 04:23 AM
Charley Noble 02 Nov 02 - 10:29 AM
Hollowfox 02 Nov 02 - 10:55 AM
GUEST 02 Nov 02 - 11:02 AM
Amos 02 Nov 02 - 11:25 AM
Mudlark 02 Nov 02 - 12:18 PM
GUEST 02 Nov 02 - 12:56 PM
GUEST 02 Nov 02 - 01:02 PM
DougR 03 Nov 02 - 04:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Nov 02 - 08:59 PM
momnopp 03 Nov 02 - 09:46 PM
GUEST 03 Nov 02 - 10:04 PM
katlaughing 04 Nov 02 - 12:15 AM
DougR 04 Nov 02 - 12:15 AM
GUEST 04 Nov 02 - 10:00 AM
Steve-o 04 Nov 02 - 04:18 PM
GUEST 04 Nov 02 - 04:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Nov 02 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,Taliesn 04 Nov 02 - 07:10 PM
Jon Bartlett 05 Nov 02 - 12:45 AM
DougR 05 Nov 02 - 12:57 AM
GUEST,Taliesn 05 Nov 02 - 06:30 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Nov 02 - 07:04 AM
GUEST 05 Nov 02 - 11:09 AM
katlaughing 05 Nov 02 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,Taliesn 05 Nov 02 - 02:26 PM
Steve-o 05 Nov 02 - 02:34 PM
Jack the Sailor 05 Nov 02 - 03:57 PM
DougR 05 Nov 02 - 07:56 PM
GUEST 05 Nov 02 - 09:45 PM
Jon Bartlett 06 Nov 02 - 02:44 AM
GUEST,Taliesn 06 Nov 02 - 06:50 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Nov 02 - 08:38 AM
GUEST 06 Nov 02 - 08:40 AM
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Subject: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 07:19 PM

I know a few Mudcatters have already seen Michael Moore's movie Bowling for Columbine and mentioned it in other threads. It is coming out in theatres, today. He was interviewed on Oprah, today and she showed quite a few clips from it. She also had Glassman on, who is the author of Culture of Fear: Why Americans fear the wrong things. He also appears in Moore's movie.

The culture of fear thing and the movie's message, from what I could gather, follow along the same lines as what some of us have been saying about the fearmongering which has been carried out in popular culture and by our government.

I'd be interested in hearing what anyone else thinks about the movie, book, and/or subject. If this is too serious for you, have some language fun in this thread: AluMINIum or ALUminum.

Thanks!

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 07:42 PM

Forgot to mention that according to Glassman, murders in the US are down by 20%, but up by 600% in reporting of them in the media!


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: kendall
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 08:51 PM

I have a republican friend who says Moore is an unwashed screwball.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Melani
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 09:49 PM

Well, of course he is. Unwashed screwballs are necessary to keep tabs on the powerful and uncaring.

My daughter loved the movie. We're all going to see it together next week--she liked it so much she's going again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Mudlark
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 10:11 PM

I love Michael Moore. Thank god for a dissenting voice! And one which knows how to make entertaining movies. Saw him being interviewed on Tim Russart...he is well informed, passionate, and has enough faith to think he can make a difference. Way to GO, Michael!


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 10:32 PM

You have no idea how much I value Michael Moore. He's NOT an idealogue. He puts the blame where it's deserved even if it falls on the "Democratic" side. Just hearing someone on TV that I BELIEVE is telling the truth gives me some bit of optimism.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 10:40 PM

Same here, Rick. Thanks for the comments, everyone. I can't wait to see this movie. I am really astonished and glad that he was able to get it out to general audiences!


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 10:47 PM

I'm told that the part with Charleton H. is painful to watch though. Moore is VERRRY sharp, and apparently Ben Hur is pretty old and decrepit, and looks really bad. I have no love for Heston, but I'm always uncomfortable when someone simple gets ambushed. I watched Letterman do that time and time again to people like Bob Hope, Liberace, and dozens of actresses.....takes a bit of the sadist mentality.......although I suppose you have to have SOME of the killer instinct in order to flush 'em out into the open.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: michaelr
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 12:26 AM

Carlton Heston gets no sympathy from me... the gunmongering NRA stooge...

Michael Moore, in addition to being genuinely outraged at injustice, has the ability to be funny about unfunny things, and to highlight the basic absurdity of the situation we are told to accept as the norm.

If he at times exaggerates or over-generalizes, it's in the interest of the greater good. We need more people with his kind of courage.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Alice
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 12:26 AM

I saw him interviewed on Charlie Rose regarding the movie. I'd be interested in seeing comments from those of you who have seen the film.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: DougR
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 01:55 AM

Kendall: I think you may be half right.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 04:23 AM

We got in to see Columbine last night. A great movie, I thought as I watched it, and then over time, last night, today, thinking and talking about it, I thought more and more that he got it wrong, EXCEPT for the fear bit. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people", the standard defence I've always heard for no open gun ownership, Moore suggests is TRUE (I don't know if he knows he's doing it). He interviews Charlton Heston, and points out that Canada has way more guns per capita than the US but doesn't commit 1% of the murders. Why not? he asks. Heston didn't know but thought the "ethnic mix" might be part of the answer. (This is certainly not true in Canada with a very wide ethnic mix). This should have been the centre of the movie, but in my view Moore was all over the map, attacking and defending gun ownership at the same time. The point I took from it all is the fear question I brought up an the earlier post on the DC sniper. Why are Americans so fearful, as compared to e.g. Canadians? Are they, in fact, more fearful? Crime is going down, but the fear seems continually to mount. I thought Heston, the old fraud, handled himself well. THE question to ask him is "if an immigrant lady in Canada doesn't lock her doors because she's not afraid, why is a tough nut like you afraid?". Let the Big Boy answer that one!

Jon Bartlett

PS I think Moore's an old fraud too. He reminds me of Utah Phillips, Pete Seeger and Studs Terkel (all ont the side of the angels, IMHO, but frauds, every one of 'em).


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 10:29 AM

Send in the frauds!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Hollowfox
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 10:55 AM

There was a good interview with Michael Moore about Bowling for Columbine in Entertainment Weekly Magazine, the October 25, 2002 issue. (Now let's see if I can get a blue clicky thing) http://www.ew.com/ew/ (nope, I'm gonna chicken out and practice that later) Anyway, click on Movie reviews, then on "more movies" in the column on the left.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 11:02 AM

Actually, the Charlton Heston scene seems to be the only thing that the Establishment media seems to be able to get a leg up on Moore with, and of course, they say it was "over the top" because it made them feel uncomfortable. They are even suggesting that Heston is an unfair target because of his supposed early stage Alzheimers (which was announced conveniently just prior to the release of this film--not that I'm cynical or anything).

I don't find that to be a fair criticism of the Heston segment at all, because Heston hasn't stepped down from his position as NRA spokesperson, and is still making appearances for them. That makes the man fair game, regardless of his age, and ESPECIALLY if his mental capacity is questionable.

I haven't seen the film yet, but I'm going tomorrow. If I'm guessing this at all right, I'm guessing Moore put the Heston interview at the end just to make us squirm. He knows he will get flack for it from the Establishment media, but he also knows that a whole lot of people will see it, and say "why the hell would the NRA want a spokesperson who is a flake"? In other words, it sows seeds of discontent and doubt about the NRA's tactics and media campaign, calling into question it's accuracy and factualness.

The great thing about this film is there are TONS of young people going to see it. Young people who were in high school at the time of the shootings at Columbine, and young people who are still in high school.

BTW, I don't think "frauds" is an accurate word to describe people who are willing to use the arts and mass media in their efforts to fight corrupt politicans and business interests. No public figure is who they seem to be to the public. That isn't automatic cause to assume fraudence, IMO. People who expose the facts, and present them in a powerful way, ie through an arts medium or mass medium like film, aren't immediately suspect just because they make people uncomfortable.

It would be a lot more productive in this conversation, if that is the point you want to argue, to argue it by explaining why you believe Pete Seeger, Michael Moore, Studs Terkel, and Utah Phillips are frauds, and what makes them that way. I can actually agree with you about Seeger and Phillips, less so with Terkel, and I disagree completely about Moore. I don't think Moore has ever presented himself as anything but what he is, nor do I see any image making of himself as a commodity that has any widespread public appeal. He has been pretty much anathema to public popularity in a way that Seeger and Phillips aren't, because they use nostaligic music (ie folk music) as their medium.

