Return to Transcripts main page
PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview With Michael Moore
Aired July 24, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, America and guns. A deadly love story. From Columbine to Aurora.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another victim on the north side of the theater and the parking lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A stunning 125 fatal mass shootings in this country in the 13 years since Columbine. Americans young and old cut down in schools, offices, churches and now a movie theater.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm being told that he's in Theater 9.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tonight, I'll ask the man who made "Bowling for Columbine" 10 years ago Michael Moore. Has anything changed in the decade since?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MOORE, ACADEMY AWARD-WINNING FILMMAKER: What's the real reason? What's the real reason that we want to have a quarter billion guns in our homes? What are we afraid of?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Michael Moore , the interview you won't see anywhere else.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. Our big story tonight. America and guns. With me is the filmmaker Michael Moore. In the 10 years since he made the Oscar-winning "Bowling for Columbine" he's never once given an interview in the wake of a mass shooting. But that all changes tonight.
Michael Moore is ready to talk after the Aurora tragedy. He says guns don't kill people, Americans kill people. And tonight, he answers your questions. Is gun control the answer? How do we protect America's rights? And does his country have a culture of violence?
An important conversation for America. And joining me now exclusively for the hour is Michael Moore.
Michael, thank you for joining me. I've noticed that you have barely said a word since what happened in Colorado on Friday. What do you want to say?
MOORE: First thing I want to say is I'm loathe to be here frankly. As you pointed out, I've never gone on TV after any of these shootings since I made "Bowling for Columbine." I'm not a pundit. I'm not an analyst. I don't want to participate in the existing debate that's going on about whether or not you should be able to have as many guns as you want to have or that guns are even the problem.
I think that both conservatives and liberals are half right, each of them, on this issue. The conservatives when they say guns don't kill people, as you said, I would alter that to guns don't kill people, Americans kill people. We do this more than anybody else. Of the 23 richest countries, over 80 percent of all gun murders happen in one country, ours.
The left, liberals, believe that if we just have more gun control laws, all the problems are going to go away. Well, I don't think so. I don't think so. I think -- yes, it will, it will be reduced. There's no question about that. If that individual in Aurora had had not so many magazines, not so many bullets, not so many people would have been shot. There's no question about that, that less guns will mean less murders.
But it won't really get rid of the larger problem because we, as a culture, live in a very different -- this is really the discussion I wish, Piers, that people would have, that what is it about us as Americans? You know we're not any better or worse than you, Brits, or the Japanese, or the Canadians or whatever. Yet in Japan, less than seven gun murders every year. In Canada, about 200. In the UK, around 40 a year. In a nation of -- I don't know, what, do you have 70 million people.
This is -- why here? Why us? You can't say it's because of the violent movies and the violent video games. Because I got to tell you, those Canadian kids right across the river from Detroit, they're watching the same violent movies and playing the same violent video games. And yet in that city across from Detroit, most years they have one, maybe zero, murders a year, in Windsor, Ontario. So --
MORGAN: And it's interesting, Michael. I mean you mentioned --
MOORE: It's not that. Yes.
MORGAN: You mentioned Japan there. And Japan is a fascinating piece. Which appeared today in "The Atlantic," which I was going to talk to you about a little later. By a guy called Max Fisher. And he explains why Japan has almost no gun related homicides at all. And I mean at all. In 2008, when America had 12,000 firearm-related homicides, Japan had 11. That was a big year. In 2006, it had two. Then he gets into the really interesting bit, which is why there's a cultural difference, I think, between somewhere like Japan and America. He says, "America's gun law begins with the Second Amendment's affirmation of the right of the people to keep and bear arms and narrows it down from there. Japanese law starts with the 1958 Act which states that no person shall possess a firearm or firearms or a sword or swords."
In other words, it begins from a completely opposite genesis. In Japan, no guns, no gun crime.
MOORE: Those laws, that constitution, first of all, in the Japan, we wrote it. We wrote it after World War II. There's the irony of it. This country with its Second Amendment, we didn't write that into the Japanese constitution. We didn't want to make sure that all the Japanese were armed.
