With the shooting spree that killed a dozen people in Colorado over the weekend, Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine”–which combines the filmmaker’s best tendencies (a thrilling, disturbing gun violence montage) with his worst (the whole Charles Heston bit)–is being shown in a presumably pirated copy for free on YouTube in its entirety. On Twitter and the web, Moore has provided links to the video, which might piss off rights-holder United Artists. But for Moore, it’s obviously about disseminating information, not about receiving residuals.
The documentary filmmaker is coming out in force over the murders, appearing on Cable news stations and writing articles that re-present the anti-NRA arguments he made in his Oscar-winning 2002 doc. In an article on Alternet.org titled “Aurora Happened in America’s Culture of Twitchy, Bloodthirsty Killers,” he argues:
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).