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Bowling for Columbine is a documentary authored, directed and narrated by Michael Moore in 2002. The movie attempts to explain the underlying factors of Americans obsession with guns. It draws the inferences from American history, movies, media and video games as some of the factors. The documentary derives its title from the game of bowling and Columbine High School located in Littleton, Colorado. In 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Kleboid killed several fellow students in the school after coming from a bowling alley near the school. Moore later refers to the same alley when struck with violence two years later. The documentary also indicates other gun violence episodes such as that of six year old victim fell by a teenager with a gun from his uncle’s (Bowling for Columbine).
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In the documentary, Moore visits Kmart stores in the company of two Columbine High School survivors to champion against sale of bullets for handguns. Moore further argues that the American media is responsible for instilling a culture of fear and insecurity in America. The history of U.S aggression on other countries is brought to light including the impact of a large launcher manufacturing plant on violence. However, interviewee McCollum finds no correlation in an attempt to protect Americans from harming themselves. The presence of President Charlton Heston of National Rifle Association in a pro-gun rally some days after the columbine killings is questioned. Furthermore, when statistics of gun violence are compared with that other countries, the U.S has higher figures (Bowling for Columbine).
An ongoing debate on security rages between the availability of firearms and the incentive to put the guns in use. The paper aims to find out factors that influence gun use. Thus, it seeks to describe the link between fear and gun violence and murder in America. It agrees with Moore that a culture of fear has been instilled in Americans making theminsecure. The focus is created on worrying about wrong things.
According to Bernstein (90), the fear leading to obsession for guns has been influenced by government and media. Furthermore, Cukier (129) identifies media, film and video games as having some effects on the psychology and behavior of people. The extracts in the entertainment industry show a domination of firearms, guns and masculinity. The result is stereotyping of teenagers since actors from the movies come out as heroes owing to their prowess in a gun battle. After the columbine massacre, Charlton Heston argued that Americans were more influenced by video games rather than availability of guns. This particular school of thought finds no purpose for gun control. The media has the ability of promoting iconic role models that influenced the culture of violence in the society. The media is used to create fear that the ruling political class can exploit. Furthermore, it makes the notion that republicans are more obsessed to violence and guns than democrats (Bernstein 89). Film and video games develop fear towards winning and worry against losing.
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As Moore points out through an interview in Bowling for Columbine, the advert on Colgate instills fears of rejection for not brushing, a phenomenon widespread in commercials. Nonetheless, some commercials provide solace out of rejection. Gun advertisements paint the image of achieving absolute power beyond anything hence supremacy (Cukier 130). Thus, Americans face a sense of pessimism always being skeptical about things around them. For instance, the documentary mentions a law in Utah that requires all residents to own guns. In this case, the fear is not having an arsenal like the rest and an event of missing one.
American history has built fear and worries among the citizenry. A violent culture exists between Americans population and with other foreigners as well. In the documentary, millitary actions and aggressions by the U.S. in other foreign nations is outlined including irregular ceding of power in Iran and Guatemala. In fact, the training of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of 9/11 U.S bombing, still lingers in the minds of Americans. Another issue of concern has been the U.S’ support for Taliban in 1990s. The former and later formed a major terror group that haunts U.S to date. The impact of the past such as racial discrimination is a manifestation of the murder of a white six year old by black teenager. The boy focused on the mistreatment his mother faced as designed by the welfare law (Bernstein 89). Histories bring fear from social inequalities, exploitation and mistrust in generations involved in oppressions.
Critics of the documentary argue that Moore lost objectivity in making this documentary. According to Bernstein (92), key statistics at the time of producing the documentary point out racial and gender factors in gun violence. Also, he notes that 90% of the firearm cases involved males. At the same time, Moore ignored the fact that more blacks and Latinos were victims. Furthermore, it is alleged that Moore distorted the message in the documentary through editing and deliberately variations of violence numbers in U.S. Despite this, it is evident that America has a gun culture promoted by easy access.
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In conclusion, pessimism is not a cause for possessing firearms. There are various complex systems for gun ownership and use. The need to regulate gun rights is still due in America even after the columbine massacre. However, based on human analogy, the reflex action to protection in modern times warrants firearm use. On the hand, a sense of protection need to definite and explain from which source it is. From the above killings portrayed by Moore, it can be deduced that the perpetrators failed in self control. They had been negatively impacted by the surrounding and no real threat.
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