There's another thing, too. We hear people say about Americans, you know, we -- well, we have this violent past. You know, the Wild West and you know, we used to have all these guns around forever. Well, Japan, violent past. Yes. Germany. Violent past maybe? Maybe a history of maybe 1,000, 2,000 years from the Huns to the Nazis. Very violent people. And yet they don't kill each other now. They don't shoot each other with guns.
Why is that? That's the -- that's the discussion I want to have. What is it about us that wants to do this?
I know you think that if we just got rid of all the guns, we would just get rid of all the gun murders. I don't think anybody really thinks that can happen in this country. But certainly strong gun control laws will reduce the number. There's no question about that.
I'll give you another example. Australia. 1996. Had a mass murder. As most countries do have their own mass murder. Norway, last summer. Scotland, the schoolyard.
MOORE: A number of years ago. So most countries do get this because there are insane people everywhere in the world and they've existed since Cain killed Abel. OK? So this not a new thing. And individual on Friday, early Friday morning in Aurora, probably just as lunatic as everybody else who's done this.
The difference is, as you point out, is that he was able to get guns and ammo as if he were getting a car wash. As if he were getting bubble gum. As if he were -- I mean there was just -- it was nothing. And that is -- that is a huge, huge problem. But I think that there's something very unique about us. Because it's not that, again, these countries are any better than us. The -- you know, the British Empire, I think you guys ruled the world at the barrel -- with a barrel of a gun for a couple hundred years.
There's nothing new about people that have a violent culture doing bad things. So why is it that your countries with these pasts, that have these violent cultures, and you're watching the same violent movies, and actually you have more broken homes. Because you have a higher divorce rate in Great Britain than you have here. You have more people that go to church here and believe in god than any other western country.
So, really, what's the real reason?
MORGAN: On --
MOORE: What's the real reason --
MORGAN: Michael, here's what --
MORGAN: -- that we want to have a quarter billion guns in our homes?
MORGAN: Here's what I see --
MOORE: What are we afraid of?
MORGAN: Here's what I see just a fundamental flaw in the American gun culture. Apparently since Friday there's been a 41 percent rise in people in Colorado seeking registration to own a gun. A firearm. And they're doing so quite obviously because they have been persuaded by the pro-gun lobby debate in the last few days. Been very dominant, as it always is. That they would be safer if they had had a firearm. If they were in that movie theater at the time.
That if they'd all been armed this character wouldn't be able to carry out what he did. And this was the argument put to me last night. And it really -- it angers me that people are reacting like this because the answer is simply not to flood the whole of America with more guns. This character was not only armed to the teeth, he was protected to the teeth. He had very carefully planned out full body armor, helmets, everything. He wasn't going to get taken down.
MOORE: And that same spike, by the way, occurred when President Obama became president. A huge run on -- after the election, people buying guns. What are they afraid of? While the people in Colorado I guess, you know, they're afraid -- afraid to go to the movies. So now everybody's going to bring a gun to the movies?
I mean, I just really want to say to people, you're not living in a movie. This tragedy may have happened in a movie theater but you are not in a movie when you're in a movie theater. So let's say you have a gun on you and a guy is there. He lets off a tear gas canister. There's gas everywhere. People are crawling over, running over everybody, there's total chaos, you're going to somehow very quickly, because he's -- remember, he's got a semiautomatic gun, so he's popping people very quickly every second. You're going to somehow get your gun out and you're back in row 15 and you're somehow going to find that guy in the gas and shoot him and take him down. I mean, really? We have to get real here. Come back to reality. That is not the problem. That is not how we're going to solve the issue.
The issue of last week is that we have serious mental health problems with people in this country. We're in the 21st century. We're not in the 5th century BC. We should be able by now to provide the necessary free help to people who are troubled.
MORGAN: Right. I want to come back and talk to you about the right to bear arms. About the crucial passages in the Constitution, in the Second Amendment, which so many Americans use as their absolute justification for owning guns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once upon a time, there were these people in Europe called pilgrims. And they were afraid of being persecuted. So they all got on a boat and sailed to a new world where they wouldn't have to be scared ever again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm so relaxed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel so much safer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But as soon as they arrived, they were greeted by savages and they got scared all over again. So they killed them all.
In 1775, they started killing the British. So they could be free. And it worked. But they still didn't feel safe. So they passed the Second Amendment which said every white man can keep his gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love my gun. Love my gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which brings us to the --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's from Michael Moore's Academy Award winning "Bowling for Columbine." And he's back with me now exclusively.
So Michael, this morning in preparation to all this, I watched the movie again from start to finish. And some fascinating things to observe in that movie, one, how little really America has moved on. In fact you could argue it's moved backwards in terms of guns, gun control and so on. And secondly, a few things came out of it. One is that Aurora is 17 miles from Littleton. And that must have sprung out at you, too, just how very close these two massacres were to each other. Young children involved. The same kind of reaction from the gun lobby. You had Charlton Heston going down there, appearing at NRA rallies after that incident. And also another one which I shall come to later involving a young girl who was killed in Michigan.
When you made the movie and it came out, 10 years ago, the 10th anniversary now, did you expect more to be done about guns? Did you expect the impact of both the massacre in Columbine and your movie to have more effect than it's had?
MOORE: Well, this is the continuing problem I have with all my movies. Because I am -- I am an optimist at heart. I'm not a cynic. And so when I made "Roger and Me," my first film, 22 years ago, I thought that would wake people up about General Motors and corporate America. And sound a big warning bell. Didn't happen.
"Bowling for Columbine." I just had a feeling this was, you know -- we were having these occasional mass killings then. Now we have them pretty much on average every month. Somebody goes into the office or a school or a neighborhood or whatever and a bunch of people are killed. So I mean this is -- this is my -- I made a film that -- the beginning of the Iraq war so we weren't going to find any weapons of mass destruction.
So I'm used to my films having little effect on making the world a better place. I hope -- I think they educate a lot of people and that. But I don't hold the kind of political power I would need to actually make things better.
I want to say this about the thing about Littleton. You said 17 miles away. I spent a lot of time out there in Littleton, in Aurora, and Denver, while I was making the movie and since I made the movie. And you know, it's -- there's another whole thing to discuss about this is probably going to take another show.
You know, people forget that -- there was another gun massacre in Aurora where I think four or so people were shot and killed at a Chuck E Cheese. A guy went in there and just senselessly killed these people. Of course, every killing is senseless. So -- but, you know, that hasn't really been brought up. But this isn't -- this isn't just Columbine. It's not just last Friday. Even in Aurora itself, it happened. So this is -- sadly I think it's just something that's going to continue because --
MORGAN: What came through, Michael --
MOORE: Our policies -- yes.
MORGAN: What came through strongly from the movie and what has come through strongly from all the reaction I've seen in the last few days is this adherence that so many millions of Americans put on the exact wording of the Constitution, the Second Amendment, this famous piece of literature. "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, comma, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, comma, shall not be infringed." And depending which side of the coin you decide you place yourself, this is either referring specifically to a militia or it is referring to an individual. And you can argue it either way. I mean, I interviewed Justice Scalia last week. And he'll tell you it's all about the actual interpretation intended by the founding fathers.
But obviously as Mayor Bloomberg told me last night, you know, A, we don't really know what they meant. But B, what we do know is that they didn't anticipate the kind of weaponry we have today. Let's watch a clip from him last night.
MORGAN: And you'll see what I mean.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: Everybody wants to preserve the right of people that want to use guns for sport, hunting or target practice, to have the right to do so. But that doesn't mean you have an assault weapon. That doesn't mean you have a rifle that's advertised as able to bring down a commercial airliner at a mile and a half or bullets that are designed to go through bullet-resistant vests. Those are very different things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now that would be my view entirely. But let's watch what Ice-T, the rapper, said yesterday about his interpretation of the Second Amendment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ICE-T, ACTOR, RAPPER: The right to bear arms is because that's the last form of defense against tyranny. Not to hunt. It's to protect yourself from the police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And do you see any link between that and these sorts of incidents?
ICE-T: No. No, not really. You know what I'm saying? If somebody wants to kill people, you know, they don't need a gun to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Makes it easier, though, doesn't it?
ICE-T: Not really. You can use -- you can strap explosives on your body. They do that all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now there you have two very different views. I would say there are millions and millions of Americans who would part themselves into Mayor Bloomberg's side of the argument and millions more, probably more actually, in total who would agree with what Ice-T said. How do you -- how do you deal with this going forward? How do you deal with the constitutional divide that America has over how that is interpreted?
MOORE: OK. Well, I'm going to -- I'm going to argue it both ways. Because I think you can make a valid argument sort of. On both -- on both sides. Not the last part. That part that Ice-T said about that reducing them wouldn't reduce it. That's been proven. If you reduce the guns and the ammo, you'll reduce the murders. Somebody strapping a bomb on themselves, that's a whole different animal that we have to deal with in these times.
But I think first of all this must seem odd to people in other countries that we view our constitution as if it was written by God himself. That it was somehow through some sort of divine intervention or whatever it was etched in stone like Moses and the tablets. And because what they thought was right in 1776 to 1789, that was -- that is the way we have to live today in the 21st century.
I mean we wouldn't, we wouldn't go to a doctor and have him put leaches on us to suck the blood out of it because that would cure us. That's what they did, you know, 150 years ago. We've kind of -- we've kind of evolved. So I think what -- it's a safe bet, I think the people who are -- the NRA and the so-called gun supporters, I think they -- if they were intellectually honest, and I -- and I think it's OK to use that word -- the other word. I think that they would admit that the founding fathers, when they said militia, they meant we got to be able to round up all the farmers and the merchants and everybody, get your gun because the British are coming back.
And they were afraid of that. They didn't -- they still were dealing with the world's largest power at the time when we got our independence. Or when they said, the right to bear arms, I think, you know, the arm back then was you could -- you could only fire one shot at a time. You had a little -- a little ball bearing-like bullet. You had to stuff it in the thing and then you had to do this, and the gun powder, and, you know, took 15 minutes before you could fire one shot.
Now, if the founding fathers could have looked into a crystal ball and seen AK-47s and Glock semiautomatic pistols, I got a feeling they wouldn't -- I think they'd want to leave a little note behind and probably tell us, you know, that's not really what we mean when we say "bear arms."
So I think, I think that -- I think most intelligent people would see that it's -- it kind of makes sense what they were thinking. I don't think we have to go back into their minds at all and I wish that we would just -- I wish we would just live in this century. I think they'd want us to do that. We've evolved in other ways. We allowed women to vote. We decided that slavery was a bad idea.
You know we've gotten rid of a lot of those bad ideas from the founding fathers. This is probably one that is not necessarily a bad idea but one that can easily be clarified with 21 century language. MORGAN: One of the problems, of course, is that there's no real political leadership about this. I mean I've been staggered, I have to say.
MORGAN: Having started this show when Gabby Giffords was shot which is about a week before I went on air. To see nothing happen after that. And then to see this -- the worst single shooting in the history of the United States. And still have no senior politician. Neither the president nor the man who wants to replace him as president, Mitt Romney, have said anything about guns or gun control. As if it is not an issue that even needs to be discussed.
Let's come back after the break. And I want to ask you why. Why is there this extraordinary wall of silence from America's political leaders?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE: How many people are killed by guns each year? In Germany, 381. In France, 255. In Canada, 165. In the United Kingdom, 68. In Australia, 65. In Japan, 39. In the United States, 11,127.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Another clip from "Bowling for Columbine." The groundbreaking documentary Michael Moore made 10 years ago.
Michael, the whole issue of how politicians --
MOORE: If you add in the accidental shootings and the suicides by gun, that 11,000 number pretty much doubles.
MORGAN: Let's -- before the break, talking about the political void here. Because I've just been stunned that no senior politician has even dare to mention guns. I haven't heard it from Mitt Romney. I haven't heard it from Barack Obama. Why is that?
MOORE: I guess they're afraid to. I guess that they're part of the same problem of the fear in this country. We get afraid of so many things. And in this particular case, this is just the fear of not getting elected. There's no, like, personal harm that's going to come to them if they take a position on this.
MORGAN: We're going to play some footage from both the president and from Mitt Romney from 2007. The same year in which they said some -- given their silence now, pretty surprising things about guns. But first, I want to play you a clip from Governor Chris Christie who said this after Aurora.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I am a little bit disturbed by politicians who in the immediate aftermath of this type of tragedy tried to grandstand on it. And I'm not going to be one of those people. I feel awfully for those families. There's two with New Jersey roots. One who was injured. One who was killed. And this is just not the appropriate time to be grandstanding about gun laws.
