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Michael Moore On Gun Action: ‘We Are The Majority'

Credit: Josh Marks
Michael Moore

Story on the 10th anniversary screening of "Bowling for Columbine" and town hall discussion on preventing gun violence with Michael Moore.

Exactly 10 years after Bowling for Columbine won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, activist filmmaker Michael Moore teamed up with MoveOn.org and USAction to celebrate the achievement with a screening Saturday evening at New York City’s School of Visual Arts Theatre, followed by a town hall discussion on reducing gun violence that was live-streamed across the country.

The panel included Rob Wilcox, cousin of gun violence victim Laura Wilcox and lead organizer of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence; Jaime Pessin from Moms Demand Action; Lori Haas, mother of Virginia Tech shooting survivor Emily Haas and Virginia organizer of The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence; and Garlin Gilchrist II, national campaign director for MoveOn.org.

Moore said that 14 years after making Columbine, he is tired of talking about this issue and that now is the time for action.

He proposed specific actions to the audience and thousands watching online in order to “get our United States Congress off their butts and enacting laws now. Not next year. Not the year after that. Now.” Moore said. “Every single piece of proposed gun legislation has the majority support of the American people. There’s no excuse for Congress not to pass these laws.”

“There are almost one hundred million Americans who own guns, almost one hundred million Americans,” said Moore. “That means there are more than 200 million Americans who don’t own guns. The NRA has over four million members. That means there are 304 million Americans who are not members of the NRA.”

“We are the majority and we should start acting like it,” he insisted. “Most importantly, the politicians had better start treating us that way and immediately start responding to the will of the people.”

The actions Moore suggested included tweeting the six or more Democratic senators who plan on voting with Republicans against an assault weapons ban, singling out Montana’s Sen. Jon Tester for a mass messaging campaign to overload his Twitter inbox with calls that he support the ban. Moore said the Twitter effect has already worked, convincing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to reverse his decision on allowing a vote on the assault weapons ban after a Twitter bombardment.

Another idea proposed was visiting or calling the local district offices of lawmakers while they are home for the week.

“It is atrocious in this country that we live in a culture that allows children to murder children,” said The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s Haas. “We have got to do a better job. We have got to do more to care for our fellow man. We’ve got to care that we have allowed this culture to permeate.”

“I’d like to just say one more thing about the NRA and the myth of their influence,” she continued. “We can puncture that myth. Michael is correct, it’s four million [members] and frankly three out of four of those members want to have a background check on all buyers. They’re with us. Responsible gun owners understand the responsibility of having a lethal weapon in their hands and what it can do in the wrong hands.”

Haas pointed out that even in a “purple” state like Virginia, where the NRA headquarters are located, that a candidate can win without support from the gun lobby. She talked about how Tim Kaine, who has an F rating from the NRA, has won every election he has run for — mayor, lieutenant governor, governor, and senator.

The evening ended on an emotional note as one of the Newtown, CT residents in the audience spoke about her experience moving to Newtown from Australia, as her husband stood next to her to provide support. She talked about how in 1996 after a mass shooting, the conservative government in Australia took only eight weeks to make sweeping changes to the country’s gun laws. Since then, there has not been a single mass shooting and the gun death rate dropped by 50 percent.

She said watching Bowling for Columbine influenced her decision making in where she and her family wanted to live when they moved to America. After extensive research, she chose Newtown to raise her two children because it had the lowest crime rate, the best schools, and was a “wonderful community.”

After realizing that if it happened in a place like Newtown, it could happen anywhere in America, she became politically active for the first time. “There has to be a minimum of protection provided legislatively in every developed country in the world, including this one,” she said.

“We are in the majority and if we speak up, we will be heard. Midterms are coming and I’d like to warn America’s congressmen and senators that the majority… look at the polls, you’re in a bubble in Washington,” she continued. “We went to Washington, we personally went to speak to senators with another group from Newtown called Newtown Action Alliance that we’ve joined, and [politicians] are in a bubble and they don’t realize the tide has turned, and if they don’t do something now this year, they will not be there next year to do anything else.”



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Josh Marks is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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9 comments on Michael Moore On Gun Action: ‘We Are The Majority'

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By Annie44 on March 25, 2013 at 03:16 pm

Great article, Josh. I didn't get a chance to hear the live-screening so I greatly appreciate the recap. It is time to stop the madness out there. I was moved by the Australian woman living in Newtown who has turned activist. I understand how the NRA feels they need their Second Amendment rights protected, but everyone who has died of a senseless gun death deserves their right to live.

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By Randy Mitchell on March 25, 2013 at 04:45 pm

I'm all for stricter gun control laws, especially for assault weapons. However, you can enact all these laws you want but those who are bent on causing fatal harm to others will always find a way. Its the same as drugs, they're illegal, but you can buy them on any street corner. Evil will always sneak through the cracks.

Ultra-liberals like Michael Moore have no business influencing laws, he's an absolute one-sided moron.

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By Annie44 on March 25, 2013 at 05:42 pm

Wow...Randy. Those are pretty harsh words for Michael Moore. He may not be everyone's cup of tea, but he has a right to speak. If he influences others to stand up against the passive majority, than he is doing a fairly good job. The argument "why bother...people will always find a way to get a gun" is a defeatest attitude. If that's the case, why don't we just make laws that criminals will follow since we've already lost. Sorry if I'm on a soapbox but I guess I'm tired of people not respecting the rights of the innocent who die every day to gun violence.

