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Thursday, November 07, 2002

Bowling for Columbine: I saw Michael Moore's latest movie last night. It is scary, thought-provoking, and funny. The theater was sold out, but, unlike Sunday, we got there while tickets were still available. I had seen clips from the movie on the Donahue show earlier, so there weren't many surprises. The main question the movie leaves you with is: Why are Americans so much more likely to shoot each other than citizens of almost any other country on earth? Moore debunks many of the common explanations offered by Charlton Heston and others in the movie: we have a history of war (but Germany and Japan have far fewer gun murders); we watch too much violent TV and play violent video games (the Japanese have us at least tied on this one); our population is ethnically diverse, we have a lot of poverty, and there are lots of guns around (all three apply at least equally to Canada, where gun violence is very rare). The comparisons with Canada are especially interesting, since they seem so much like us in many ways, but they live with less fear and more compassion. In any case, the movie is wonderful and I highly recommend it. If you're in the Ann Arbor area, tonight is the last night "Bowling for Columbine" is playing at the Michigan Theater. Check here for showings in your area.

One other note of interest (at least to me). I had pointed out before that there were connections between Gulf War I and pretty much every terrorist attack against the US since then--the first WTC attack, Oklahoma City, the African embassy bombings, the Cole, and 9/11 of course. I also noted that John Allen Muhammed, one of the sniper suspects, was a Gulf War I vet. In "Bowling for Columbine" they mentioned that the father of Eric Harris, one of the Columbine shooters, was a bomber pilot in Gulf War I. Violence begets violence, and the cities of this country are going to be more like Jerusalem than Toronto after Gulf War II starts in earnest. And I'm not sure that terrorism (as the Bushies like to call the small-scale warfare of our enemies who don't have countries) is our main concern. Our naked imperialistic grab for the world's resources will not go on for long without waking the Russian bear and the Chinese dragon, and 9/11 will be recalled, by those of us who survive, as a quaint little incident by comparison. Of course, I hope I'm wrong.