Now, I think one could make the argument that Charlton Heston is a fraud, because it is his machismo movie star image that is being used to promote the proliferation of assault weapons in the US, which makes him such an effective spokesman for the NRA.

This is a complex subect that just gets cheapened and dumbed down when people start hurling epithets and engaging in personal attacks against Moore, rather than addressing the disturbing subject matter of the film.

What is amazing to me is that considering the social implications of this crime, ie of white, comfortably middle class males executing their teachers and fellow class mates in the manner in which they did it, is that so little information about it has made it's way into the public arena for examination and debate. In every appearance I have seen by Moore to promote this film, he has said in everyone of them that he wasn't promoting any kind of an agenda, and he has no answers to the questions the film raises.

I'm sure I'll have more to say after I see it. I'll be seeing it with three teenagers, BTW--one high school senior, and two college students.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Amos
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 11:25 AM

I'd be interested to hear what their comments are, Sir Guest.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Mudlark
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 12:18 PM

Guest...Well spoken and I'm looking forward to your review.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 12:56 PM

This is from the NRA's website:

Los Angeles
August 9, 2002


My Dear Friends, Colleagues and Fans: My physicians have recently told me I may have a neurological disorder whose symptoms are consistent with Alzheimer's disease. So... I wanted to prepare a few words for you now, because when the time comes, I may not be able to.

I've lived my whole life on the stage and screen before you. I've found purpose and meaning in your response. For an actor there's no greater loss than the loss of his audience. I can part the Red Sea, but I can't part with you, which is why I won't exclude you from this stage in my life.

For now, I'm not changing anything. I'll insist on work when I can; the doctors will insist on rest when I must. If you see a little less spring in my step, if your name fails to leap to my lips, you'll know why. And if I tell you a funny story for the second time, please laugh anyway.

I'm neither giving up nor giving in. I believe I'm still the fighter that Dr. King and JFK and Ronald Reagan knew, but it's a fight I must someday call a draw. I must reconcile courage and surrender in equal measure. Please feel no sympathy for me. I don't. I just may be a little less accessible to you, despite my wishes.

I also want you to know that I'm grateful beyond measure. My life has been blessed with good fortune. I'm grateful that I was born in America, that cradle of freedom and opportunity, where a kid from the Michigan Northwoods can work hard and make something of his life. I'm grateful for the gift of the greatest words ever written, that let me share with you the infinite scope of the human experience. As an actor, I'm thankful that I've lived not one life, but many.

Above all, I'm proud of my family... my wife Lydia, the queen of my heart, my children, Fraser and Holly, and my beloved grandchildren, Jack, Ridley and Charlie. They're my biggest fans, my toughest critics and my proudest achievement. Through them, I can touch immortality.

Finally, I'm confident about the future of America. I believe in you. I know that the future of our country, our culture and our children is in good hands. I know you will continue to meet adversity with strength and resilience, as our ancestors did, and come through with flying colors - the ones on Old Glory.

William Shakespeare, at the end of his career, wrote his farewell through the words of Prospero, in The Tempest . It ends like this:

                Be cheerful, sir.
                Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
                As I foretold you, were all spirits and
                Are melted into air, into thin air:
                And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
                The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
                The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
                Yea all which it inherit, shall dissolve
                And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
                Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
                As dreams are made on, and our little life
                Is rounded with a sleep.

Thank you, and God bless you, everyone.

Sincerely,



Charlton Heston

Back To The Transcript Index

© 2002 National Rifle Association


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 01:02 PM

And here is this from the Violence Policy Center's website. They proudly proclaim that: "The National Rifle Association (NRA) calls VPC "the most effective, and most untruthful [by NRA standards], anti-gun rabble-rouser in Washington."

This is from the page on the NRA:

http://www.vpc.org/nrainfo/

Charlton Heston

Controversy has followed Heston. In December 1997, Heston delivered a speech before the Free Congress Foundation in which he made inflammatory remarks regarding women, gays and lesbians, and African Americans; while at the same time trivializing the Holocaust. Click here for more information, including video and audio clips.


In the past, Heston has been criticized by a faction led by former NRA Board Member Neal Knox, who has questioned the actor's pro-gun credentials. In making these charges, Knox has pointed to pro-gun control statements made by Heston during the 1960s following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy that were obtained from The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum in Austin, Texas. Knox also has criticized Heston for remarks he made soon after his election questioning the need for citizens to own AK-47s. Click here for more information.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: DougR
Date: 03 Nov 02 - 04:42 PM

It's amazing what you can learn on the Mudcat.

GUEST: Charlton Heston is used (By the NRA)to "promote the proliferation of ASSAULT (my caps) weapons in the U.S.?" Prove it!

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Nov 02 - 08:59 PM

Can you have weapons that aren't assault weapons? Can't be much bloody use...Body armour doesn't count as a weapon does it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: momnopp
Date: 03 Nov 02 - 09:46 PM

Blickie #1
Is an interesting site that has info on the movie and about voting on Tuesday (which is election day here in the U.S. of A.).

and

Blickie #2

is a short clip with Michael Moore, from Oprah's "After the Show" on, ". . .what makes America the most violent country in the world?"


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Nov 02 - 10:04 PM

I saw the film and now understand why so many media whores have condemned it. This film makes the media look very, very bad. And it is dead on the mark while doing it.

As to the supposedly controversial Charlton Heston scene, the controversy over it has to do with, I think, a couple of things. First, Moore uses two common interviewing techniques--confrontational interviewing and the ambush interview--in an original and unique way. Both techniques are, of course, also used regularly by the mass media. The difference between Moore's and the mass media whores' use of these techniques is that he uses it ironically, and often juxtaposes the frightening with the ludicrous about the people he is confronting--at the same time that he is exposing their complete ignorance and/or indifference (or in some instances, contempt). Moore's use of these techniques makes us squirm a bit at times, but also makes us laugh, while flinching at ourselves for laughing at the same time.

My dimestore theory about the differences in our (the audiences') sympathetic reactions to Heston, and unsympathetic reaction to Moore is that the mass media, which routinely uses the ambush interview and confrontational interview techniques all the time, has conditioned us to accept the use of those techniques against certain groups of people, but not against others. We have been conditioned to accept the techniques, in other words, against those whom the mass media is trying to label "the bad guys" or to marginalize in some way, and those are rarely, if ever, those in power. Anytime the techniques are used to expose celebrities we are comfortably familiar with, or Establishment figures with a certain amount of status, power, and influence, and/or ruling elites--CEOs, right leaning politicians and/or wealthy and powerful politicians, etc., we are conditioned to view it as horribly wrong. Hence, the negative audience reactions to the Heston scene in the film.

The main thread which runs through this film is Moore's hometown and homestate, as is often done in his films. As it turns out, Charlton Heston is also from Michigan, as was one of the Columbine shooters. There were also a number of these sorts of odd coincidences Moore drew on, to focus the film on what he thought were the more salient points about the American love of guns and the American propensity for killing people with them. And I thought he did it very effectively, in a very powerful way.

I was wrong in my guess (see above) as to why Moore went to Heston's house & interviewed him. It was to do a confrontational interview, but not on the NRA.   Flint is home to one of the US' more grisly gun statistics--the murder of a six year old girl by the youngest shooter on record--a six year old boy who brought a gun to school he found in his uncle's house (where his family was living at the time of the shooting).

Now, the film shows Heston first defiantly giving a speech to an NRA group in Denver, 10 days after the Columbine massacre, despite pleas by the families, the mayor, etc. to respect the grieving families and the community, and not hold the rally at that time. The film later shows him doing the same thing a week after the shooting in Flint. Moore was so outraged by Heston's actions in this regard that he walked up to the gated home where Heston lives in Beverly Hills, rings the intercom, and Heston answers it personally. Moore tells him who he is, that he is doing a documentary on Columbine and other school shootings, that he himself is a member of the NRA, and asks if he would be willing to do an interview. Heston agrees to do the interview the next morning, saying he has people there at the moment. Moore absolutely does not misrepresent himself, nor would I characterize the interview as an ambush interview. Moore does use his now infamous confrontational interviewing technique with Heston--as he does in a number of scenes in the film.

