As Michael Moore’s awful movie ends, we see him bowling a strike. But, the film is not a strike. It is one gutterball after another.
In an interview in the Washington Times, Moore says: “We have such an ignorant nation. People don’t know what’s going on, and because you lack information, it’s easier to become afraid.” If this is true-that ignorance equals fear-then Moore is, without a doubt, the most fearful man in America, maybe the world.
Generally speaking, Bowling for Columbine is one of the most dishonest movies ever made. It is the film equivalent of Michael Bellesiles’ fraudulent anti-gun book Arming America. Let’s examine the movie point by point.
Gutterball No. 1: Moore on Guns and the 2nd Amendment.
Michael Moore wants to fool us into thinking he’s not really anti-gun. At different times in his film, he talks about how he grew up around guns, hunted as a kid in Michigan, and is a lifetime member of the NRA. But, in seeking to leave the impression he’s not anti-gun, he reveals his own duplicitous character.
In an interview with Tim Russert on CNBC, Moore said that until we change what he calls America’s “mean-spirited” ethic, “we have to put the guns away, we have to put the bullets away.” On this same show, he also said: “There’s no need to own three handguns.” He said that as a result of his movie he’s gotten reports of “people around the country trying to get stores in their towns to ban the sale of bullets.”
On NBC’s “Today” show, Moore said handguns “are meant only to kill human beings.” He’s either unaware or doesn’t care that millions of Americans have used handguns in self-defense-and they never fired their guns.
In his movie, arguing with a supporter of the 2nd Amendment, Moore says, absurdly, regarding the word “arms” in the 2nd Amendment, that “this could be a nuclear weapon.” So, he asks, idiotically: Does this 2nd Amendment supporter think he has “the right to have weapons-grade plutonium?”
Gutterball No. 2: Bombs vs. Books.
On his Web site, Moore says our children are not safe “because we live in a country where we value bombs and missiles more than we do textbooks and teachers.”
The facts: During the school year 1999-2000, total expenditures for public education came to nearly $382 billion, according to the U.S. Department Of Education’s National Center For Education Statistics. This figure does not include private and home schools. In late October of 2002, President Bush signed into law a $355.5-billion Pentagon budget.
Gutterball No. 3: Canada as a Crime-Free Heaven-on-Earth.
In the film, Moore asks a policeman in Windsor, Ontario, if he’s ever heard of anyone shot in Windsor? Answer: “No.” Any murders-by-gun? Answer: “Fifteen to 20 years ago.” Says Moore: Therefore, there are “no Canadians shooting other Canadians” in the Windsor area which has about 400,000 people.
But, once again, this is wrong. A story distributed by the Canadian Press Newswire, datelined Windsor, Ontario, reports two convictions for murder and one for attempted murder. The weapon used in these murders and attempted murder on Dec. 4, 1997, was “a silver revolver.” There have also been other horrible crimes of violence in Windsor but to Moore they don’t count, and aren’t mentioned, because they did not involve guns. He is interested in demonizing only guns.
In another part of Columbine we see Moore, in Toronto, expressing his amazement that people in this city don’t lock their doors. Yet, an article in the Ontario Free Press refers to “Bloody Sunday” in Toronto in which there were, recently, “four frightening fatal shootings . . . four shocking murders” in one night. Shootings that were committed with guns.
An article in Canada’s National Post says: “Toronto’s recent wave of street murders-more than 40 since the beginning of 2001-debunks the claim that Ottawa’s gun registry is making Canadians safer from crime . . . . Nearly all of the Toronto murders have been committed with handguns. Yet the guns have been subject to registration since 1934. In fact, registration has done nothing to stem the use of handguns in murder: In the past 15 years, the proportion of all firearm murders committed with handguns has nearly doubled in Canada from just over one-third to nearly two-thirds” (emphasis added).
Gutter-Ball No. 4: Blaming K-Mart Bullets for the Columbine Murders.
In the film we see Moore talking to two Columbine students shot in their school’s massacre. We’re told both are disabled and suffering “from the 17-cent K-Mart bullets still embedded in their bodies.” Moore says that as these kids showed him the various entry points for these bullets, “I thought of one way we could reduce the number of guns and bullets lying around. I asked one of the boys if they’d like to go to K-Mart to return the merchandise?”
Viewers see a K-Mart spokesman reading a statement saying that K-Mart “is phasing out the sale of all handgun ammunition . . . in the continental United States in the next 90 days.” Says Moore: “We greatly appreciate that. Wow. That blows my mind.”
Why in the world would K-Mart do this? Seeking an explanation of this gutless cave-in, K-Mart spokesman Michele Jasukaitus told me-after waiting several days for a reply-that she couldn’t answer my questions because the three top executives involved in this policy change were no longer with K-Mart.
Gutterball No. 5: Fear-Mongering Chutzpah of Movie.
One of the few individuals portrayed favorably and taken seriously in Columbine is University of Southern California sociologist Barry Glassner author of the book The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things. He is in the film to support one of Moore’s themes that our country is awash in fear.
In one part of Columbine we see Moore and Glassner walking around in South Central Los Angeles pooh-poohing the idea that there is any real danger to them there from crime. At one point, Glassner says the pollution there is “probably much more dangerous right now” to them than crime.
But, a story in the Daily News of Los Angeles says this in its lead paragraph: “Residents of South Central Los Angeles appealed Monday to LAPD Chief William Bratton for more officers or other resources to end the violence that has turned their streets into a battlefield. Twenty people have died in the past week and more have been injured in an escalation of violence – much of it gang-related” (emphasis added). The same paper, six days earlier, reported that violent crimes in South Central Los Angeles had risen 8% in the past year.
The incredible hypocrisy of this part of the film is that Columbine is wall-to-wall fear mongering! Moore wants us to fear almost everything: guns, gun-owners, America, K-Mart bullets, Lockheed-Martin, Dick Clark, and Charlton Heston.
So, what might Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear, think about Moore’s fear-mongering movie? In an interview, when asked this question, Glassner refused to reply and hung up the phone.
In conclusion, some of the dupes who praised Moore’s film should be mentioned. On her show, Oprah Winfrey hailed the movie as “more timely than ever,” saying it “really excited” her. The film, she said, was a “great job,” “I love the film so much.” Oh, and Oprah ends her show by saying that if somebody went to her house, “you wouldn’t see a gun under my bed.”
But, of course, you would undoubtedly need to be in a tank to even get close to Winfrey’s house. She lives in Montecito, Calif., on a 42-acre estate for which she paid $50 million in cash. Winfrey’s anti-gun remark is typical of the liberal elite multi-multi-millionaires who can afford to spend tons of money on personal security.
Some of the most discerning criticism of Columbine has come from places you would not ordinarily guess would find fault with the film. For example, a review in the rabidly anti-gun New York Times by A. O. Scott accuses Moore of “slippery logic, tendentious grandstanding and outright demagoguery.”
In his CNBC interview with Tim Russert, Moore identified himself as “way left-of-center.” And in an interview on CNN, explaining why he made Columbine, Moore said it was because he didn’t want it to be said “that I stood by and did nothing, said nothing, you know.”
Sorry, but when it comes to the subjects addressed in Bowling for Columbine, it would have been better for all of us had Michael Moore just stood by and said, and done, nothing.