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Bowling for Columbine(28 posts)

Bowling for Columbinecritmass
Oct 27, 2002 3:56 PM
A good look into the paranoid mentality of some of the Americans who love guns, the violent nature of postwar US foreign policy, the created culture of fear that leads to violence and the media's 'if it bleeds it leads' mentality in news and programming. Americans are too much the victims and masters of violence.
re: Bowling for ColumbineSintesi
Oct 28, 2002 6:00 AM
I haven't seen it yet but heard Michael Moore suggested that the parents try and return the bullets they pulled out of their kid's spine to the original dealer.
Haven't seen it but,TJeanloz
Oct 28, 2002 6:53 AM
The interview I heard with Michael Moore regarding the new movie was the only intelligent thing I've ever heard him say. Almost intelligent enough for me to want to see the movie. The point that he made that interested me was one that I've wondered about for a long time- the United States gun ownership rate is no higher than many other countries (Canada, for example), but a lot more people in the United States are killed by guns. He inferred that he would be exploring what it is in the American culture that inspires people towards gun violence, without villifying guns themselves.

It is a fascinating argument, because it takes the NRA's "guns don't kill people" argument, and synthesises it with the gun control lobby's "guns kill a lot of people" argument. I actually don't want to see the film, because knowing Moore's work, I fear I will be disappointed.
That is interesting.Sintesi
Oct 28, 2002 8:21 AM
You wouldn't know where to get per capita stats on gun ownership on a country by country basis would you? I also wonder how handguns figure into the mix. I understand in France there is a high rate of gun ownership but almost all are hunting rifles.

But i do agree there is probably a strong cultural component involved. Not many countries had a history like the US; as seen with our "Wild West" and frontiersman/pioneer heritage where guns were seen as essential as food and shelter. I know street gangs amp up the casualty figures as well.
I think the statistics are hard to get,TJeanloz
Oct 28, 2002 9:15 AM
I haven't looked, but with as politically charged an issue as this, I wouldn't expect reliable statistics to be very available.

It would be an interesting construct to challenge perceptions of crime, and see if street gangs really do have an impact, or if they are just very visable. I hope Moore explored some of these issues in the film, but given his past, I worry that he just shot spitballs and barbs at Charlton Heston and called it a day.
What the Film says....sctri
Oct 28, 2002 9:58 PM
First off they cite some gun related killings/murders/accidental deaths by country..

roughly it was as follows:
Germany: 300
France: 260
Canada: 220
UK: 140
Australia: 80
Japan: 38
USA: 11,480

The stat that he had regarding guns per capita, was that Canada has 10 million households, and 7million guns, which was a similar proportion to the USA...
meaningful stats?trekkie1
Oct 31, 2002 1:24 PM
It's tough to make much meaning of the stats. For example, I have friends who own several dozen guns each. While they never have fired in anger, even if they did, they only need one gun. The fact that they have lots of them skews the guns/household or per capita numbers.

Also, lots of people may own guns and no one knows they do. Without registration, there is no way to know.

The point is that the numbers of guns may not be very significant.

Next, along with isolating the numbers of gun murders each year by country, I'd like to see the gross numbers of murders, by any means, per capita each country. I think that would give you a better idea of what's going on -- in other words, if guns are not used, are other things replacing them?

Finally, lots and lots of gun murders are actually between criminals, bad guys killing bad guys. While this is not ok, either, it should somewhat reduce the over all fear of guns, and since many of these bad guys probably are already disqualified from gun ownership, new laws restricting guns probably won't make much difference.
I think the statistics are hard to get,OTG
Oct 31, 2002 10:21 AM
If you want a good set of stats, look into
"More Guns, Less Crime by John Lott. He's an
economist at the University of Chicago, and
the book seems to be very un-biased. i.e. he isn't
rambling on about the evil liberal threat. He just
takes data, analyzes it and presents the results.
I'd recommend the newer edition, as he answers some
of the criticism towards the book.

