6 Sep 2003 berend   » (Journeyer)

I still don't know if Michael Moore was in search of a question for the answer "Americans are Nuts" or that he tried to answer some question. Presumably that question was something like "Why do Americans kill each other so much more than others do? I can imagine he got lost, because this question is so vague that it cannot be answered. What does he mean with "Americans" in this question? People who live there? People who were born there? People who somehow have American genes??

And what is killing actually? Seeing the film killing seems to be shooting. So the question becomes: "Why do humans who live in America shoot each other so much more than in any other country?"

What Michael Moore does, is stating a fact in the question, namely that there is much more killing in America than in other countries. Let's assume that's true for a moment. But does he try to answer that question? And what is the answer exactly?

  1. It isn't guns. In Canada they have as much or even more guns and there are less killings.

  2. Michael Moore mentions an interesting thing about a small village: crime went down, but gun ownership went up. The "but" is his. He found that strange? Why would people buy guns when crime went down? I would suggest that crime went down, because people bought guns.

  3. So it isn't the NRA's fault I suppose. Michael Moore is even a life-long member. So why is the NRA in this movie? Why is he chasing Charles Heston? Why does he need to distort his speeches or make it appear that the NRA holds rallies immediately after shootings, while in fact it didn't?

  4. Who exactly is shooting who? Michael Moore doesn't tell. We know that black Americans do more than 50% of the killing, while being just 13% of the population. That still doesn't tell us a lot, because why are they shooting? But if we don't know who is shooting and why, how can we ask a question seriously?

  5. Is it just gang members killing other gang members? If so, I'm not sure if ordinary citizens are going to be very concerned about that.

  6. Do Americans shoot more now than in the past? Michael Moore doesn't tell. But it seems crime in America is dropping, for the past thirty years.

  7. Drugs? Hard rock? Michael Moore mentions a long list, but doesn't give any of them serious attention.

  8. A Canadian woman suggests that Americans are paranoid and trigger happy: you're on my property, boom. Are Americans just killing thieves?

  9. It seems that, in the end, Michael Moore believes its the news media. They report about violence, especially about black people committing violence. White Americans get paranoid about that, and therefore are buying guns and pulling triggers. Is that supported by statistics? Do white Americans shoot black people predominantly? Michael Moore doesn't tell.

No, I don't believe this DVD was trying to be serious. It was trying to make a point: white Americans are nuts. That was all there is.

But the question remains. Why do Americans shoot each other so much? That is still a very important question. First the question if it is really true. Crime in America is dropping. Second, the nine states, bordering with Canada, have a comparable crime rate as Canada: 22 homicides per 1,000,000 people compared to Canada's 18 per million.

There is a very interesting statistic, which Michael Moore omits completely: crime is strongly correlated to population density. Canada has about 3.3 persons per square kilometer; the U.S. about 29.1. Canada has only four cities with population over a million. Look at North Dacota: North Dakota, with a population density almost identical to that of Canada (3.5/sq. km.), had a homicide rate of 1.1, lower than that of Canada.

Some cities might be special: most of New York's homicides occur in the urbanized southeast part of the State. If we look at the four New York counties which border on Canada (Clinton, Franklin, St. Lawrence and Jefferson), we find that in 2001 three counties had no homicides at all, and Jefferson County had one. Two of the counties also reported not a single theft that year.

The question if guns are dangerous, if Americans kill more people, and why do people kill other people, are not only interesting but very important. It's sad that Michael Moore hasn't taken them more seriously.

But if you ask me if you should see this DVD, I would suggest you do. But don't rent or buy it. Try to borrow it for free so you don't lend even more money in Michael Moore's pockets.

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