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Celebrating the Prince of Peace in the Land of Guns

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While we are discussing and demanding what to do, may I respectfully ask that we stop and take a look at what I believe are the three extenuating factors that may answer the question of why we Americans have more violence than most anyone else:

1. POVERTY. If there's one thing that separates us from the rest of the developed world, it's this. 50 million of our people live in poverty. One in five Americans goes hungry at some point during the year. The majority of those who aren't poor are living from paycheck to paycheck. There's no doubt this creates more crime. Middle class jobs prevent crime and violence. (If you don't believe that, ask yourself this: If your neighbor has a job and is making $50,000/year, what are the chances he's going to break into your home, shoot you and take your TV? Nil.)

2. FEAR/RACISM. We're an awfully fearful country considering that, unlike most nations, we've never been invaded. (No, 1812 wasn't an invasion. We started it.) Why on earth would we need 300 million guns in our homes? I get why the Russians might be a little spooked (over 20 million of them died in World War II). But what's our excuse? Worried that the Indians from the casino may go on the warpath? Concerned that the Canadians seem to be amassing too many Tim Horton's donut shops on both sides of the border?

No. It's because too many white people are afraid of black people. Period. The vast majority of the guns in the U.S. are sold to white people who live in the suburbs or the country. When we fantasize about being mugged or home invaded, what's the image of the perpetrator in our heads? Is it the freckled-face kid from down the street -- or is it someone who is, if not black, at least poor?

I think it would be worth it to a) do our best to eradicate poverty and re-create the middle class we used to have, and b) stop promoting the image of the black man as the boogeyman out to hurt you. Calm down, white people, and put away your guns.

3. THE "ME" SOCIETY. I think it's the every-man-for-himself ethos of this country that has put us in this mess and I believe it's been our undoing. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps! You're not my problem! This is mine!

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Clearly, we are no longer our brother's and sister's keeper. You get sick and can't afford the operation? Not my problem. The bank has foreclosed on your home? Not my problem. Can't afford to go to college? Not my problem.

And yet, it all sooner or later becomes our problem, doesn't it? Take away too many safety nets and everyone starts to feel the impact. Do you want to live in that kind of society, one where you will then have a legitimate reason to be in fear? I don't.

I'm not saying it's perfect anywhere else, but I have noticed, in my travels, that other civilized countries see a national benefit to taking care of each other. Free medical care, free or low-cost college, mental health help. And I wonder -- why can't we do that? I think it's because in many other countries people see each other not as separate and alone but rather together, on the path of life, with each person existing as an integral part of the whole. And you help them when they're in need, not punish them because they've had some misfortune or bad break. I have to believe one of the reasons gun murders in other countries are so rare is because there's less of the lone wolf mentality amongst their citizens. Most are raised with a sense of connection, if not outright solidarity. And that makes it harder to kill one another.

Well, there's some food for thought as we head home for the holidays. Don't forget to say hi to your conservative brother-in-law for me. Even he will tell you that, if you can't nail a deer in three shots -- and claim you need a clip of 30 rounds -- you're not a hunter my friend, and you have no business owning a gun.

Have a wonderful Christmas or a beautiful December 25th!

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Michael Francis Moore (born April 23, 1954) is an American film director, author, and social commentator. He is widely known for his outspoken, critical views on globalization, large corporations, gun violence, the Iraq War, and the George W. Bush administration. (more...)

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(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always) We didn't sta... by Fern Henley on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 12:00:31 PM
Michael Moore is hilarious. He has gotten fabulous... by Mrt Baggins on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 12:10:38 PM
Would you be surprised to know that he is a paying... by Sister Begonia on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 1:29:34 PM
This comment is totaly worthless. Mike's letter is... by frankaval on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 1:05:49 AM
You couldn't have said it any better. While the ma... by michael payne on Wednesday, Dec 26, 2012 at 11:04:28 AM
Guess we all know why Michael is a member of the N... by Stefan Thiesen on Sunday, Dec 30, 2012 at 5:29:53 PM
Michael's comments, always insightful and wise, po... by Doc Pingree on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 12:26:40 PM
We are supposedly a Christian country and thus one... by frankaval on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 1:19:54 AM
That whenever people go Columbine in the US, they ... by Adam Smith on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 12:29:53 PM
Michael Moore,What do you think of the idea of ama... by Marta Steele on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 12:53:53 PM
 Here's an idea toward a solution that Michae... by Alan MacDonald on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 6:25:21 PM
Alan, the 4 million NRA are only a small por... by KurtB on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 7:01:32 PM
Yes, Kurt, as you note the entirely reasonable and... by Alan MacDonald on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 9:44:46 AM
Alan, thank you for your well reasoned reply. I t... by KurtB on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 11:20:02 AM
Proud member of the NRA.   I keep waitin... by Sister Begonia on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 1:26:50 PM
There is no way in hell that the citizens could fi... by frankaval on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 1:28:16 AM
  The assertion that the U.S. has... by KurtB on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 2:18:23 PM
There were so many rules not enforced for the Newt... by Steven G. Erickson on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 2:32:20 PM
Here are some current facts on our society as comp... by Poor old Dirt farmer on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 3:25:04 PM
 and wiki... by Poor old Dirt farmer on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 3:36:36 PM
Unfortunately the GDP factor is even worse as shee... by Stefan Thiesen on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 10:12:01 AM
Listen to these Australians:  http://www.yout... by Robert James on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 4:03:07 PM
I think Michael Moore has hit it on the head. The ... by Ira Herson on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 4:32:20 PM
The United States is becoming a Third World Cou... by KurtB on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 6:04:08 PM
During the last years several economists have show... by Stefan Thiesen on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 10:26:40 AM
Sleeper agent, Michael Moore.Genius, really.Talk o... by Mike Stewart on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 4:56:12 PM
"I have to believe one of the reasons gun murders ... by John Rachel on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 5:30:17 PM
If the shooting had happened in an all black schoo... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 8:19:41 PM
Ludicrous you say? They don't have to trade wit... by KurtB on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 10:03:07 PM
China and Brazil do not "need" to trade with the U... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Dec 24, 2012 at 10:33:32 PM
Persecution of pagans by the ... by Ethan Hollow on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 8:58:08 AM
Good opinions Mike. But this country stopped c... by Mary McLaughlin on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 9:20:28 AM
You are so right, Michael. We need to ban or heavi... by Catherine Maxwell on Tuesday, Dec 25, 2012 at 1:58:39 PM