I really give kudos to Moore for keeping in enough footage of this bizarre interview, because it actually allows him to make a man who has looked absolutely despicable throughout the film, look sympathetic in the scene. Which makes people watching the film squirm. He is respectful. He doesn't put undue pressure on him. He doesn't attempt to confuse him. But when Moore asks if Heston is willing to apologize for the anguish he has caused the grieving families and communities, Heston reacts with a very arrogant "You want me to APOLOGIZE?" and not long afterwards, gets up and walks out in silence.

I'm not quite sure why people find what Moore is doing to be more offensive than what Heston did in the wake of these school shootings. It honestly does baffle me. His appearances at the NRA rallies in both cities were shown in the film, and they are quite chilling. It is clear the NRA rallies are being held to counter the gun control lobby's efforts to use these cases as examples of why we need stricter gun control laws, and to capitalize on public sentiments in the wake of the shootings.

BTW, the reason why Moore goes after Heston isn't about the NRA, but to confront him for appearing at the rally in Flint--with a picture of the six year old girl killed in the Flint school shooting. People dislike the scene, IMO, because for Moore, it is so obviously personal. Moore is angry and outraged at the callousness and depravity of Heston's appearances and the NRA rallies in the communities where the shootings occurred, and that becomes palpable in the interview.

At no time does Moore raise his voice, or do anything more than follow Heston out of the room when Heston bizarrely just gets up and walks out. He follows him out into the driveway with the picture (which Heston never stops to look at), and then leaves the picture of the child in Heston's driveway, walks away, and the scene fades.

The film is the best Moore has ever done, IMO. I'll be going back to see it again, because there is so much in it, and the subject matter is so perplexing and overwhelming, that I'll want to see it at least once more, just to get a grip on all of it.

There were a lot of young people at the showing we attended, although many more late teens and twenty somethings than any other age group, though middle age people were maybe 1/3 of the audience. It was sold out for the 2:00 pm showing (it has 4 showings a day right now).

I'm very interested in discussing the film with others who have seen it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 12:15 AM

Thanks! It is not here, yet, but i will be seeing as soon as possible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: DougR
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 12:15 AM

I suppose an "Ambush Interview" is in the eye of the beholder. I will see the film, but doubt I will draw from it the great satisfaction that many of you do. I see nothing wrong with owning firearms, and do not believe that owning one stamps you as a redneck potential murderer.

I knew Charlton Heston when he served on the National Council for the Arts. He is not a dummy, as so many would like to believe. He believes strongly in his convictions, and expresses them. Anything wrong with that (other than it might be contrary to your own?) You express yours, don't you?

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 10:00 AM

Two things DougR. I am fine with people owning hunting rifles. I am not fine with people owning handguns and assault weapons, which are used for one thing only--to kill PEOPLE.

Nowhere in my review did I say Heston was a dummy, or stupid, or lacking in intelligence. I did, however, say he did not appear to me to be mentally incapacitated in any way, but was in fact, sharp as a tack. In the interview, Heston was alternately charming and warm, obstinate and arrogant, and finally, just bizarre. I also referred to him as being callous and depraved. But not stupid. No, definitely not stupid.

By the way--the Nichols brothers of Oklahoma City bombing fame are also from Michigan--the next county over from Moore's.

As to the ambush interview DougR, one can think of many examples of it being used--it became Mike Wallace's signature style, for example, and is often used by the so-called tv news magazine programs like 60 Minutes, Dateline, etc.

Again, I didn't find Heston to be a sympathetic figure at all, yet two people I saw the film with did. As I said, I am absolutely baffled as to how people are more sympathetic to Heston than to the grieving families and communities. I really can't comprehend that sort of disconnect from reality. But I suppose it is the same sort of middle class, largely European American social disease that resulted in the cops who beat Rodney King getting off scott free. Even when people see the truth with their own eyes, they remain in denial of the facts, in order to get to the outcome they hope for. Just bizarre.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Steve-o
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 04:18 PM

Michale Moore is one of the few "non fiction" moviemakers who makes his points in a non-confrontational, often humorously charming way, but always gets his points across dead-on. The style and tone of this movie reminded me of "Roger and Me", but the subject matter seems even more weighty. He was absolutely right in his portrayal of the American media, and I think it's more a part of the overall problem than we all admit. This is certainly evidenced by the mealy-mouthed criticisms of the movie being made regularly on TV and in the papers. BTW, I don't think it is fair to characterize what he did to Charleton Heston as an "ambush"- he wasn't exactly acting like Mike Wallace. He just sort of let old Charleton paint himself right into a corner, and not in a nasty way. The movie is terrific, and much easier to watch than you might think, based on the subject matter, because of Michael's soft touch. And anyone who says that all he does is ask questions and never finds the answer is just taking a cheap shot. If we had the answer, we would be busy solving the problem. All in all, it should be required attendance for all teenagers and young adults (not to mention all the rest of us)!


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 04:35 PM

I did say the Heston interview was NOT an ambush interview, but that it was a confrontational interview. I'll stand by that characterization.

I agree with everything you say Steve-o, except I do disagree with your characterization of "Bowling for Columbine" as "non fiction" moviemaking. I think it was a documentary! :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 05:47 PM

Here's a link to Michael Moore's site, www.michaelmoore.com, complete with a forum that gets fairly heated at times.

If I was American I'd be very proud of Michael Moore. And perhaps I should stress that is in no way ironic, since we often get confused about things like that. Why can't you have him as President?

I see noone's come up with why Pete Seeger, Michael Moore, Studs Terkel, and Utah Phillips are frauds. I suspect it'll be a long wait before anyone comes up with a convincing case. (About the same time the proof emerges about Ian Paisley being an undercover agent for the Vatican. Or about Tony Blair being a Socialist.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST,Taliesn
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 07:10 PM

(quote)

" I suppose an "Ambush Interview" is in the eye of the beholder."

Well I don't know your opinion of Rush Limbaugh as a "source" of his *truth* often disguised as his brand of infotainment/commentary so i won't assume.....However....

" I will see the film, but doubt I will draw from it the great satisfaction that many of you do."

I find this a rather revealing statement about you. You get out your perfectly protected "free speech" soap box "as if" it were in danger of being denied you , but you seem to deride any opinion that differs from yours every bit as much as you you appear to accuse others here of committing.

"I see nothing wrong with owning firearms, and do not believe that owning one stamps you as a redneck potential murderer."

Assault weapons? Semi-automatics? He pilgrim ,I live in Northern Virginia which isxnot only N.R.A central HQ and ripe "militia country" ,but also the host to yet another flake-job exercising his right to access a weapon. The fact that most of America's murder statistics are *not* by criminals but by "just plain folks" exercising their right to be pissed off at a lover/ex-lover ,spouse/soon-to-be-ex-spouse ( literally ) , parent, schoolmate ,neighbor ,friend, bar room debator ,debt-ower, what-have-you and blow them away in a crime of passion because * I can* . No thank you.

I can well imagine your lack of enjyoment of this film will be because it hits too close to the bone to admit that a lot of citizen's are really not mentally or emotionally mature enough to deserve the right to a weapon without a license which would include a profile. I'm fearful enough as the assholes behind the wheel of cars whom can atleast have that license revoked should they take a life and are tracable through their car. If one want those
nimrods denied their right to a car license then denial of right to a weapon makes sense to me.

"I knew Charlton Heston when he served on the National Council for the Arts. He is not a dummy, as so many would like to believe."

This is *not* about Heston being a dummy and to play that up is as red a herring as one could toss out. He's made himself a rather "public" figure over a rather public issue for debate and I've v-tapped several of his appearances at N.R.A. rallies , as covered uninterupted by C-Span , and he shamelessly panders to the self-proclaimed *Right Wingnuts* who shamelessly refer to him *as the voice of Moses* and give him the NRA bully-pulpit to be used for all of the NRA's *propaganda*.

If anyone is the drop-dead *fool* it's that reprobate Wayne LaPierre whom i also v-taped on "Meet the Press" during the first week of the sniper and he vehemently derided and dismissed the "validity" of using the muzzle signature as a means of identification and reinforced why the NRA's *official* position is against this.
Well what a collective horse's ass the NRA made of *tiself* , thanks to LaPierre when it was precisely the muzzle signature forensics that led to the successful end of the sniper's reign of terror.

