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I wrote the following shortly after seeing a preview of 
the brilliant Michael Moore documentary feature film, 
Bowling For Columbine at the San Jose Film Club.

-- peer


Last Tuesday the Film-club in San Jose had a preview, followed by a panel discussion, of Michael Moore's latest flick; "Bowling for Columbine."

This documentary is not just a brilliant piece of work, but also quite entertaining (at times hilarious!) — a must-see movie... also for us "we-already-know-it-all" foreigners.

In an interview with Moore, he said that he started out wanting to make the typical liberal argument that "if we only had fewer guns, we would have less violence."  However, while making the movie he soon found that Canada, a nation with roughly the same number of firearms, had only 165 gun murders a year, compared with 11,000 in the Untied States.  He explains the difference by presenting an America built on fear, fear, and fear — something which is also consistently feed to the people by the mass media, whether it's killer bees, mould in the walls, or dark-skinned neighbors; it's all built on fear. 

The movie also shows how gunmakers have been able to accommodate this fear with the appropriate revolver or semiautomatic — while the Canadians are lax enough to even leave their doors unlocked.

Moore said that the canadians have fewer insecurities because their social system provides a safety net: "They have a lot of guns, drink a lot, and have more social problems in some regard, like higher unemployment", he said, "But there's no state-sponsored violence, no beating up on poor people — America, by contrast, keeps growing more hostile toward its poor."

Of course, now our fear mechanism is no longer focused on earthquakes, the Y2K bug, or Antrax'ed mail, but instead the fear of getting killed by a sniper and by a foreign guy in mustache.  In any case; go see this film — which opens (I think) tomorrow.

Peer Landa
Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics