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In the developed world it is not only the USA that has millions of guns and children who watch violent movies and play violent video games, but activist and documentary film maker Michael Moore says that people in other countries, “simply don’t kill each other at the rate that we do.” Moore thinks he knows why: poverty, fear and a ‘me’ society.

“One in five Americans goes hungry at some point during the year,” says Moore. “The majority of those who aren’t poor are living from paycheck to paycheck. There’s no doubt this creates more crime. Middle class jobs prevent crime and violence.” No one making $50 thousand per year will be breaking into homes and shooting people for television sets, he says.

As for the Americans’ exaggerated sense of fear, Moore links it with racism that is perpetuated by media. “Too many white people are afraid of black people. What’s the image of a perpetrator in our heads?” It isn’t the freckle-faced kid from down the street.

He also criticizes America’s every-man-for-himself ethos: “I have noticed in my travels that other civilized countries see a national benefit to taking care of each other. In other countries people see each other together, with each person existing as an integral part of the whole.”

Moore doesn’t think banning semiautomatic weapons, regulating ammunition, improved background checks and increased mental health services, although all welcome, would bring an end to mass murders in his country. The alleged killer at the recent Newtown school tragedy had no criminal record, the guns he used were legally purchased, none fit the legal description of an assault weapon, the murderer’s mother had sought help for his mental health problems, and the school where the rampage took place had been locked down before the killer showed up.

“Most [citizens in other developed countries] are raised with a sense of connection, if not outright solidarity,” says Moore. “And that makes it harder to kill one another.”

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