BOWLING FOR CHANGE THE quandary of gun Violence

2002 was a rather uncomfortable time for Americans. For perhaps the first time since Pearl Harbor, both the national and international atmospheres had been marked with a certain angst -- the likes of which made even the most avid political squires approach newspapers with caution. Having survived the initial shock of 9/11, the American culture turned to the sort of escapism characteristic of large, turmoil ridden societies. Excess spending, the development of counter-cultures, as well as a strident indulgence in pop-culture mediums. In times like these, the movie theaters are one of the last bastions of comfort for the populace, and the last thing they want is to have it invaded by the convolution of politics. Then came Bowling For Columbine -- Michael Moors's deliberately provocative dive into one of the most triggering national tragedies of the time: the Columbine Highschool shootings.

Incendiary is certainly the word... the documentary played graphic clips of war, violence, 9/ll and the tragedy itself. It directly confronted the reality and tried to make sense of it all with a simple question: Why is it that America experiences more violence on average?

Bowling for Columbine grossed a total of $21,576,018

However essentially explorative the documentary might of been, it was certainly not devoid of opinion. It was filled with stridently liberal undertones, purporting that the main difference between America and it's fellow first world countries, was in the extent to which the American talked about crime. It was very clearly suggested that the primary motive of gun owners was tribal and nationalistic, a culture where people were made to be more scared of 'the other' than they really had to be, corporations and politicians being the main beneficiary of the interaction. Moore didn't digress when it came to confronting opposition. He had no problem interviewing some of the more strident conservatives, from the man was accused of providing the Oklahoma bomber with some of his equipment, as well as the former president of the NRA Charlton Heston.

Do to the movie's indecisive nature, we're left with a number of questions and possibilities. First, what is it that we mean when we say 'violence'? The vast majority of the violence that America experiences occurs in poor inter-cities, and it's common knowledge that poverty has a very distinct correlation to crime. The movie, nevertheless seems to focus the massive school shootings which are usually motivated by normal emotional stressors, rather than gang culture. Is it necessarily true that the patriotic, individualist culture is the blame for things like Columbine and the Oklahoma city bombings? While that may be true for those circumstances, modern mass shootings have been perpetrated by the mentally ill, or by foreign people who weren't brought up in the American culture. Is the media making Americans unnecessarily scared of forces that aren't there? Well, even though the overall percentage of crime has gone down, the number of violent crimes, especially those explicit ones perpetrated in our inter-cities, has gone up, and might inspire more news coverage.

Movies like Bowling For Columbine are very useful when it comes to opening discussion to a topic that is so easily approached from a simple perspective.

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