Michael Moore on Gun Violence: ‘It’s the Fear of Getting Killed That Is Getting a Lot of Us Killed’

Michael Moore. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Amid the recent rash of Stateside shootings comes a Michael Moore–penned op-ed calling for Americans to change their outlook on society and guns. The filmmaker — whose latest project, Where to Invade Next, debuts December 23 — begins by separating Hollywood violence from IRL violence and calling out the U.S. for its gun fetish. His real issue, however, involves something much more ideological: "It's not the movies or the video games or the gruesome crime scene photos on CSI that drive us Americans to kill each other," he writes in THR's Christmas issue. "It's fear." It's the lack of a social safety net that leads to this fear, according to Moore, who points to Canada, Australia, and Japan as countries that have avoided the magnitude of gun violence prevalent in America.

Another longer excerpt:

It's the fear of getting killed that is getting a lot of us killed. But it's also other fears that are winding us up and making a few of us go crazy enough to take off on a shooting rampage. Unlike in other civilized countries where people take care of each other — with free health care, generous compensation for the unemployed, free or nearly-free college education, strict laws on credit card debt and junk mortgages, serious help and treatment for the mentally ill, aid for aging and infirm people and the list goes on and on. From Ireland to Italy to Norway, from New Zealand to South Korea to Morocco, governments all over the world have discovered that the real way to reduce violence is to simply take care of each other.

What separates us from everyone else is the way we force the members of our society to live in a constant state of fear: fear of going broke, fear of losing your job, fear of getting sick, fear of getting old and being without. We know that there's no safety net for us here in the USA. We are the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" nation, the "you take care of yours and I'll take care of mine" and the "your problems are not my problems" society. Most of us find a way to cope with all of this. We suck it up and take the ulcer for the team. But then there are the few that can't. And with easy access to any kind of gun — and as much ammo as they want — they find a way to act out their frustration and aggression. Not because they saw Kill Bill. But because they live in the home of the brave. That is something we can change.

You can read the whole piece, which also discusses suicide and gun accessibility, here.