I'll conclude by reminding you that Micheal moore remains a lifelong memeber of the NRA, having joined when it was still a gun safty and all Ameroican sportsman's institution and he remembers when it was hijacked by these anti-gov't , some White supremecist militia ( I've seen and heard them at C-span televised rallies ) , Right Wingnuts who chose to advance their politicla agenda.
Please be reminded that it was Wayne LaPierre whom promoted the "Jack-booted thug" campaign about the ATF that caused George Bush,Sr. to renounce his NRA membership.
Also remember too that the "Ruby Ridge" incident happened under that same G.Bush stewardship and that Waco was already an ongoing BATF mission and given the green light by then the already 10 year appointee of Ronald Reagan's Treas.Sect. ,Donald Reagan, well before Clinton was elected let alone when Janet Reno took office.
I know this because I witnessed BOTH the Ruby Ridge AND Waco congressional hearings on CD-Spanwhere Higgins trestified to this FACT.

There's plenty to criticize Clinton over ,and I take a back seat to no one in calling his presidency to task , but this blaming him for
all of what happened at Waco and ,by some mysterious association ,Ruby Ridge , just goes to show how much the *truth* is in the eye of the right Wing beholder ever bit as much.

Sorry if you're also not comfortable with that either.




He believes strongly in his convictions, and expresses them. Anything wrong with that (other than it might be contrary to your own?) You express yours, don't you?

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 12:45 AM

As I was the one who introduced the "fraud" notion, let me explain what I meant, and at the same time apologise to people who were upset that I was "hurling epithets and engaging in personal attacks against Moore". I meant the remark as a mild-mannered aside, more as a commentary on the seeming inability of US culture ever to have generated a genuine working class public representative. I have nothing but respect for Moore, Terkel, Seeger and Phillips, but all they provide is a parodies or simulcra of working class people - whether it's Phillips' line about "I don't know much about what you'd call class/but the upper and middle can both kiss my ass" or the execrable songs the CP has historically stood behind such as "I Don't Want your Millions, Mister (all I want's my job again"). I'm saddened that the games of dress-up they play are necessary (if indeed it's not caused by their timidity) to present points of view shared by millions of Americans.

Thus I don't believe Moore is in truth the slob he presents in his films. I can see the cinematographic reason in doing so, especially when taking on Roger from GM or walking up Heston's driveway. In that sense, a fraud.

But the bigger question for me is the thesis of the film. One might call it a moving target. One minute it's "guns kill people", then it's "handguns kill people", then it's "too readily available ammunition kills people", then it's "fear kills people". If each of these theses were addressed in turn, one might get a better idea of what the film is about. This confusion culminates in the Heston interview. Heston apparently has nothing to hide: he makes time for the interview, welcomes Moore to his house, etc. For me, Heston comes off looking better than Moore. After Moore has run through his list of ambiguous "facts" (that there are more guns in Canada with fewer murders, etc.), Heston might have said, "And your point is, Michael...?". The end of the interview, with Moore asking for an apology from Heston (for ?holding a rally in Flint shortly after the 6 year old was killed: I'm not sure what the apology was supposed to be for) was classic "gotcha" journalism: he's damned if he apologizes, damned if he doesn't - what else can he do but walk away?
And the leaving of the picture of the dead girl was tacky and repulsive in the extreme, unless Moore believes that Heston has some responsibility for her death (which he didn't argue, only that holding a rally after her death is unbelievably cruel).

As I said in the earlier post, the question that would have nailed Heston and all the rightwing nuts is "WHAT are you afraid of, exactly?". Again, let me apologise for anyone who took my comments as personal attacks, etc.

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: DougR
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 12:57 AM

Taliesn: Methinks you are a bit too defensive of your own point of view. You do this by personally attacking me for not agreeing with you evidently. Your statement that I am not tolerant of the views of others is pure horse pucky and anyone who has been on this forum as long as I have knows that.

Chill out.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST,Taliesn
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 06:30 AM

(quote)
"Taliesn: Methinks you are a bit too defensive of your own point of view. You do this by personally attacking me for not agreeing with you evidently."

First comes your "Red Herring" toss concerning Heston, then you hurl your own well-ripened buffalo-chip about some imagined "personal attack". I'd be most enlightened for you to produce the cut & paste quote from my post that you apparently perceive as a "personal attack" because I did *no* such thing.
I 8was* rebutting* your whine about supposed attacking of Heston.....
(quote)
"He believes strongly in his convictions, and expresses them. Anything wrong with that (other than it might be contrary to your own?) You express yours, don't you?"

To which I challenge you on this whine by paraphrasing it...
(quote)
"..but you seem to deride any opinion that differs from yours every bit as much as you appear to accuse others here of committing."

Unless you also take personal umbrage by your *chosen* identification with the NRA "as represented" by Heston and/or Wayne LaPierre or the self-proclaimed "right wingers" whom readily hoot and hollar and rebel-yell whenever their right to take a human life is amplified by either of these two's well-chosen words then you're about as thin-skinned and "defensive" as it gets.

I purposely deal with *issues* and the only one I've personally attacked was Wayne LaPierre, head of NRA , for his imbecilic , and very publicly broadcast , derision and dismissal of the legitimacy muzzle signatures of fired bullets as an I.D. method
( which is the "official" position of NRA ) in the first week of the sniper only to see the praise of the law enforcement Americans successfully ridding innocent Amercian citizens of the sniper *precisley* because of positive muzzle signature forensic identification.

For that act *alone* Wayne LaPieree has made a horse's ass of the NRA membership whom continue to support this wingnut as their head mouthpiece 2nd only to the "voice of Moses" whose every NRA bully-pulpitted word is used to promote the Right Wing extremist agenda that the NRA has been hijacked by.

I will now challenge you on yet another "dodging of the issue" since , considering *all* of the bones of contention I chose to cite, all you chose to pretend to be an issue iwith you is this total fiction that I personally attacked you and then use this laughable pretense to say nothing else on the issues raised.

This is hardly how *honest* debate is conducted and some prefer honesty defending your own position instead of pretending personal offrense and using this as an excuse for ducking honest rebuttal of the issues entirely.

Your call.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 07:04 AM

"Fraud" doesn't sound too mild-mannered to me. Maybe that's another aspect of transatlantic linguistic differences. To me it'd imply that people weren't sincere in what they said, probably to make money.

If it just comes down to thinking Michael Moore can't really be as scruffy as he comes across, and so forth, big deal. Actually I suspect he is. There really are people whose natural way of dressing and being is pretty scruffy. I suspect there are a good few round the Mudcat. In which case, if he ponced himself up for his public appearances, and looked all clean and respectable, wouldn't that be "fraud"? Doing that gets imposed on most of us by the pressures of life, but take the pressures off and we can actually be ourselves. Been to any folk festivals recently? (This side of the Atlantic anyway.)

I don't know if Jon G. Bartlett is suggesting that it's inauthentic for a singer or anyone else to publicly align themselves with a class other than the one they were born out of.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 11:09 AM

So Jon G. Bartlett, it looks to me as if you have a pretty intense dislike for Moore on a personal and/or political level, because the opinions you are expressing about the film strikes me as being more sour grapes than film critique.

I also disagree with your characterization of the word "fraud" as being mild-mannered in the way you intended to use it. The word fraud is a strong one, and the context of your original use of it does not suggest someone intending to post in a gentle, mild mannered way. I would also argue that you are being quite hypocritical by saying you have "nothing but respect" for people you just previously accused of being frauds.

It is hard for me to accept personal attacks and villification of the filmmaker as legitimate criticism of the film. But then, that is me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 12:28 PM

From 5-6pm 5-530p, Mudcat time, you can tune into Colorado Public Radio and hear an excellent interview of Moore, on Colorado Matters. I am listening to it, now, but they will replay it at the later time.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST,Taliesn
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 02:26 PM

I'm surprised by the utter lack of counter-voices to Micheal Moore's challenge to "his" NRA.
Perhaps some would be loathe to quote from another Michigan native whom speaks proudly loud and long as a self-proclaimed right wing advocate for gun ownership and hunting; ex-Detroit hard core faded rockstar ; Ted Nugent.
Hell, where's the quotes from this son-of-Michigan to counter Micheal Moore's. The silence is deafening.
Then again there was Mark of michigan, that comicstrip militia leader that has since slunk off into obscurity after the milita movement got its deserved black eye from the "Turner Diaries" militia poster child ; one Timothy MacVey.