-owen
Moore is an interesting individualColnagoFE
Oct 28, 2002 10:31 AM
On one hand he's a bleeding liberal, though I've heard that he's also a lifetime NRA member. Strange that he'd make a movie that sounds as if it's gonna be anti-gun polemic a la Roger and Me. I think I'll check it out though when it comes to town. I enjoy Moore's humorous slant on politics.
He spoke of his NRA affiliation during an interview recently.sn69
Oct 28, 2002 12:39 PM
I missed it but my father told me about it. Moore explained that he grew up hunting and fishing, so guns were a natural part of life to him. His support for the NRA is born from his approval of their firearm education programs, although he apparently admitted to misgivings about their slant on Second Amendment rights with regards to wholesale, uncontrolled firearm ownership.

The part that my father said was most compelling was his discussion about the interview with Charleton Heston that didn't make the final cut to the film. Apparently Heston went off on a lengthy bigotted tangent about minorities (citing a couple of specific groups) and his thoughts on "white society." Again, I didn't see this personally, but my father said that Moore seemed deeply disturbed (as he should be), and he didn't know how much of it was sincere versus the disease.
Wait a minute, wait a minute...................................chopper
Oct 28, 2002 12:55 PM
Are you saying your father actually saw the clip of Heston's alleged bigotted statements or he saw a clip of Moore talking about Heston's alleged bigotted statements? I find it kind of curious that Heston supposedly made disturbing, bigotted remarks that "deeply disturbed" Moore, yet they were left out of the film?
Moore talking about themsn69
Oct 28, 2002 1:16 PM
Again, second hand, but I've got it on "good knowledge" and 34 years of close contact that my Pops was telling the truth. Moore apparently spoke of the comments, citing/paraphrasing most of what Heston said.

Good point as to why they were left out of the film, but apparently Heston's interview was disjointed, tangental and rambling, as is often the case with Alzheimer's victims (much less egomaniacs like Heston).
Referenced it as an "ethnic" problem....sctri
Oct 28, 2002 10:01 PM
And you could see that of the interview sections had been cut,
Heston looked quite sad actually, elderly and confused, (I dont say that out of mocking, but out of sympathy for his condition)

Thats was his explaination as to why USA has the gun problems that its neighboor doesnt...

Or something of that nature

RC
Maybe Heston is right.Sintesi
Oct 29, 2002 5:49 AM
Again I haven't seen the film but this kind of sounds like exploiting the confusion of a senior citizen suffering from dementia. Not to mention skillful editing and selective quotes can make anyone sound like a fool (just like a good friend of mine does here occasionally). But skip all that, if there is indeed a cultural component to the US' high murder rate, isn't it appropriate to mention certain groups which contribute a significant number of these killings such as inner city gangs which do have a strong ethnic correlation. I'll assume most of the murders are committed by caucasians for various reasons but I suspect a disproportionate number of killings afflict our urban areas populated to a heavy degree by minority communities suffering from drug and economic blight. There is a gang culture, it's not wrong to say so. In fact it's wrong to ignore it. Could this be an economic/ethnic/race issue instead of say, a gun ownership issue? Without seeing the interview perhaps this is Heston's point albeit delivered rather hamfisted and indelicately.
Chicken or Egg?czardonic
Oct 29, 2002 10:55 AM
The same American culture that tolerates such a high crime rate also tolerates economic deprivation in its inner cities and among its poor communities. Given that, would it matter if America was a ethnically homogeneous country? Or would the well-off still tolerate high crime as long as it occurs among the lower rungs on the economic ladder?

Also, are higher crime rates among minority communities a result of race, or are they the they result of economic conditions. And if the latter, to what extent does race play a part in them being economically deprived in the first place?

There is no doubt that the problem is over-represented among minority communities. But are these communities the source of the problem, or the ultimate outlet of a broader problem? That Heston would jump to the former conclusion is indicative, I think, of the real problem with our culture: lack of empathy. They are always the source of our problems and, lo and behold, it is a lot easier to pick up a gun and shoot someone who is one of Them instead of one of us.
I don't think it's clear what he was saying.Sintesi
Oct 29, 2002 1:07 PM
I was merely speculating. Benefit of the doubt. You've heard of it I'm sure. Maybe he's befuddled and inarticulate like Pres. Bush your hero.

Of course you are implying that other cultures are more empathetic which I find hard to believe. The USA is "other cultures" all lumped together. Perhaps other countries are more homogeneous and thus do not suffer the same degree of friction our society deals with.

