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Bowling For Columbine

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Bowling for columbine looks at what director, Michael Moore, suggest are the causes for the Columbine High School and other acts of violence with guns. More looks at the background and environment were the massacre took place. He also has some public opinions and assumptions about the issue on guns violence. The film looks into the history of violence in the United States. It focuses on guns as a symbol of both American freedom and its self destruction.

In the film Moore has discussion with many different kinds of people; these people include the president of National Rifle Association Charlton Heston, rock star Marilyn Manson, and one of the creators of South Park. He tries find an explanation for why the massacre took place and why the United States has a higher number of Violent crimes with gun violence. He also says that the violent crimes in the United States are higher than many other nations.

The Columbine Massacre

On Tuesday April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School in Jefferson County two students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris started a shooting rampage, killing 12 students and a teacher, and wounding 23 others, before they committed suicide.

The two boys arrived at school at 11:00 am in separate cars. Minutes before arriving at Columbine, Harris and Klebold had set up a small fire bomb in the field half a mile away from the school. The bombs exploded at 11:14 a.m. and caused a small fire that was extinguished by the fire department. The two met near Harris’ car and armed two 20 pounds of propane bombs before arriving at the cafeteria. The two intended to open fire on students fleeing the school through the main entrance from the bombs being detonated. When the bombs failed to detonate the pair met near Harris’s car and armed themselves with their weapons. At 11.19 am Harris and Klebold pulled out their shotguns and shot at Rachell Scott and Richard Castaldo. Scott was shot 4 times and killed install; Castaldo was hit 8 times and was in critical condition. Harris than removed his trench coat and took out is semi-automatic cabine. He wounded Sean Graves, Lance Kirklin, and Daniel Rohrbough, who were coming up the staircase were the shooter was aiming. They all feel wounded. They than shot at Michael Johnson and Mark Taylor. Johnson was injured but was able to flee. Taylor fell to the ground and played dead. The boys than shot and killed the already wounded Sean Greaves and Lance Kirklin. They than started throwing pipe bombs, wounding teacher Patti Nielson and student Brian Anderson. They than shot and killed Dave Sanders who was the only teacher killed in the massacre. The two than entered the school library, shot and killed 21 students. About 20 minutes later the boys took the guns out on themselves and committed suicide at the library.


In the beginning of the film Moore discovers that there is a bank in Michigan that would give customers a free hunting rifle when they made a deposit into a time deposit account. Moore makes a deposit, fills out the forms, and waits for his result. He is approved and comes out the banks with a brand new gun. The bank also tells Moore that the bank was also a licensed gun dealer. This makes one realize how easy it is to get a gun. You can get a gun everywhere, even at a bank.


Later in the film Moore visits the training ground for the Michigan Militia. The Michigan militia was the organization of two men who blew up a federal building in Oklahoma and killed 100 people. Moore gets the views members of Michigan militia on gun ownership. One of members says “This is an American tradition; it’s an American responsibility to be armed. If you’re not armed, your not responsible. Who is going to defend your kids, the cops?” This statement gives the assumption that if you do not have a gun than you’re not an American. Members of the militia were also just normal people with blue and white collar jobs. Moore also interviews Kristin Stoner, the only female member of the militia, on her views of self-defense.

Interview with Matt Stone

Later in the film Moore interviews Matt Stone, creator of South Park, who grew up in Littleton. Stone states “the teachers and counselor scare the students into conforming and doing good in school by saying If you’re a loser now, your going to be a loser forever”. He is saying that teachers in high school tell kids that they must achieve and do well in school or they will never end up to be anything and if they are doing bad in high school they are going to be bad in everything else. This might be true because one can think back and remember what counselors and teachers kept telling students when they get a bad grade.


The Film focuses on children charged for crimes in school. One of the children pointed a chicken finger at a teacher and said”Pow Pow” and was suspended. Another student was suspended for pointing a paper gun at fellow students and saying “I’m going to kill you” in a kids game of cops and robbers. These incidents show how America is overreacting to children and guns. Americans are so paranoid that they believe that every kid even mentioning gun is out to kill someone.


During the film an assortment of possible causes for gun violence are stated by television people. Many people claim its violence in television, movies and video games. During the end of the claims everyone



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