...and don't get me started on child-molester David Koresh oif Waco fame whom drew first blood on the BATF officer given the green light by the Reagan-appointed head of BATF, Higgins ,whom was still in power during the hearings on Waco where he testified giving the green light to proceed to secure the compound before the 1st Bush admin was even out of office.
The same Higgins on whose desk the buck stopped for the Ruby Ridge debacle "during" the 1st Bush admin.

I stress this fatc because Rign wing rabble-rousers laways tend to finesse these facts when blaming Clinton for Waco. Glad i sat through the actaul televised hearings "before some damn fools try to say it never happened that way" ( with apologies to Eisenhaurer's quote to document the death camps of Germany upon their liberation. another inconvinient fact that white supremecist militas can't handle.

..and just as it is the truly peaceful adherents of Islam to own up to acknowledging and disciplining those that do violentce in their name, so ,too ,do the more genuine constitutionally honest right-wingers have to own-up and discipline those that do violence in their name starting with those among the membership of the NRA..

There. If that don't stir debate their ain't no pulse on the right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Steve-o
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 02:34 PM

What John Bartlett should be apologizing for is the use of words like "simulcra" and "execrable". You are obviously a "perfesser" of some sort, which is also evidenced by your question, "What is the thesis of the film?" As with so many academics, you missed the point. That point is a question, and the question is not at all ambiguous (just as Canadians having as many guns, but not shooting each other as regularly is not an "ambiguous fact")....why do Americans resort to gun violence??! And BTW, I certainly wouldn't take offense on Pete Seeger's behalf because of what you wrote, because you just don't seem to get it, pal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 03:57 PM

Here are some stats on gun ownership Canada/USA
There are 3.4 times as many firearms percapita in the US than in Canada

14.5 times as many handgun related murders Check out this link.

http://www.guncontrol.ca/Content/Cda-US.htm

Assault Rifes, which are prohibited in Canada and Hand guns, which are restricted in Canada are designed and built for one purpose. To kill people. It is slightly sadistic and insane and quite antisocial to desire to own either. A mental illness shared by too many people in the U.S.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: DougR
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 07:56 PM

Taliesn: Were I to choose to get into a pissing contest with someone on the Mudcat, it would be with someone far more interesting than you are to me. I don't care what you think of me, one way or the other. I'd probably go for Bobert, L.H. or Kendall if that was what I was going to do. They have a sense of humor.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 09:45 PM

http://www.themomi.org/museum/singcowboys/1961MarcellinoLopezClassicalHeston.html
This is final proof that guitars dont kill people, guitarists kill people...Guitars and Golf CLUBS should be banned. More and more women are being killed with musical instruments and golf clubs its terrible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 02:44 AM

Over and out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST,Taliesn
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 06:50 AM

(quote)
"Taliesn: Were I to choose to get into a pissing contest with someone on the Mudcat, it would be with someone far more interesting than you are to me. I don't care what you think of me, one way or the other. I'd probably go for Bobert, L.H. or Kendall if that was what I was going to do. They have a sense of humor.

DougR "

Well, my word , Doug. Didn't know you were so faint of heart and thought the courage of your convictions had some substance and grit . Sorry to hear you have no honest response to the issue. Apparently y'all bark real good until challenged.
Hey it was always your call and your choice is plain for all readers to assess.

Oh ,sorry if the recent sniper terror in my area has substantially *chilled* my "sense of humor" on the whole gun issue and the NRA's cowardice in addressing a solution.

But apparently Micheal Moore's extremely on-point "sense of humor" was lost upon you, seeing as how his film was the core of this thread, because you sure displayed none of your choice wit in your choice of words on the subject.

I guess what y'all are missing to inspire your preference for humor is a sniper in "your" area assassinating your neighbors.

Ain't it amazing how humor can dull the pain.
Yeah, I find the NRA a laugh-a-minute


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 08:38 AM

Are the rules for pissing contests similar to those for other duels?

As a misty dawn breaks on the lonely heath, two carriages arrive. The antagonists get out and stand apart. The two seconds, dtressed in black make a formal attempt to see if a reconciliation can be aggected.

And then the duellists stand back to back, walk the prescribed number of paces and turn...

Or would it be the Western version of duelling, where the opponents walk towards each other down a deserted main street, with everybody peering out from behind the shutters? And the assumption is that the villain is cheating, and has a partner with a water cannon standing on a roof somewhere, only to be washed away by the hero's sidekick with a firehose.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 08:40 AM

I don't know McGrath, but one thing is clear. But judging by the personal attacks in this thread, NOBODY wants to talk about the subject matter of the film. Must be easier to take potshots at one another than actually contemplate the question which Moore puts to us in the film: why are we such a violent, murderous society?

Curious, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 08:46 AM

A Nation of Cowards
The following article was originally published in the in the Fall, 1993 issue of The Public Interest, a quarterly journal of opinion published by National Affairs, Inc. It is reprinted here for Internet distribution with the permission of the author. You may freely, forward copies to politicians and others, provided that it is not distributed for profit.

A Nation of Cowards
By Jeffrey R. Snyder

OUR SOCIETY has reached a pinnacle of self-expression and respect for individuality rare or unmatched in history. Our entire popular culture -- from fashion magazines to the cinema -- positively screams the matchless worth of the individual, and glories in eccentricity, nonconformity, independent judgment, and self-determination. This enthusiasm is reflected in the prevalent notion that helping someone entails increasing that person's "self-esteem"; that if a person properly values himself, he will naturally be a happy, productive, and, in some inexplicable fashion, responsible member of society.

And yet, while people are encouraged to revel in their individuality and incalculable self-worth, the media and the law enforcement establishment continually advise us that, when confronted with the threat of lethal violence, we should not resist, but simply give the attacker what he wants. If the crime under consideration is rape, there is some notable waffling on this point, and the discussion quickly moves to how the woman can change her behavior to minimize the risk of rape, and the various ridiculous, non-lethal weapons she may acceptably carry, such as whistles, keys, mace or, that weapon which really sends shivers down a rapist's spine, the portable cellular phone.

Now how can this be? How can a person who values himself so highly calmly accept the indignity of a criminal assault? How can one who believes that the essence of his dignity lies in his self-determination passively accept the forcible deprivation of that self-determination? How can he, quietly, with great dignity and poise, simply hand over the goods?

The assumption, of course, is that there is no inconsistency. The advice not to resist a criminal assault and simply hand over the goods is founded on the notion that one's life is of incalculable value, and that no amount of property is worth it. Put aside, for a moment, the outrageousness of the suggestion that a criminal who proffers lethal violence should be treated as if he has instituted a new social contract: "I will not hurt or kill you if you give me what I want." For years, feminists have labored to educate people that rape is not about sex, but about domination, degradation, and control. Evidently, someone needs to inform the law enforcement establishment and the media that kidnapping, robbery, carjacking, and assault are not about property.

Crime is not only a complete disavowal of the social contract, but also a commandeering of the victim's person and liberty. If the individual's dignity lies in the fact that he is a moral agent engaging in actions of his own will, in free exchange with others, then crime always violates the victim's dignity. It is, in fact, an act of enslavement. Your wallet, your purse, or your car may not be worth your life, but your dignity is; and if it is not worth fighting for, it can hardly be said to exist.

The gift of life

Although difficult for modern man to fathom, it was once widely believed that life was a gift from God, that to not defend that life when offered violence was to hold God's gift in contempt, to be a coward and to breach one's duty to one's community. A sermon given in Philadelphia in 1747 unequivocally equated the failure to defend oneself with suicide:

He that suffers his life to be taken from him by one that hath no
authority for that purpose, when he might preserve it by defense,
incurs the Guilt of self murder since God hath enjoined him to seek
the continuance of his life, and Nature itself teaches every creature
to defend itself.

"Cowardice" and "self-respect" have largely disappeared from public discourse. In their place we are offered "self-esteem" as the bellwether of success and a proxy for dignity. "Self-respect" implies that one recognizes standards, and judges oneself worthy by the degree to which one lives up to them. "Self-esteem" simply means that one feels good about oneself. "Dignity" used to refer to the self-mastery and fortitude with which a person conducted himself in the face of life's vicissitudes and the boorish behavior of others. Now, judging by campus speech codes, dignity requires that we never encounter a discouraging word and that others be coerced into acting respectfully, evidently on the assumption that we are powerless to prevent our degradation if exposed to the demeaning behavior of others. These are signposts proclaiming the insubstantiality of our character, the hollowness of our souls.