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By iancochrane on March 25, 2013 at 09:09 pm

I agree with Moore that now must surely be the time for real action. In my book, the ludicrous situation that now exists could not be better summed up than in the words of `Nicky' on Annie44's recent blog post `Locked and Loaded in a Techno World' -

QUOTE {Like others who have commented here, I am a Canadian and we don’t have the same level of gun violence that the U.S. has. That being said, I live in a city that experienced two gun massacres at two different colleges. I don’t understand the argument made by gun advocates about their right to bear arms. I think the father of one of the Sandy Hook victims said it best:

“The liberty of any person to own a military-style assault weapon and a high-capacity magazine and keep them in their home is second to the right of my son to his life. His life. To the right to live for all of those children and those teachers. To the right to the lives of your children, of you, of all of us–all of our lives. It is second. Let’s honor the founding documents, and get our priorities straight.”

Whether the founding fathers could imagine stronger, deadlier weapons in the future, I don’t know. But I can’t believe that they, in their wildest imaginations, thought that their words would be used to justify owning weapons during a time when children were being slaughtered.

Does this mean no civilian should own a gun? In an age where we do not NEED to hunt to survive and where we are not at war on home turf, then – and please excuse my bluntness – but why the fuck not? } END QUOTE

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By Randy Mitchell on March 25, 2013 at 09:19 pm

I fully respect victims rights. And, like I said, I'm all for stricter gun laws. My point is that people like MM think completely taking away guns from everyone is the answer. It's not, we all have the right to bear arms for sport and protection. I'm not taking a beaten attitude, just a realistic one.

MM is all for a much larger, more powerful government and a weaker population. He's a self admitted socialist and anti-capitalist so ridding society of the right to have weapons falls right in line with his way of thinking. Watch his movies sometime, they're so filled with lies its ridiculous. But yes, he does a right to express his opinions.

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By iancochrane on March 25, 2013 at 09:28 pm

For the record, at the risk of embarrassing Annie44, I should say that the post I previously mentioned was in fact on her blog `Annie off Leash' March20 2013 -

http://www.annieboreson.com/2013/03/20/locked-and-loaded-in-a-techno-world/

Cheers, ic

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By riginal on March 26, 2013 at 01:12 am

it has been proven that a weapon such as an AK 47 is regarded as no where near the 'kill'accuracy of other guns/rifles because of the progressive recoil and it was demonstrated in a weapons shoot off on tele the other night. An Australian company director friend of mine 'recoilless' (RTI ) can take the recoil out of such guns/rifles.(for military adaptation).But that isn't the point because it's not combat against enemy as all ready stated. I believe Mike Moore's heart is in the right place. It's the place in people's hearts and more to the point 'spaced out heads'...'HEADS/MINDS,' for whatever reason that's the problem. How many road accidents and people killed because of 'road rage.' That instant when 'kill' takes over.To bag someone's alleged politics and state that his life's work is virtual "lies" is utter bullshit! When the big finance companies collapsed who was there to at least protest and question the monetary insanity. And don't try and bullshit me he did it to get money/publicity! I do not know the answer, but i can tell you this, a politician in Australian-bad as pollies sometimes are (with the cooperation of ALL parties) made a POSITIVE step toward gun collection that made an enormous difference. Not the TOTAL answer by any means. But it was a start...and the bullshit about people's political differences wasn't even mentioned in the media during the handover? Just the FACT that something of benefit was DONE! I asked once before, in a debate a politician in America stated that Ronald Reagan 'shut down' mental institutions as a 'cost saving' exercise...same as they've done here. I don't know...you tell me the answer.Next people will be stating that people's mentality at any point in time or lack of it has nothing to do with the problem in hand...maybe it's the weapon's politics that kills. Maybe the bullets are from a subversive 'political' ammo mob Bullshit! I'm sure the grieving parents of the dead have only one united POLITICAL aim.Cut the political crap and make positive steps towards at least bringing the problem to the fore. And i believe that's where MM at LEAST is trying to raise awareness...at the very LEAST. He's not perfect but then if everybody was we wouldn't be having this discussion? Or am i politically incorrect?

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By iancochrane on March 26, 2013 at 04:53 pm

Agreed Rig.

This is not the time to talk politics.

Cheers, ic

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By riginal on March 26, 2013 at 07:00 pm

Ian i believe Mike Moore should be shot...straight up the steps of Congress with every camera in the media world on him. Cajole...drag every damn politician out, or at least those that give a damn and have a bit of guts...to come out in the glare of reality and face up to what they are highly paid to do...solve problems, or make a start. If MM be regarded as a moron then he would be eagerly embraced by a herd of 'gun shy' 'buck passing' deer old fellows of the same ilk. How about an 'exchange' pollies pact with Australia? Our pollies shoot themselves verbally in the foot so much i don't think they would be able to toe the line...to get anywhere near the holey Grail of 'commonsense.' Maybe taser guns should be handed out in Congress to shock them out of their complacency? I've got it! Paint guns! Loaded with votes! Then you may see a few pollies throw themselves in front of their voters to buck the game of "hide!...you seek!" Just a thought!

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