Can we at least get through the initial grief and tragedy for these families before we start making them political pawns?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now I had -- I had somebody put this exact same point to me on Friday when we did a whole show on this 12 hours after the incident happened. To me it's a totally factious argument because, you know, when do you supposed to talk about this? I mean are you supposed to leave it a year? I mean we know after all the previous, after Columbine, after Gabby Giffords --
MORGAN: -- after all these things, nothing happened, because that kind of talk -- and I -- I have a lot of respect for Chris Christie. I like him, personally, very much, but I think it's a crass thing to say. You know, the time to talk, as I said on Friday, was probably the day before this happened. To have this debate loud and clear, to let the American public make their own minds up, because at the moment they're not hearing why there should be gun control. They're not hearing anything.
What they're doing is voting with their wallets and their feet and they're going to gun stores to try and buy more guns, because they believe that's the only way to stop themselves getting shot in movie theaters.
That is why America is seeing such an escalation in its gun ownership, isn't it?
MOORE: It's -- no, I think it -- actually, it's -- it's more because we're easy -- we're easily scared than other people in other countries. And we respond differently to tragedy in such a -- a dramatic way, that goes way beyond reason and sanity.
You know, 9/11 happens, we're attacked, OK, let's send 100,000 troops to Afghanistan to get the, you know, 200 people that were behind this, you know. Or I think Saddam had something to do with 9/11, he's got weapons of mass destruction. Yes, I heard. Yes. And -- and the weapons, they could be here in 45 minutes.
I mean this sort of thing that just gets whipped up in us, that's really the thing I'd like to talk about, because I want to know why we're a bunch of scaredy-cats in this way, why we have to like -- we think that if we just have a gun, if I just have a gun, I'm going to be OK.
And it's just -- it's madness. It's absolute madness. And -- and -- and it's -- it's -- as I said, it's disappointing that the political leaders don't do something, because if -- if Governor Christie is worried about the politicians who are saying something about it 12 hours after the shooting, trust me, in 12 days, nobody is going to be talking about this. And in 12 weeks, few people are going to remember it except those who lost loved ones --
MORGAN: No, I total -- I totally agree --
And let -- let me now play for you the two clips we found of President Obama and Mitt Romney, from 2007, talking about assault weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I signed an assault weapon ban in Massachusetts as governor, because it provided for a relaxation of licensing requirements for gun owners in Massachusetts, which was a big plus. And so both the pro-gun and anti-gun lobby came together with a bill. And I signed that.
OBAMA: We need to close the gun show loophole. We need to tighten our background checks by improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. We need to make the expired assault weapon ban permanent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: So there we have it. In their own words in 2007, Governor Romney in Massachusetts wanting to bring in a ban on assault weapons, and Barack Obama, before he became president, making it very clear what he would do.
Neither has said a word in the light of the biggest single shooting in the history of their country. And you know, I'm afraid that it looks, from the outside as if it's a form of moral and political cowardice.
MOORE: It's really disgraceful, as far as I'm concerned. And of course, I'm most disappointed by the individual that you showed there that I think does know what needs to be done. And I think privately must be very shaken by this and wondering what he should be doing.
I would hope that's the case. But then again, I live in a country where the same president, who I voted for and -- and will again, but, you know, he was -- he -- he was willing to get -- he pushed through a health care bill that left 26 million Americans still uncovered.
What -- what other nation is there in the Western world that does this to their people, that allows thousands of them to die every year because they can't afford to go see a doctor?
I mean this is -- this is, again, I'm going to keep coming back to it, Piers.
What is it about us that we are so cruel to each other? MORGAN: I think it -- it's a fascinating question and I think it's one that many Americans are wrestling with.
Let's take another break.
Let's come back.
I've got some Twitter questions for you, Facebook questions. We asked the viewers to send in their questions. It's very lively, as you would imagine.
I'll give you a taster. Somebody called @louislouis (ph) --
MORGAN: -- Tweeted: "Laws don't prevent people from committing crime, just like salads don't prevent people from getting fat."