It is impossible to address the problem of rampant crime without talking about the moral responsibility of the intended victim. Crime is rampant because the law-abiding, each of us, condone it, excuse it, permit it, submit to it. We permit and encourage it because we do not fight back, immediately, then and there, where it happens. Crime is not rampant because we do not have enough prisons, because judges and prosecutors are too soft, because the police are hamstrung with absurd technicalities. The defect is there, in our character. We are a nation of cowards and shirkers.

Do you feel lucky?

In 1991, when then-Attorney General Richard Thornburgh released the FBI's annual crime statistics, he noted that it is now more likely that a person will be the victim of a violent crime than that he will be in an auto accident. Despite this, most people readily believe that the existence of the police relieves them of the responsibility to take full measures to protect themselves. The police, however, are not personal bodyguards. Rather, they act as a general deterrent to crime, both by their presence and by apprehending criminals after the fact. As numerous courts have held, they have no legal obligation to protect anyone in particular. You cannot sue them for failing to prevent you from being the victim of a crime.

Insofar as the police deter by their presence, they are very, very good. Criminals take great pains not to commit a crime in front of them. Unfortunately, the corollary is that you can pretty much bet your life (and you are) that they won't be there at the moment you actually need them. Should you ever be the victim of an assault, a robbery, or a rape, you will find it very difficult to call the police while the act is in progress, even if you are carrying a portable cellular phone. Nevertheless, you might be interested to know how long it takes them to show up. Department of Justice statistics for 1991 show that, for all crimes of violence, only 28 percent of calls are responded to within five minutes. The idea that protection is a service people can call to have delivered and expect to receive in a timely fashion is often mocked by gun owners, who love to recite the challenge, "Call for a cop, call for an ambulance, and call for a pizza. See who shows up first."

Many people deal with the problem of crime by convincing themselves that they live, work, and travel only in special "crime-free" zones. Invariably, they react with shock and hurt surprise when they discover that criminals do not play by the rules and do not respect these imaginary boundaries. If, however, you understand that crime can occur anywhere at anytime, and if you understand that you can be maimed or mortally wounded in mere seconds, you may wish to consider whether you are willing to place the responsibility for safeguarding your life in the hands of others.

Power and responsibility

Is your life worth protecting? If so, whose responsibility is it to protect it? If you believe that it is the police's, not only are you wrong -- since the courts universally rule that they have no legal obligation to do so -- but you face some difficult moral quandaries. How can you rightfully ask another human being to risk his life to protect yours, when you will assume no responsibility yourself? Because that is his job and we pay him to do it? Because your life is of incalculable value, but his is only worth the $30,000 salary we pay him? If you believe it reprehensible to possess the means and will to use lethal force to repel a criminal assault, how can you call upon another to do so for you?

Do you believe that you are forbidden to protect yourself because the police are better qualified to protect you, because they know what they are doing but you're a rank amateur? Put aside that this is equivalent to believing that only concert pianists may play the piano and only professional athletes may play sports. What exactly are these special qualities possessed only by the police and beyond the rest of us mere mortals?

One who values his life and takes seriously his responsibilities to his family and community will possess and cultivate the means of fighting back, and will retaliate when threatened with death or grievous injury to himself or a loved one. He will never be content to rely solely on others for his safety, or to think he has done all that is possible by being aware of his surroundings and taking measures of avoidance. Let's not mince words: He will be armed, will be trained in the use of his weapon, and will defend himself when faced with lethal violence.

Fortunately, there is a weapon for preserving life and liberty that can be wielded effectively by almost anyone -- the handgun. Small and light enough to be carried habitually, lethal, but unlike the knife or sword, not demanding great skill or strength, it truly is the "great equalizer." Requiring only hand-eye coordination and a modicum of ability to remain cool under pressure, it can be used effectively by the old and the weak against the young and the strong, by the one against the many.

The handgun is the only weapon that would give a lone female jogger a chance of prevailing against a gang of thugs intent on rape, a teacher a chance of protecting children at recess from a madman intent on massacring them, a family of tourists waiting at a mid-town subway station the means to protect themselves from a gang of teens armed with razors and knives.

But since we live in a society that by and large outlaws the carrying of arms, we are brought into the fray of the Great American Gun War. Gun control is one of the most prominent battlegrounds in our current culture wars. Yet it is unique in the half-heartedness with which our conservative leaders and pundits -- our "conservative elite" -- do battle, and have conceded the moral high ground to liberal gun control proponents. It is not a topic often written about, or written about with any great fervor, by William F. Buckley or Patrick Buchanan. As drug czar, William Bennett advised President Bush to ban "assault weapons." George Will is on record as recommending the repeal of the Second Amendment, and Jack Kemp is on record as favoring a ban on the possession of semiautomatic "assault weapons." The battle for gun rights is one fought predominantly by the common man. The beliefs of both our liberal and conservative elites are in fact abetting the criminal rampage through our society.

Selling crime prevention

By any rational measure, nearly all gun control proposals are hokum. The Brady Bill, for example, would not have prevented John Hinckley from obtaining a gun to shoot President Reagan; Hinckley purchased his weapon five months before the attack, and his medical records could not have served as a basis to deny his purchase of a gun, since medical records are not public documents filed with the police. Similarly, California's waiting period and background check did not stop Patrick Purdy from purchasing the "assault rifle" and handguns he used to massacre children during recess in a Stockton schoolyard; the felony conviction that would have provided the basis for stopping the sales did not exist, because Mr. Purdy's previous weapons violations were plea-bargained down from felonies to misdemeanors.

In the mid-sixties there was a public service advertising campaign targeted at car owners about the prevention of car theft. The purpose of the ad was to urge car owners not to leave their keys in their cars. The message was, "Don't help a good boy go bad." The implication was that, by leaving his keys in his car, the normal, law-abiding car owner was contributing to the delinquency of minors who, if they just weren't tempted beyond their limits, would be "good." Now, in those days people still had a fair sense of just who was responsible for whose behavior. The ad succeeded in enraging a goodly portion of the populace, and was soon dropped.

Nearly all of the gun control measures offered by Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI) and its ilk embody the same philosophy. They are founded on the belief that America's law-abiding gun owners are the source of the problem. With their unholy desire for firearms, they are creating a society awash in a sea of guns, thereby helping good boys go bad, and helping bad boys be badder. This laying of moral blame for violent crime at the feet of the law-abiding, and the implicit absolution of violent criminals for their misdeeds, naturally infuriates honest gun owners.

The files of HCI and other gun control organizations are filled with proposals to limit the availability of semiautomatic and other firearms to law-abiding citizens, and barren of proposals for apprehending and punishing violent criminals. It is ludicrous to expect that the proposals of HCI, or any gun control laws, will significantly curb crime. According to Department of Justice and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) statistics, fully 90 percent of violent crimes are committed without a handgun, and 93 percent of the guns obtained by violent criminals are not obtained through the lawful purchase and sale transactions that are the object of most gun control legislation. Furthermore, the number of violent criminals is minute in comparison to the number of firearms in America -- estimated by the ATF at about 200 million, approximately one-third of which are handguns. With so abundant a supply, there will always be enough guns available for those who wish to use them for nefarious ends, no matter how complete the legal prohibitions against them, or how draconian the punishment for their acquisition or use. No, the gun control proposals of HCI and other organizations are not seriously intended as crime control. Something else is at work here.

The tyranny of the elite

Gun control is a moral crusade against a benighted, barbaric citizenry. This is demonstrated not only by the ineffectualness of gun control in preventing crime, and by the fact that it focuses on restricting the behavior of the law-abiding rather than apprehending and punishing the guilty, but also by the execration that gun control proponents heap on gun owners and their evil instrumentality, the NRA. Gun owners are routinely portrayed as uneducated, paranoid rednecks fascinated by and prone to violence, i.e., exactly the type of person who opposes the liberal agenda and whose moral and social "re-education" is the object of liberal social policies. Typical of such bigotry is New York Gov. Mario Cuomo's famous characterization of gun-owners as "hunters who drink beer, don't vote, and lie to their wives about where they were all weekend." Similar vituperation is rained upon the NRA, characterized by Sen. Edward Kennedy as the "pusher's best friend," lampooned in political cartoons as standing for the right of children to carry firearms to school and, in general, portrayed as standing for an individual's God-given right to blow people away at will.

