Although Michael Moore doesn’t always get things right, I like the points he makes in HuffPo today, about how the tremendous violence we Americans visit upon ourselves and others comes from much deeper causes than easy availability of guns. While of course gun restictions will help, more mental health services will help, beneath it all he believes three big issues underlie our excessive crime and violence: POVERTY, FEAR/RACISM, and THE ME SOCIETY.
Of course all three of these phenomena are intertwined, each causing, reinforcing, and resulting from the other. The selfish me society is so intrinsic to our history and mythology. On the one hand, we see ourselves as parts of a whole, citizens of. this great country, but we really don’t evidence a strong belief in taking care of one another. And all evidence to the contrary, the person who falls is viewed as entirely responsible for his/her fate, and the person who succeeds did it all on his/her own. We lack community and connection that might ordinarily work to prevent most people from killing a bunch of other people. In America the lone wolf is viewed as a hero, a god. The lone guy who kills the enemy and the one who kills innocents are the same–disconnected, misanthropic–they just happen to point their guns at different targets. Every day we churn out these isolated individuals, all focused only on their own needs and wants in different ways, and some directing their lonely dislocation at the others outside themselves. You didn’t build that, we built that.
Now how do we dismantle it?