I'm sure the causes are myriad and intertwined. What is interesting, while we're on the subject master, is how little the vast majority of Americans are affected by all this gun violence. I wonder if this is a sustainable tragedy that plays endlessly with no apparent effect on the whole of the body politic. We can also throw in auto fatalities into the equation and then the numbers get reeeally scary. Approaching an annual loss of life comparable to the total American deaths sustained during the entire Vietnam war. 35-40,000 violent deaths every year (I'm pulling these figures out of my ass) and apparently it wouldn't get anyone's attention if it weren't for people like Mr. Moore, eh?

Taking the American model, the Jews and the Palestinians could have at each other at the present rate in perpetuity and yet miraculously flourish. The palestinians do need economic and political assistance granted. Everyone should stop focussing on the violence and focus on the economic and political disparities. And everything else takes care of itself. Just maybe. Perhaps this American model could be applied to other theaters of the world as well.
Not really the pointczardonic
Oct 29, 2002 3:06 PM
You are correct. The lack of empathy is present to most, if not all, human societies. In fact, some of the more homogenous societies have the least empathy towards the non-affiliated fringes. That being said, I think that other countries are still more empathetic than the US, even if it is a function of their homogeneity. If you have a country where most people feel that they are part of a shared identity, there is going to be a tendencey to weigh things based on the greater good rather than personal advantage.

Considering our blase attitude about preventable death in general, one could conclude that life is pretty cheap in this country. Its not as though we don't have the resources or the knowhow to alleviate poverty or reduce violent crime and auto fatalities. Its that the current conditions are acceptable to the majority of people.
Look to the Suburbs.... (says moore..)sctri
Oct 29, 2002 5:04 PM
He thinks that many of the gun problems are in the suburbs, and a lot of the time by white suburbanite kids (males generally)

You both should go see the movie..
rc
That's a load of crap. (Says I)Matno
Nov 1, 2002 3:43 AM
The level of gun violence in the suburbs is NOTHING compared to crowded inner city areas. Also, in spite of the fact that minorities make up a small minority of the population (imagine that), they actually do FAR outnumber whites in the number of crimes committed. (Note: that's actual numbers, not percentages). That is an astounding imbalance. I remember a front page article in the Houston Chronicle with statistics showing that 75% of black males nationwide had been in jail at least once by the time they were 21. Do you think that the "majority" population is even close to that? No way. Is it racist to quote figures like that? Not at all. Is it because blacks are inherently different? I don't think so. Personally, I think it's purely a cultural difference, not an economic one (although the two are not entirely separable). On the other hand, many of the problems of inner city violence are quickly helping the suburban population to catch up; for example, the rapidly rising number of single parent households.
Moore's latest book "Stupid White Men" sheds some light on thisColnagoFE
Nov 1, 2002 7:27 AM
In this book he plays big time apologist for the WASP. Seems like he has quite a lot of guilt over not being born a minority.
Hang on there.czardonic
Nov 1, 2002 9:37 AM
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a black person born today has a 28% chance of going to prison (vs. 16% for Hispanics and 4.4% for whites) [http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/ascii/llgsfp.txt]. Needless to say, that is no where near acceptable for any group, but far smaller than you 75% figure.

I hope you didn't base your "blacks aren't different, but their culture makes them criminals" theory on something you read in the Houston Chronicle.
Nope.Matno
Nov 1, 2002 9:39 AM
I've seen similar statistics in many other places. And what I said was correct. There's a difference between jail and prison. The 75% figure refers to males who were arrested and taken "to the station." Not quite the same as going to prison, but a shocking figure nonetheless.
Did they provide comparable stats for other groups?Sintesi
Nov 1, 2002 10:29 AM
it would be helpful for comparison.
Yup.czardonic
Nov 1, 2002 10:48 AM
Care to name any of those places?

Here's why the DOJ doesn't consider those figures (if they exist) to be meaningful:

Why lifetime estimates exclude admissions to local jails

Jails are locally operated correctional facilities that confine persons before and after adjudication. Unlike prisons, jails admit persons with sentences of a year or less. Jails also hold a wide variety of categories of inmates -- including those persons awaiting arraignment or trial; those with sentences of more than a year and awaiting transfer to State or Federal facilities; and those temporarily detained, under protective custody, or awaiting transfer to appropriate health facilities.