The stereotype is, of course, false. As criminologist and constitutional lawyer Don B. Kates, Jr. and former HCI contributor Dr. Patricia Harris have pointed out, "[s]tudies consistently show that, on the average, gun owners are better educated and have more prestigious jobs than non-owners.... Later studies show that gun owners are less likely than non-owners to approve of police brutality, violence against dissenters, etc."

Conservatives must understand that the antipathy many liberals have for gun owners arises in good measure from their statist utopianism. This habit of mind has nowhere been better explored than in The Republic. There, Plato argues that the perfectly just society is one in which an unarmed people exhibit virtue by minding their own business in the performance of their assigned functions, while the government of philosopher-kings, above the law and protected by armed guardians unquestioning in their loyalty to the state, engineers, implements, and fine-tunes the creation of that society, aided and abetted by myths that both hide and justify their totalitarian manipulation.

The unarmed life

When columnist Carl Rowan preaches gun control and uses a gun to defend his home, when Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer seeks legislation year after year to ban semiautomatic "assault weapons" whose only purpose, we are told, is to kill people, while he is at the same time escorted by state police armed with large-capacity 9mm semiautomatic pistols, it is not simple hypocrisy. It is the workings of that habit of mind possessed by all superior beings who have taken upon themselves the terrible burden of civilizing the masses and who understand, like our Congress, that laws are for other people.

The liberal elite know that they are philosopher-kings. They know that the people simply cannot be trusted; that they are incapable of just and fair self-government; that left to their own devices, their society will be racist, sexist, homophobic, and inequitable -- and the liberal elite know how to fix things. They are going to help us live the good and just life, even if they have to lie to us and force us to do it. And they detest those who stand in their way.

The private ownership of firearms is a rebuke to this utopian zeal. To own firearms is to affirm that freedom and liberty are not gifts from the state. It is to reserve final judgment about whether the state is encroaching on freedom and liberty, to stand ready to defend that freedom with more than mere words, and to stand outside the state's totalitarian reach.

The Florida experience

The elitist distrust of the people underlying the gun control movement is illustrated beautifully in HCI's campaign against a new concealed-carry law in Florida. Prior to 1987, the Florida law permitting the issuance of concealed-carry permits was administered at the county level. The law was vague, and, as a result, was subject to conflicting interpretation and political manipulation. Permits were issued principally to security personnel and the privileged few with political connections. Permits were valid only within the county of issuance.

In 1987, however, Florida enacted a uniform concealed-carry law which mandates that county authorities issue a permit to anyone who satisfies certain objective criteria. The law requires that a permit be issued to any applicant who is a resident, at least twenty-one years of age, has no criminal record, no record of alcohol or drug abuse, no history of mental illness, and provides evidence of having satisfactorily completed a firearms safety course offered by the NRA or other competent instructor. The applicant must provide a set of fingerprints, after which the authorities make a background check. The permit must be issued or denied within ninety days, is valid throughout the state, and must be renewed every three years, which provides authorities a regular means of reevaluating whether the permit holder still qualifies.

Passage of this legislation was vehemently opposed by HCI and the media. The law, they said, would lead to citizens shooting each other over everyday disputes involving fender benders, impolite behavior, and other slights to their dignity. Terms like "Florida, the Gunshine State" and "Dodge City East" were coined to suggest that the state, and those seeking passage of the law, were encouraging individuals to act as judge, jury, and executioner in a "Death Wish" society.

No HCI campaign more clearly demonstrates the elitist beliefs underlying the campaign to eradicate gun ownership. Given the qualifications required of permit holders, HCI and the media can only believe that common, law-abiding citizens are seething cauldrons of homicidal rage, ready to kill to avenge any slight to their dignity, eager to seek out and summarily execute the lawless. Only lack of immediate access to a gun restrains them and prevents the blood from flowing in the streets. They are so mentally and morally deficient that they would mistake a permit to carry a weapon in self-defense as a state-sanctioned license to kill at will.

Did the dire predictions come true? Despite the fact that Miami and Dade County have severe problems with the drug trade, the homicide rate fell in Florida following enactment of this law, as it did in Oregon following enactment of similar legislation there. There are, in addition, several documented cases of new permit holders successfully using their weapons to defend themselves. Information from the Florida Department of State shows that, from the beginning of the program in 1987 through June 1993, 160,823 permits have been issued, and only 530, or about 0.33 percent of the applicants, have been denied a permit for failure to satisfy the criteria, indicating that the law is benefiting those whom it was intended to benefit -- the law-abiding. Only 16 permits, less than 1/100th of 1 percent, have been revoked due to the post-issuance commission of a crime involving a firearm.

The Florida legislation has been used as a model for legislation adopted by Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Mississippi. There are, in addition, seven other states (Maine, North and South Dakota, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and, with the exception of cities with a population in excess of 1 million, Pennsylvania) which provide that concealed-carry permits must be issued to law-abiding citizens who satisfy various objective criteria. Finally, no permit is required at all in Vermont. Altogether, then, there are thirteen states in which law-abiding citizens who wish to carry arms to defend themselves may do so. While no one appears to have compiled the statistics from all of these jurisdictions, there is certainly an ample data base for those seeking the truth about the trustworthiness of law-abiding citizens who carry firearms.

Other evidence also suggests that armed citizens are very responsible in using guns to defend themselves. Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, using surveys and other data, has determined that armed citizens defend their lives or property with firearms against criminals approximately 1 million times a year. In 98 percent of these instances, the citizen merely brandishes the weapon or fires a warning shot. Only in 2 percent of the cases do citizens actually shoot their assailants. In defending themselves with their firearms, armed citizens kill 2,000 to 3,000 criminals each year, three times the number killed by the police. A nationwide study by Kates, the constitutional lawyer and criminologist, found that only 2 percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal. The "error rate" for the police, however, was 11 percent, over five times as high.

It is simply not possible to square the numbers above and the experience of Florida with the notions that honest, law-abiding gun owners are borderline psychopaths itching for an excuse to shoot someone, vigilantes eager to seek out and summarily execute the lawless, or incompetent fools incapable of determining when it is proper to use lethal force in defense of their lives. Nor upon reflection should these results seem surprising. Rape, robbery, and attempted murder are not typically actions rife with ambiguity or subtlety, requiring special powers of observation and great book-learning to discern. When a man pulls a knife on a woman and says, "You're coming with me," her judgment that a crime is being committed is not likely to be in error. There is little chance that she is going to shoot the wrong person. It is the police, because they are rarely at the scene of the crime when it occurs, who are more likely to find themselves in circumstances where guilt and innocence are not so clear-cut, and in which the probability for mistakes is higher.

Arms and liberty

Classical republican philosophy has long recognized the critical relationship between personal liberty and the possession of arms by a people ready and willing to use them. Political theorists as dissimilar as Niccolo Machiavelli, Sir Thomas More, James Harrington, Algernon Sidney, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau all shared the view that the possession of arms is vital for resisting tyranny, and that to be disarmed by one's government is tantamount to being enslaved by it. The possession of arms by the people is the ultimate warrant that government governs only with the consent of the governed. As Kates has shown, the Second Amendment is as much a product of this political philosophy as it is of the American experience in the Revolutionary War. Yet our conservative elite has abandoned this aspect of republican theory. Although our conservative pundits recognize and embrace gun owners as allies in other arenas, their battle for gun rights is desultory. The problem here is not a statist utopianism, although goodness knows that liberals are not alone in the confidence they have in the state's ability to solve society's problems. Rather, the problem seems to lie in certain cultural traits shared by our conservative and liberal elites.

One such trait is an abounding faith in the power of the word. The failure of our conservative elite to defend the Second Amendment stems in great measure from an overestimation of the power of the rights set forth in the First Amendment, and a general undervaluation of action. Implicit in calls for the repeal of the Second Amendment is the assumption that our First Amendment rights are sufficient to preserve our liberty. The belief is that liberty can be preserved as long as men freely speak their minds; that there is no tyranny or abuse that can survive being exposed in the press; and that the truth need only be disclosed for the culprits to be shamed. The people will act, and the truth shall set us, and keep us, free.

History is not kind to this belief, tending rather to support the view of Hobbes, Machiavelli, and other republican theorists that only people willing and able to defend themselves can preserve their liberties. While it may be tempting and comforting to believe that the existence of mass electronic communication has forever altered the balance of power between the state and its subjects, the belief has certainly not been tested by time, and what little history there is in the age of mass communication is not especially encouraging. The camera, radio, and press are mere tools and, like guns, can be used for good or ill. Hitler, after all, was a masterful orator, used radio to very good effect, and is well known to have pioneered and exploited the propaganda opportunities afforded by film. And then, of course, there were the Brownshirts, who knew very well how to quell dissent among intellectuals.

