On his first stop, Michigan, Moore chats with the “Michigan
Militia,” a group of Americans who are motivated by patriotism
and who claim to be America’s last line of homeland defense.
Moore attempts to understand their casual attitudes towards
guns, and fails. But, he uses this opportunity to highlight
a group of Americans who are responsible, whose guns are registered,
and who are trained in using rifles. Although he will later
develop an argument against gun ownership, this segment give
the film balance.
Moore next investigates the death of a six-year-old Michigan
girl who was killed by a six- year-old classmate who had brought
a gun to class.
After asking questions in the youngster’s community, Moore
finds out how the six year-old boy came to posses the weapon.
His mother needed to work eight hours a day to avoid being evicted
and another eight (total: 16 hours a day) to pay back welfare,
which is a policy in Michigan. She needed someone to be with
the child during the day, and sent him to live with her brother.
Her brother had no children and, therefore, didn’t keep the
weapon in a secure place.
Curious like all children, the boy found the weapon and brought
it to school. His motives remain unknown. This is one, of the
two cases that Moore uses to prove that although a gun may be
registered, it can still get into irresponsible hands.
Moore next visits the site of the infamous 1999 Columbine High
School in Littleton, Colo. As in Michigan, he learns that the
guns in the Columbine incident weren’t used by their registered
owners and the motives of the users remain essentially unknown.
At this point, the audience begins to recognize that the motives
of killers are irrelevant and the availability of these rifles
seem to be the bigger issue.
As Moore’s argument builds, he makes a stop in Canada to ask:
why, in a country with seven million rifles, in 10 million households,
is the gun-death rate only a fraction of America’s? He visits
a Canadian city, across the river from Detroit, and notices
that a lot of Americans enjoy the atmosphere there, more than
at home. The Americans felt that life at home is just too tense,
while Canadians are laid back and really value all aspects of
life. He also interviews some Canadians who feel that America
should worry more about health care than making guns accessible
to “violent Americans.”
“The government should be responsible for your health care,
it’s everyone’s fundamental right to live,” said a Canadian,
in an on-the-street interview.
The underlying plot of the documentary is the fact that Moore
wants to share his discoveries with Charlton Heston (President
of the Nation Rifle Association, NRA). Throughout the movie,
he makes reference to Heston visiting Michigan and Colorado
only days after their tragedies happened, to hold a NRA press
conferences at which he tried to further the validity of the
association. Finally, Moore confronts Heston about his “insensitive
actions” and asks him why he thinks America has the highest
gun-death rate in the world.
Heston blames America’s problem of the violence on “the ethnic
diversity of this country,” and ends the meeting directly after
that question. Moore leaves the audience wondering: if this
man is the president of the NRA, shouldn’t he at least have
an understanding of what causes the reckless use of weapons?
Moore places the picture of the six-year-old girl who was killed
by her classmate in Heston’s garage. Moore attempts to speak
with Dick Clark, chats with Matt Stone , co-creator of South
Park, and puts James Nichols on the spot (the brother of convicted
Oklahoma bomber Terry Nichols).
He interviews international rock-star Marilyn Manson, who seemed
to provide the best explanation for America’s violence. When
asked what he would say to the Columbine students, who looked
up to the singer, that shot their classmates, Manson said, “
I wouldn’t say anything, I’d listen, because obviously no one
did if they felt this was the only way they could get their