Estimates of the lifetime likelihood of incarceration are limited to the chances of going to State or Federal prison. Data on first admissions to local jails, which are needed to incorporate the chances of going to a local jail in these calculations, do not exist:

* In 1993, when the most recent Census of Local Jails was
conducted, the annual number of new admissions to local jails totaled 9.8 million -- nearly 30 times the number of new court commitments to State and Federal prison during that year. (See Jails and Jail Inmates 1993-94, NCJ-151651, April 1995.) The census did not collect any data on the number of persons admitted to jail for the first time.

* Most jail inmates serve only a few days before release. (See Pretrial Release of Felony Defendants, 1992, NCJ-148818, November 1994.) As a result, surveys of inmates based on persons held on a single day will not provide reliable statistics on those persons admitted during a 12-month period.
[http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/ascii/llgsfp.txt]

Which is to say, among other things, that your "shocking" (and misleading and inflammatory) figures include people who have not been convicted of a crime. Not quite the same as going to prison, indeed.
That's a more disturbing trend, I think,TJeanloz
Nov 1, 2002 11:07 AM
The number of people in prison, convicted of crimes, isn't really disturbing (to me). I think the worse number is the number of people who are brought to jail who didn't commit a crime. What, everytime a crime is committed we just round up all the minorities and sort it out at the County lockup?
You're right.Matno
Nov 1, 2002 6:55 PM
Except about the "misleading and inflammatory" part. I did make one mistake in that I think I said nationwide, when the stats were actually for the state of Texas. (Which may or may not represent anywhere else. We Texans like to think it's very different there...).

I did clearly say that jail is different than prison. Very different. However, how many people do you know who have ever been in jail? Were they totally upright citizens who were unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? I know a few, all of whom only spent a day or two in jail because they were "innocent." However, not one of them was there because of a mistake. Most of them were involved in some kind of domestic disturbance (like beating someone up, or public intoxication). Usually the charges are dropped after a stiff warning. Happens every day (when I clerked for a judge in a state district court I often saw several each day). That does not mean that the figures I quoted are not reliable. (The DOJ can say what they want, but I think that even being held a single day is an indication of questionable, if not overtly illegal behavior)

As far as other races go, the article I mentioned did compare different races (for whatever reasons) and the same stat for whites was about 12%. (In case you were wondering).

Personally, I think the "cultural" differences I mentioned before are mainly educational. Most perpetrators of violent crime are not what I would call intelligent. (After my work in the court, I would have to say that few perpetrators of ANY type of crime are all that intelligent. Obviously not smart enough to know they're probably going to get caught). Sadly, certain ethnic groups, or rather certain areas where those groups tend to be concentrated, do not provide an environment that encourages learning. (As long as the federal gov't has control of education, that's not likely to change either). I have said in previous posts, and repeat here, that a return to stable families, with parents who genuinely care about their children's welfare and education, is the only thing that will ever truly solve this problem. Like the saying goes: "You can't take the people out of the slums, but you can take the slums out of the people."
Off the race subject.Sintesi
Nov 1, 2002 11:44 AM
Here's an interesting tidbit:

Inmates serving time in state prisons during 1997 said they obtained their guns from the following sources in percentages:

Purchased from a retail store 8.3 percent
Purchased at a pawn shop 3.8
Purchased at a flea market 1.0
Purchased in a gun show 0.7
Obtained from friends or family 39.6
Got on the street/illegal source 39.2

NRA's gotta love the fact that almost 80% of criminals obtained their gun illegitimately. It does make one wonder about the effectiveness of gun control legislation. Perhaps laws that punish people who allow their guns to be used in a crime would be more effective. As in, if you own a gun, your responsibility is huge and you must know where it is at all times and ensure it stays out of the hands of criminals.
Not surprising.czardonic
Nov 1, 2002 12:48 PM
I guess you could spin it both ways. Personally, I don't doubt the ineffectiveness of gun control legislation. That's why we need stricter regulations that should apparently include penalties for not securing a firearm.

Of course, to the NRA "responsibility" means "undue hinderance".