The sunrise signaled the start of a new day as many teens got ready for school. The hallways filled with the hundreds of students that attended school that day. It was like any other day; however, this was not the case as Columbine High School would end up being the site of a school shooting that would haunt the nation for years to come. Bowling for Columbine, is a documentary by Michael Moore covering the events that transpired at Columbine High School. After viewing Bowling for Columbine, I was shocked. Moore’s video examines a number of issues involving gun ownership.
What follows is a summary of the points made in the film, my thoughtful reactions, and the aftermath of Columbine. There were a number of issues covered in the documentary. There were many events that occurred before and after the shooting that could have led to the tragedy. As time progressed Americans embraced the right to bear arms and guns became more acceptable for the time being. Charlton Heston, President of the National Rifle Association was featured in the documentary several times. Chris Rock at the time blamed the amount of bullets in circulation and how inexpensive they were for gun violence.
Chris Rock stated that we should have more control over bullets, and that if bullets were $5000 each, then gun violence would be significantly reduced. Around this time all citizens had to own weapons in Virgin, Utah to protect them from harm. This was not the case in Colorado. Littleton, Colorado was the home of Columbine High School. The town of Littleton was the location of the school shooting that took place on April 20, 1999. Ironically, Littleton was also the home of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons manufacturer.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were the two behind the school shooting that took place on that day. There were 900 rounds of ammunition fired and resulted in the deaths of 12 students, and one teacher. The nation was in shock, many still could not believe what had just happened at Columbine High School. Charlton Heston would go on to hold a convention ten days after the Columbine shooting. A few days later the community would go on to hold an event where Mr. Mauser, a father of a victim in the shooting, spoke publicly stating that children shouldn’t be able to easily access weapons.
There were many changes that were made after what had happened at Columbine. Schools began to be more cautious with what was going on, and zero tolerance policies were established in many areas. Marilyn Manson, a rock musician often referred to as the “poster child” for fear was one of the people blamed for the shooting at Columbine. In an interview Moore asks him what he would say to the high school students, Marilyn Manson responds, “Nothing! I would listen that’s what nobody did. ” The reasons for school violence were mainly blamed on poverty, violent music and video games.
The documentary at this point compares the murder by gun rates from various countries, and the U. S. is at the top of the list. Around this time the media begins covering stories such as Y2K, killer bees, terrorism, and countless others. Media induced fear begins to spread in America. Coverage of murders by news outlets went up by 600%. Interestingly enough, there was a 20% decrease in murders at the time. On Feb. 29, 2000, Dedrick Owens would end up shooting Kayla Rolland, a classmate from school. They both attended Buell Elementary in Flint, Michigan.
Tamarla Owens, the mother of Dedrick Owens, worked at numerous jobs to make ends meet. About 87% of the people living in Flint lived below the poverty line. Michael Moore then talked to Richard Costaldo and Mark Taylor, survivors of Columbine. They came up with the idea of buying all the bullets in stock at a local K-Mart, and delivering it to K-Mart Headquarters in Troy, Michigan. Shortly after this encounter, K-Mart phased out handgun ammunition sales. Michael Moore would end the documentary with paying one last visit to Charlton Heston.
Moore questions Heston when he asks him his thoughts on the need for weapons. Moore shared the story of Kayla Rolland; Heston walked away refusing to answer any more questions. I will now be giving my thoughtful reaction reactions of the tragic events that transpired. There were many events throughout the documentary that triggered a reaction out of me by the time the film ended. I found it interesting that banks at one point were giving people guns for opening an account. There was a story about a barber who not only cut hair, but was selling ammunition.
This can go on to show how guns were not as scary to people as they are now. I would have to go on and agree with what Chris Rock said in the documentary. It seems reasonable for bullets to be more expensive thus making it harder for people to get their hands on them. In the documentary there were many people who were interviewed and gave their opinions on the matter. I did not expect Marilyn Manson to say what he said, and it reinstated my belief of not judging a book by its cover. A school shooting is never a good thing and is a serious matter.
Getting peoples thoughts on the issues we Americans face by Canadian citizens was interesting to see. One of the things that shocked me the most is how Canadians don’t lock their doors at home. Growing up I was always, and still am accustomed to locking the doors at home. It wasn’t because of the concern of the neighborhood, but mostly just an extra measure to feel safe and the just in case scenario. The shooting that took place shocked the nation and the changes that were made are proof of that. The Columbine shooting had an immediate impact on the nation, and there were many changes made since.
Schools however were not the only area that saw repercussions of the tragic events that occurred: The 1999 Columbine school shooting incident in Colorado gained far more media attention across a broader range of issues than any school violence episode before or since. One might expect that Columbine would have had an influence on public opinion, public policy, and scholarship commensurate with the attention it gained. We find that the event did contribute in a limited but interesting way to scholarship on media framing. But the effect of Columbine on public opinion and the nature and substance of public policy was limited.
Attention to school shootings peaked with Columbine, and the attention surrounding that event mostly spurred more rapid implementation of existing policies and tools that were already available to schools (Birkland). We would go on to see significant changes from here on out. An article from CNN. com stated, "It wasn't the first school shooting, but it became the extreme case," said Robert Thompson, founding director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. "The word 'Columbine' became a word that represented something much, much larger than that particular high school” (Respers).
Columbine was not the first school shooting in history, but it unfortunately became synonymous with the worst school shooting in history. “The massacre of students and a teacher within the seemingly safe hallways of Columbine High School reverberated so strongly that its reflection can be found in the creations of multiple artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers over the past decade” (Respers). The film is a great example of this and it informed those unaware of the events at Columbine High School. In conclusion, Bowling for Columbine showed off the tragic events that transpired at Columbine High School.
The documentary was heavily focused on the topic of gun violence, but it did inform people of something they may have been unaware of. After watching the movie I have gained a better understanding of what happened years ago and the aftermath of Columbine. There were many new things I learned from the footage and it was shocking to see how much chaos can caused if a gun gets in the wrong hands. Looking back at the summary of the events, my thoughtful reactions, and the aftermath of the shooting, I can conclude that most of all shootings can be prevented and that seeing the effects has made me further value the loved ones in my life.