So let's discuss the public's view of this debate after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMIE ROHRS, SURVIVED AURORA SHOOTING: People are entitled to things, but how much weapons do you need, how many weapons? Like these are destructive. They're not just handguns. They're shot guns, assault rifles, like you said. And they're just so fast at killing people. Like you just realize how -- how many people they can kill so fast. Because I mean, this only took three minutes and 70 shot, 10 -- 12 dead. It's just these are weapons of destruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Jimmy Rohrs, one of the victims of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado last week.
And I'm back with Michael Moore.
I mean it's a familiar theme, I've got to say. A lot of people who've Tweeted in, Scott M. on Facebook says, "Should an Uzi machine gun be included in the Second Amendment, to carry or un -- bear arms? Is it the type of gun necessary for self-defense?"
Then you have the other argument, as I said, "Laws don't prevent people from committing crime, just like salads don't prevent people getting fat."
And somebody else, Fitz -- @fitz152 said, "Can you explain why Washington, DC outlaws handguns, yet in 2012, it's had a 40 percent increase in gun-related crime?"
And you have the same argument about Chicago and the fact that they have strict gun -- gun control laws there and yet have the worst gun crime in America. Put all these into some kind of perspective for me, Michael.
MOORE: Well, let me start there. Ninety-eight percent of the guns that are taken off criminals in Washington, DC come from other states, not from Washington, DC. If we had a uniform -- uniform laws, they would be less of a problem. But -- but if you are trying to get a gun in Washington, DC, it's virtually impossible, number one.
Number two, New York is a good example of where the gun laws did bring down the gun murders. So I think the mayor of Chicago should probably talk to the mayor of New York and figure out what they did in New York.
The -- the -- the first part of your question, as Americans, they want -- we want our freedom. You know, we want to be able to -- if we want a gun, then why can't we have a gun, you know?
I -- I -- I want 200 channels on my TV.
Why can't I have 300?
I mean, this is kind of our American mentality. And part of it is -- it comes from a good place of freedom and, you know, let's -- let's -- I should be able to get this or whatever, I don't know.
But -- but -- but, really, I would like to ask, actually, the -- the -- the gun supporters out there, if you believe that the Second Amendment is some absolute right to bear arms -- it doesn't say guns, by the way, it says arms, weapons -- let's call it weapons -- then does that mean that I have the right to own weapons grade plutonium?
And why not?
It's a weapon.
Why don't I have the right to own that?
We're -- we're -- you know, where are you going to draw the line here with this?
MORGAN: Well, this is the point, isn't it. There is no line drawn. I mean when I asked this pro-gun guy --
MORGAN: -- last night, I asked him, who would need an assault rifle that could fire 100 bullets in a minute. He doesn't have any answer. There is no -- obviously, there is no answer. That's the point. Nobody needs one of those as a civilian. The military needs them and they have them.
But why are there not laws to stop disturbed young people who have no mental health record or no criminal record, so they avoid all the normal checks, the basic checks that are in many states, that they can just go in and buy this stuff?
Even more terrifyingly, what he did on the Internet.
MORGAN: Being able to buy 6,000 rounds of ammunition at very cheap cost, being able to buy full military standard body armor to stop himself being shot, and so on?
I mean there's got to be a mechanism that picks up these people, that when they get online in America and they try and buy this stuff, red flags go up. But there isn't. Someone could be doing it now, tomorrow, the next day, and nothing --
MORGAN: -- legally can stop them --
MORGAN: -- or even pick them up.
MOORE: That's right. There's nothing to stop the insane from arming themselves to the hilt. And -- and that -- that is going to have to change. I don't -- I -- I've -- but as Mayor Bloomberg said on your show last night, if the assassination of President Kennedy and of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and then of our -- the greatest rock star of all time, John Lennon, and -- and on and on, and now all the school shootings and everything else, Americans just don't seem to want to get behind doing something about this.
And I think it's because, again, you said there's 300 million guns in people's homes. Let me point out that statistic. Most of those guns are in white people's homes. Most of those guns are in the suburbs, not in the cities, all right?
This -- this never gets brought out in these facts that are -- are thrown out.
Now, why do people in suburbs, why do people who don't live in cities, why do you have a handgun in the house?
What is the point of that?
Because you're afraid that little freckle-faced Jimmy down the street is going to hurt you some day?
I don't think so.
So what's the real reason?
