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Wednesday, March 23

It's the Fear, Baby. The Fear.

Yesterday, after reading more about the shooting in Minnesota, I decided to watch Bowling for Columbine again. I also watched the extras on the DVD which included a speech Michael Moore gave to people in Denver a year after the movie was released. He mentioned how the cops were afraid to enter Columbine HS long after the shooting stopped while people were bleeding to death inside... How parents of missing children were tackled by the cops when they tried to enter the school long after the shooting stopped. Then the parents stopped trying to get into the school to find their kids out of fear of the cops tackling them. Moore didn't include these points in the movie because he didn't want to hurt the people of Littleton at that time. After just reading the alarming article that my colleague Patricia posted just below about people being allowed to shoot each other in self defense in Florida, the whole experience of yesterday's DVD watching came home to me like a giant wake up call.

Americans are more afraid of each other like no where else in an industrialized country. It's the fear, baby. That is why we are so fucked up and why we shoot each other more than any other people in an industrialized country anywhere... for nothing. It's bizarre. White men have been afraid since they first arrived here. Even now, with the neocons in power and the conservatives having a field day owning the media and our lives, they are still afraid. Nothing can stop the fear. You can hand them the world and they'd still be afraid.

They pass on this fear to at least half of the country. Their religion is based on fear. Their politics are based on fear. Their foreign policy is based on fear. The second amendment is based on fear. The opression of blacks and women is based on fear. The white man cannot abide the fact that perhaps they are not the master race or gender. (who needs to be the best all time but the mentally ill?) The whole world to them is one big battle of good vs evil. It became quite clear to many of us when bush started using words like "evil doers" and "infinite justice" after 9/11. That alarmed me more than the planes crashing into the towers. Hey, you can deal with terrorists. You can find out what's bugging them. It's usually some sort of gross injustice that can be solved. But what the hell is bugging the president of the supposed greatest country in the world? Guilt? Fear? What is he afraid of? Is he afraid of his power being ripped from his greedy, selfish claws?

Sure, I'm scared but not scared of the same things as my fellow Americans. I'm afraid of their fear and where it will lead. Will this turn into another Rwanda? Darfur? They cannot look at themselves. They must always blame someone else. This country is a giant mental case in need of a giant dose of prozak or a good smack across the face as my mother would say.

We have no more guns, violent movies, violent games, broken homes, unemployment, poverty, minorities, violent history, or less prayer than any other industrialized nation yet we kill each other in such numbers that it's absolutely embarrassing. We are no worse in any of those areas!

Last night I watched an HBO film about the genocide in Rwanda in '94: Sometimes in April. I had no idea. God help us. White European men originally pitted people against each other for no good reason. Then the roles reversed. It was evil. How did they arouse such fear? Radio. Can you imagine? They scared the hell out of people and caused them to kill their neighbors for being of a different tribe. They couldn't even tell by looking at each other who was from what tribe. They had to show an ID card. Then they would shoot their neighbor in cold blood. These were not jungle people as we may have pictured it 11 years ago. It looked like any American suburb in Rwanda, yet they were so afraid of their neighbor that not even the fact that they belonged to the same catholic parish could not contain their hatred.

I can't get the man I met in Arizona out of my mind. The one who was proudly packing a pistol and told me "Welcome to the real America" after he found out that we were from New York, where we are not allowed to pack heat.

Welcome, indeed.

Watch 'Bowling For Columbine' again if you can and see if you can catch 'Sometimes in April' on HBO.

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