Michael Moore sent out another one of his long letters to his list yesterday. His letters are always wordy, entertaining but mostly on point. Yesterday’s letter was a difficult piece to read, however it is a necessary read.
We only have the words when we hear of those innocent children who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT . We only hear the words when we are told
- Approximately 276 people in America (57 of them children) are shot in murders, assaults, suicide, accidents, and police intervention every day.
- Approximately 85 people die from gun violence, (35 of them murdered) every day.
- Approximately 9 children and teens die from gun violence every day.
- Approximately 191 people are shot but survive their gun injuries every day.
- Approximately 48 children and teens are shot, but survive their gun injuries every day.
Slate has partnered with @GunDeath to provide an interactive, crowdsourced tally of the toll firearms have taken since December 14th. In near real time, America has the option to see the corrosive nature of current gun policies.
Michael Moore’s letter “America, You Must Not Look Away (How to Finish Off the NRA) …a letter from Michael Moore” can be condensed into illustrating that when the graphic photos that Americans can see and actualize are released, Americans force their politicians into action. Moore writes:
The year was 1955. Emmett Till was a young African American boy from Chicago visiting relatives in Mississippi. One day Emmett was seen "flirting" with a white woman in town, and for that he was mutilated and murdered at the age of fourteen. He was found with part of a cotton gin tied around his neck with a string of barbed wire. His killers, two white men, had shot him in the head before they dumped him in the river.
Emmett Till’s body was found and returned to Chicago. To the shock of many, his mother insisted on an open casket at his funeral so that the public could see what happens to a little boy’s body when bigots decide he is less than human. She wanted photographers to take pictures of her mutilated son and freely publish them. More than 10,000 mourners came to the funeral home, and the photo of Emmett Till appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation.
In March, 1968, U.S. soldiers massacred 500 civilians at My Lai in Vietnam. A year and a half later, the world finally saw the photographs – of mounds of dead peasants covered in blood, a terrified toddler seconds before he was gunned down, and a woman with her brains literally blown out of her head.
With this avalanche of horrid images, the American public turned against the Vietnam War. Our realization of what we were capable of rattled us so deeply it became very hard for future presidents (until George W. Bush) to outright invade a sovereign nation and go to war there for a decade.
Bush was able to pull it off because his handlers, Misters Cheney and Rumsfeld, knew that the most important thing to do from the get-go was to control the images of the war, to guarantee that nothing like a My Lai-style photograph ever appeared in the U.S. press.
And that is why you never see a picture any more of the kind of death and destruction that might make you get up off your couch and run out of the house screaming bloody murder at those responsible for these atrocities.
That is why now, after the children’s massacre in Newtown, the absolute last thing the National Rifle Association wants out there in the public domain is ANY images of what happened that tragic day.
Maybe if we saw what that carnage in Newtown looked like in a photograph, America would react. Maybe if every one of the daily 276 gun events were on national news with graphic videos and pictures, America would react. Maybe if the real cost of these deaths and injuries were tabulated for Americans, they would react.
After all, with the majority of Americans continuously polling in support of sensible gun control, a catalyst to activate and force politicians to do the biddings of the citizens as oppose to the biddings of the gun makers and the NRA is in order.
It is time to stop coddling citizens and show the graphic nature of violence in America. Americans see the violence in many countries overseas and tend to look at it as just something that happens over there. After all we are a more very civilized country. We will continue to look through rose colored glasses until we stop the antiseptic view of what the corrosive laissez faire gun rule is actually doing to our society.