Who do you think is going to hurt you?
Who do you think is going to come into your house?
MORGAN: On this point, a clear example, to me, of the kind of thing you're talking about is the Trayvon Martin case, where George Zimmerman, if he hadn't been carrying a gun, indisputably Trayvon Martin would still be alive. It was the fact that he had a gun, whichever side of the argument you believe -- and we don't know all the facts and it may or may not come out in the court case.
But the bottom line is, if a gun hadn't physically been on George Zimmerman, then Trayvon Martin couldn't have been shot. George Zimmerman was perfectly legally entitled to carry this firearm around. That firearm led to Trayvon Martin being shot.
MOORE: Can I say something about that, about the Trayvon Martin thing?
Let me -- let me put it this way. Let's say George Zimmerman's right when he says that Trayvon Martin was trying to kill him, all right?
But it was George Zimmerman who was told by the police to quit stalking this boy. And -- and he was the one who was committing the infraction against the law by disobeying the police and going after Trayvon Martin.
Doesn't Trayvon Martin actually have the right to kill George Zimmerman if George Zimmerman is stalking him and -- and the police have told him not to stalk him?
MORGAN: There is an irony that it's George Zimmerman using Florida's "stand your ground" defense when, in fact, as you say, you could equally argue that Trayvon Martin may well have been doing the same thing. He might have been defending himself --
MOORE: Or --
MORGAN: -- against somebody --
MORGAN: -- who he saw was armed and was --
MOORE: Which he has the right to do.
MORGAN: -- following him in the darkness and didn't know what --
MORGAN: -- this guy was up to. I mean, you know, we don't know the facts --
MORGAN: -- it's important to say. But, you know, it is ironic --
MOORE: Yes, but it doesn't matter --
MORGAN: -- that you have a guy with a -- MOORE: -- because George Zimmerman --
MORGAN: -- gun --
MOORE: -- can't claim that as a defense.
MOORE: He was trying to kill me. Yes, he might have been trying to hurt you, because you were stalking him. You were breaking the law.
MORGAN: I've got a question for you, actually, which we have a -- a video question from Dr. Amador (ph), who came on last night, who's a schizophrenia expert. And he wanted to pose this to you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. XAVIER AMADOR, PSYCHOLOGIST: I'd really like to see you go after state commissioners of mental health and the private health care industry. Because what's happening is, in this case, I think we're going to find -- I can't tell for certain -- that this young man probably had serious mental illness. Certainly Jared Loughner and other people who have committed crimes just like this had serious mental illness that went untreated because we're not funding mental health care.
When mental health care cuts occur, violent crimes like this and mass shootings like this, occur.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean it's very hard to imagine that somebody of 24 years old what kind of background this kid had is not mentally ill, because why else would he be doing something like this?
Either he's just the epitome of pure evil or he is psychologically disturbed in some way, as was Jared Loughner and other killers involved in these massacres.
What do we do?
I mean do you agree with what the doctor said there?
Is it time that America just woke up and dealt properly with mental health generally?
MOORE: Absolutely. I mean we never discuss this when we're talking about universal health care and whatever. It rarely -- at least, I mean those who are the politicians never discuss it. It certainly isn't covered very much by private insurance.
This is -- this is a huge problem. It is covered in other places, where it's -- it's much less expensive in other countries to get this sort of help.
So, yes, on an individual level, we need to do this.
But on a mass level, on a mass level, as a culture, as an American society, we have to also correct our sort of collective mental problem, where we think violence is going to solve our problems or violence is going to make us safe; if we just build more weapons, we're going to be OK.
It -- it, um, you know, it doesn't -- it's just not going to work that way.
MORGAN: Let's take a final break, Michael.
I want to come back and try and get to some solutions, what you think could actually practically be done to deal with the gun issue in America right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: You don't need no gun control. You know what you need? We need some bullet control. We need -- we need to control the bullets. That's right, I think all bullets should cost 5,000 dollars, 5,000 dollars for a bullet. You know why? Because if a bullet cost 5,000 dollars, there'd be no more innocent bystanders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Chris Rock in Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine."
And Michael Moore is still with me.
