A student said to me recently, “Was living in America safe?”
Not much flummoxes me, but I didn’t know how to respond to that one. Safe? Compared to what? Am I going to leave my door unlocked, like Michael Moore’s depiction of Canadians in Bowling for Columbine? Probably not.
When I dug a little into the reasoning behind her question, I learned that she wanted to know more specifically if I was worried about being shot. I asked her if she was worried about air pollution. She said that she was. I asked her if she was worried about the Japanese economy. She said that she was. “Worrying about being shot in America,” I said, “is the same thing.”
“But aren’t guns scary?”
You betcha. Which brings me back to the brilliant Bowling for Columbine, and Moore’s argument in it. I think people will be drawn to the movie because of the gun issue, but the real crux of his position lies with the fear-mongering that goes on in the U.S.
It’s perpetuated by the plethora of news media, and it’s perpetuated by politicians who are more interested in being re-relected than doing their damn jobs.
While it’s easy to point fingers, the real blame should be shouldered by we, the people. It’s sort of obvious when you’re in the States. How early in life are we told that we can’t believe everything we read in the newspapers? Or see on the television? So now that you see young black men involved in shootings every night, you’re suddenly going to believe that it’s representative of the entire populace?
It’s human nature to be afraid; most recently in Japan everybody’s been conditioned to be afraid of the economy. But the economy is still better than in the States, and the economy just doesn’t kill people.
Not like a handgun.