Friday, July 20, 2012

Colorado Shootings and Michael Moore's Moral Prescience

Steve and I had never seen Michael Moore's documentary about the Columbine, Colorado, shootings in  1999.  Some days ago, I saw that it was playing on some channel we get, and so I . . . is the word now "tivoed"? . . . it.  We watched it last night.

As we watched, we commented back and forth to each other about what a strong, and often prescient, moral sense Michael Moore has.  He adroitly situates the mass murder of high-school students and a teacher by two teens at Columbine against the backdrop of the defense industry in Colorado.

He manages to get a high muckety-muck in that industry talking at a missile factory, with missiles everywhere in the background, about how, no sir, there's no correlation between what we and our country do in producing weapons of mass destruction and the Columbine shootings.  Couldn't possibly be teaching our youth violence by engaging in it ourselves.  By throwing huge sums of money into the production of weapons.

We do all of that, you understand, for the right reasons.  For morally upstanding reasons.  Since defending our nation is our duty and our right.  It's just plain different from taking a gun and shooting a fellow human being.

When that same missile-producing muckety-muck talks about how the American role in the world is to keep the world safe and to spread democracy, Moore responds (in his documentary) with a devastating series of film clips showing that we Americans have done precisely the opposite for years in many places including southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.  Wherever our big boots trample.

And now today the shooting in Aurora, Colorado.  And already, the pry-my-gun-from-my-cold-dead-fingers crowd are out in force in the blogosphere, ranting about how the ready availability of guns keeps us Americans safe, by God.  

We seem unable to learn.  Or to hear voices of reason and moral sanity like Moore's.  For those who may not have seen Moore's documentary, I've embedded it at the top of the posting, and hope I'm not violating any law in doing so, since the copy I've embedded is at the YouTube site.  The interview at the missile plant begins around 24:20, and the series of clips detailing America's history of promoting violence in various places in the world begins around 26:04.  If I'm doing anything wrong in embedding the film and someone recognizes this, please let me know.

P.S. I followed Eric Marrapodi's lead yesterday when I blogged about George Zimmerman and the twisted (and very self-serving) theology that underlies his remark that his shooting Trayvon Martin was part of God's plan.  Along with Marrapodi, I noted Zimmerman's solid Catholic upbringing and wondered how one gets from there to his theology about God's divine plan requiring him to shoot an unarmed 17-year old.

Since I offered those reflections today, I feel it's only right that I point out that Michael Moore also had a Catholic upbringing, and was even a seminarian.  And so what accounts for the fact that one man with a strong Catholic upbringing ends up where Zimmerman has ended up, and another man with a similar upbringing ends up where Moore has ended up?

I don't know the answer to that question and it would be presumptuous of me to answer it on the basis of the little I do know.  But if I were inclined to do some research about this, I'd definitely begin the research taking into account that Moore was born in 1954 and grew up in a Catholic church in which Vatican II was still a springtime moment of great promise for many of us.

Zimmerman grew up in the reactionary church of John Paul II, when the reform of the reform kicked into high gear.  And he was catechized in that church.

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