Michael Moore on Recent Shootings: Guns and Fear are Killing Us

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Michael Moore, whose film about gun violence, Bowling For Columbine, remains sadly relevant in the wake of a spate of gun violence, has written an op-ed about gun violence for the Hollywood Reporter reiterating some of the most important things he said in that 2002 film.

Yes, gun laws will make us safer, he writes, particularly since so many gun deaths are domestic homicides or suicides, escalated with the help of firearms., “We will probably never be able to rid ourselves of the more than quarter-billion guns that are in our homes,” he writes. “But any effort to reduce this number would reduce the level of killing.”

Yet Moore, whose new film Where to Invade Next represents a return to the spotlight after a hiatus, thinks much of the American violence problem is a problem with the American character. After all, our neighbors to the north are avid gun hunters and watch the same films as we do, yet don’t blow each other away with anything near our frequency. Our unique problem could be solved, he thinks, if we were willing to be more collectivist, more community-oriented:

What separates us from everyone else is the way we force the members of our society to live in a constant state of fear: fear of going broke, fear of losing your job, fear of getting sick, fear of getting old and being without.

Although this message just happens to be in sync with Moore’s new film, which looks at social safety nets around the world that the U.S. could benefit from, his point also rings true — and resonates with the message of Bowling for Columbine. As the big political debate rages over exactly what kind of racism is being stirred up by Donald Trump, it’s worth considering Moore’s words about the way our paranoia and competition often prove fatal.