Polite society

In addition to being enamored of the power of words, our conservative elite shares with liberals the notion that an armed society is just not civilized or progressive, that massive gun ownership is a blot on our civilization. This association of personal disarmament with civilized behavior is one of the great unexamined beliefs of our time.

Should you read English literature from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, you will discover numerous references to the fact that a gentleman, especially when out at night or traveling, armed himself with a sword or a pistol against the chance of encountering a highwayman or other such predator. This does not appear to have shocked the ladies accompanying him. True, for the most part there were no police in those days, but we have already addressed the notion that the presence of the police absolves people of the responsibility to look after their safety, and in any event the existence of the police cannot be said to have reduced crime to negligible levels.

It is by no means obvious why it is "civilized" to permit oneself to fall easy prey to criminal violence, and to permit criminals to continue unobstructed in their evil ways. While it may be that a society in which crime is so rare that no one ever needs to carry a weapon is "civilized," a society that stigmatizes the carrying of weapons by the law-abiding -- because it distrusts its citizens more than it fears rapists, robbers, and murderers -- certainly cannot claim this distinction. Perhaps the notion that defending oneself with lethal force is not "civilized" arises from the view that violence is always wrong, or the view that each human being is of such intrinsic worth that it is wrong to kill anyone under any circumstances. The necessary implication of these propositions, however, is that life is not worth defending. Far from being "civilized," the beliefs that counterviolence and killing are always wrong are an invitation to the spread of barbarism. Such beliefs announce loudly and clearly that those who do not respect the lives and property of others will rule over those who do.

In truth, one who believes it wrong to arm himself against criminal violence shows contempt of God's gift of life (or, in modern parlance, does not properly value himself), does not live up to his responsibilities to his family and community, and proclaims himself mentally and morally deficient, because he does not trust himself to behave responsibly. In truth, a state that deprives its law-abiding citizens of the means to effectively defend themselves is not civilized but barbarous, becoming an accomplice of murderers, rapists, and thugs and revealing its totalitarian nature by its tacit admission that the disorganized, random havoc created by criminals is far less a threat than are men and women who believe themselves free and independent, and act accordingly.

While gun control proponents and other advocates of a kinder, gentler society incessantly decry our "armed society," in truth we do not live in an armed society. We live in a society in which violent criminals and agents of the state habitually carry weapons, and in which many law-abiding citizens own firearms but do not go about armed. Department of Justice statistics indicate that 87 percent of all violent crimes occur outside the home. Essentially, although tens of millions own firearms, we are an unarmed society.

Take back the night

Clearly the police and the courts are not providing a significant brake on criminal activity. While liberals call for more poverty, education, and drug treatment programs, conservatives take a more direct tack. George Will advocates a massive increase in the number of police and a shift toward "community-based policing." Meanwhile, the NRA and many conservative leaders call for laws that would require violent criminals serve at least 85 percent of their sentences and would place repeat offenders permanently behind bars.

Our society suffers greatly from the beliefs that only official action is legitimate and that the state is the source of our earthly salvation. Both liberal and conservative prescriptions for violent crime suffer from the "not in my job description" school of thought regarding the responsibilities of the law-abiding citizen, and from an overestimation of the ability of the state to provide society's moral moorings. As long as law-abiding citizens assume no personal responsibility for combating crime, liberal and conservative programs will fail to contain it.

Judging by the numerous articles about concealed-carry in gun magazines, the growing number of products advertised for such purpose, and the increase in the number of concealed-carry applications in states with mandatory-issuance laws, more and more people, including growing numbers of women, are carrying firearms for self-defense. Since there are still many states in which the issuance of permits is discretionary and in which law enforcement officials routinely deny applications, many people have been put to the hard choice between protecting their lives or respecting the law. Some of these people have learned the hard way, by being the victim of a crime, or by seeing a friend or loved one raped, robbed, or murdered, that violent crime can happen to anyone, anywhere at anytime, and that crime is not about sex or property but life, liberty, and dignity.

The laws proscribing concealed-carry of firearms by honest, law-abiding citizens breed nothing but disrespect for the law. As the Founding Fathers knew well, a government that does not trust its honest, law-abiding, taxpaying citizens with the means of self-defense is not itself worthy of trust. Laws disarming honest citizens proclaim that the government is the master, not the servant, of the people. A federal law along the lines of the Florida statute -- overriding all contradictory state and local laws and acknowledging that the carrying of firearms by law-abiding citizens is a privilege and immunity of citizenship -- is needed to correct the outrageous conduct of state and local officials operating under discretionary licensing systems.

What we certainly do not need is more gun control. Those who call for the repeal of the Second Amendment so that we can really begin controlling firearms betray a serious misunderstanding of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights does not grant rights to the people, such that its repeal would legitimately confer upon government the powers otherwise proscribed. The Bill of Rights is the list of the fundamental, inalienable rights, endowed in man by his Creator, that define what it means to be a free and independent people, the rights which must exist to ensure that government governs only with the consent of the people.

At one time this was even understood by the Supreme Court. In United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the first case in which the Court had an opportunity to interpret the Second Amendment, it stated that the right confirmed by the Second Amendment "is not a right granted by the constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence." The repeal of the Second Amendment would no more render the outlawing of firearms legitimate than the repeal of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment would authorize the government to imprison and kill people at will. A government that abrogates any of the Bill of Rights, with or without majoritarian approval, forever acts illegitimately, becomes tyrannical, and loses the moral right to govern.

This is the uncompromising understanding reflected in the warning that America's gun owners will not go gently into that good, utopian night: "You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands." While liberals take this statement as evidence of the retrograde, violent nature of gun owners, we gun owners hope that liberals hold equally strong sentiments about their printing presses, word processors, and television cameras. The republic depends upon fervent devotion to all our fundamental rights.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: harpgirl
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 09:00 AM

...thanks for the heads up on this movie kat, but I am sorry I read this thread...


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 10:16 AM

Well thanks for that ,uhm , GUEST?
I couldn't have asked for a better textbook example of far right wingnut extremeity than some fire n' brimstone gunnut diatribe from 1993 ( criminal gun violence has substantially decreased since then, the lionshare of gunshot deaths still rising is still from just plain folks taking out other just plain folks over whatever stupidity one can conjure; basically "crimes of passion" . What a noblecause to defend. )

I mean this far right ewing diatribe speaks for itself in just the line.....
(quote)
"Yet it is unique in the half-heartedness with which our conservative leaders and pundits -- our "conservative elite" -- do battle, and have conceded the moral high ground to liberal gun control proponents. It is not a topic often written about, or written about with any great fervor, by William F. Buckley or Patrick Buchanan."

Any "published commentator" criticizing the likes of Buckley or Buchannan as not conservative *enough* is about as solid a definition of extreme right wingnuttery as one can offer.

I guess I should thank GUEST for furthering my point against right wing gun-nuttery because this diatribe does it in spades


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 11:15 AM

That is the point of this thread, to illustrate why you have a problem with violence isnt it? The above Guest provided a discussion point, but you treated it as his/her point of view (something you do not know). The problem with the USA is that its society is divisive and tribal. Instead of wasting invective on each others different points of view, why dont you debate the question? Degeneration of these threads into bigoted pro and con sides/tribes, reminds us of the fact that your political system has only two choices, right and left. Deal with that first, and you might start the long road to curing the issue of violence. Republicans and Democrats do not have monopolies on intelligence and being right. If more people voted for substance, instead of political parties, the problem would be solved quickly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Nov 02 - 11:25 AM

(quote)
"The problem with the USA is that its society is divisive and tribal....If more people voted for substance, instead of political parties, the problem would be solved quickly. "

Oh, beg pardon.
And what nation's culture , 1st in casting stones in complete "innocence", are you annonymously pontificating from or is pontificating from behind a "safe" cloak of annonymity spare your position the same scrutiny you express solving our problems with violence as *if* the true solution had anything to 1st dowith politics at all.

BTW: I doubt you can name any nation's culture that doesn't have that all too human memory of tribalism and actions espressing it. Say at Soccer ( football ) matches fr'instance. ;-)


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