Bowling For Columbine: The Gun Control Debate

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Over the centuries, technological advancements have seen the dawn of various forms of media, all of which have had a profound impact on human society. None, however, have been more impactful than the television, which has been a great tool for the powerful in suppressing and controlling the weak. In Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore explores the cause of the 1999 Columbine school shooting in the U. S, which shook the country to its core ("Bowling for Columbine (2002) | Watchdocumentaries.Com", 1). In its wake, the Columbine shooting sparked a heated debate among pro and anti-gun persons and groups in the U.S, with the latter holding street protests advocating for increased gun control. In response to this, the NRA, undoubtedly the country’s leading gun advocate, also held a rally in Columbine to reiterate the importance of having guns not only in exercising their 2nd amendment right but also as a move to defend themselves to defend against aggressors. Consequently, this begs the question, who are these aggressors, and who informs the public on the identity of said aggressors.

Following the shooting, local TV media was frenzied with various theories concerning what could have driven Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to commit such a heinous act. While the media is central to the issue of gun violence, I do not think it true that forms of media such as movies, music or video games are the main cause of gun violence. In fact, as Moore posits, these are merely the scapegoats for the true villain of the tragic American narrative. The rich and wealthy in America, have for centuries used slavery and the persecution of minorities to springboard themselves to greater power and success. With television gaining so much popularity in the 20th

century, it became necessary to maintain control over the American populous. To do this, right-wing entities, such as the NRA, have used their local TV influence to deploy misinformation and ethnically fueled propaganda to ensure that the American public lives in a constant state of fear. By constantly barraging the U. S population with violent images of arrests of African Americans, coupled with inflammatory reporting techniques, pro-gun corporations feed off the terror in the American community ("Bowling for Columbine (2002) | Watchdocumentaries.Com", 1). A scared community is one which is bound to consume more firearms, which in turn leads to more incidence of gun violence.

The core ethical issue with regard to the Columbine shooting is the responsibility of the media to its public. While the accessibility of guns to Eric and Dylan is certainly an issue of concern, the main reason for their actions was that they had lived their entire lives consuming media that exalts the use of violence to resolve any type of conflict. What makes America different from the other developed nations regarding the issue of gun control, is that U.S local news media opts to highlight instances of gun violence, while aggressively perpetuating the stereotype of the black male offender as the primary cause of insecurity in America. Michael Moore’s comparison between the Canadian media system and that of America proves that his theory holds some merit. Local TV stations, which have the broadest reach of any media form in the U. S, constantly shows aggressive persecution of black America by the police, and promote the acquisition of guns, and their use as tools for conflict resolution ("Bowling for Columbine (2002) | Watchdocumentaries.Com", 1). In this regard, it is necessary for the American people to rethink their media and censor out content that is geared toward the division of the various ethnic groups in the nation, and shun any notion that having guns, and using them to address issues, as a rational means of co-existing.

Works Cited

"Bowling for Columbine (2002) | Watchdocumentaries.Com". Watchdocumentaries.Com, 2018,

Accessed 16 Apr 2018.

September 25, 2023




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Film Analysis Movie Review

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