And when you study what James Holmes, the Aurora shooter, bought on the Internet, 3,000 rounds of handgun ammunition, 3,000 rounds for an assault rifle, 350 shells for a .12 gauge shotgun, costing about $3,000, I mean there is a sensible point.
MOORE: Yes, that -- that wasn't only a very funny line, it's also a great idea. Yes, and the quick fix, Piers, is that we need laws passed right away. Well -- and that would be a great law.
But the president has to be the leader on this. You know, when he was standing there in front of the microphone in Aurora the other night, you know, he's such a great guy. I mean he's -- the -- the heart that he has, the things that he said were so powerful. And yet, when he brought his own children into it, when he said, you know, my two daughters go to the movies and what if it were them, well, I guess if President Obama is watching right now -- and I -- and I say this with all due respect -- what if it were them?
What if it were them last Thursday night?
Would you stand at the microphone the next day and say I feel your pain and, you know, we just -- we -- the -- the existing gun laws, that's what he said -- the existing laws are enough.
Is that really what you'd say, Mr. President?
I don't think so.
And -- and -- and you and I and everybody, we have to see these children, these young people who were killed on -- on Thursday night and Friday morning, we have to see them as our children. We, as Americans -- and this is really where the -- the larger collective problem has to be fixed -- we have to see that we're part of each other and we have to take care of each other.
Our mentality is, I've got mine, you get yours, and to hell with everybody else. Hell -- I -- at least I wasn't in that theater, you know.
I mean that is can't -- that -- we have to stop this. We have to stop this attitude toward each other and we have to realize that those were our children who are -- who were killed there this past weekend.
And -- and -- and if you treat it like that, man, I think if everybody honestly really felt that way, we would have some change in this country and these politicians would respond quickly, if people would just rise up and say, damn it, this is not the America I'm going to live in. This is too great of a country to let this happen again. I am not going to let this happen again.
And I am not going to come on another damn TV show, either, after the next one of these shootings, Piers, because I haven't done it for 10 years, I -- I -- I -- as -- to be nice to you, and you're a good guy and you made a good case to me to come on, but -- but that -- I'm -- I'm sick of this. I refuse it. I refuse to live in a country like this, as I said and before -- I'm not leaving.
So therefore, what am I going to do?
It's got to change. And I invite Americans who feel the same way as I do -- and I believe it's the majority -- to help me change this, help everyone change this.
MORGAN: Michael, powerful words.
This is the tenth anniversary, as I said, of the Academy Award winning "Bowling for Columbine." It's an extraordinary film. I watched it again this morning. It's as powerful as the rhetoric you just came out with.
Michael Moore's eighth annual Traverse City Film Festival is held on July the 31st to August 5th.
Michael, thank you very much.
MOORE: That's right. Rise up now.
MORGAN: Michael Moore.
And we'll be right back.
MORGAN: I'm flying to London tonight to cover the Olympics and to sit down with world leaders. Tomorrow, I'll talk with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the former president of Pakistan, President Musharraf. And on Thursday, Mitt Romney and his wife Ann. The candidate talks about his run for the White House and about his record with the Salt Lake City Olympics.
And on Monday, we kick off the London Olympics proper with an extraordinary interview, one of the great Olympians of all time, Michael Phelps. He talks candidly about is goals for the London games, his heroes, and how he felt when that infamous of photo of him and a bong surfaced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: When you knew that picture was coming out, how did you feel?
MICHAEL PHELPS, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: Not too good.
MORGAN: What is that feeling like?
PHELPS: Like the worst in the world, you know, like the lowest of the low.
MORGAN: I heard you say the worst thing was having to tell your mother.
I can relate to that. I can imagine there's no harder conversation. How did you get through? How did you brace yourself for that?
PHELPS: You know, I think my mom has always been obviously how all moms are. You know, they're very supportive and -- in their children. And -- and you know, my mom growing up, you know, always let us kind of see how we -- or I guess choose the decisions that we wanted to. But if we made those decisions, we had to live with the consequences that came our way.
So, you know, obviously she was very disappointed in the decision that I made, but, you know, obviously I learned from it. And I'll make a million mistakes in my life. But as long as I never make the same mistake again, then I've been able to learn and grow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Michael Phelps, a revealing and fascinating interview with America's greatest Olympian. That's on Monday. That's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper starts now. .