I was one of the thousand students who watched “Bowling for Columbine” in I.V. Theater and felt inclined to write a response to Jeff Farrah’s article on the film (Daily Nexus, “Documentary Assaults the Second Amendment,” Feb. 7). It’s interesting to me that he would see the film as an attempt to “engender” mass appeal for the gun control movement. What struck me most about “Bowling for Columbine” was the complete absence of the subject. Moore never once offers gun control as a solution to this nation’s violence problems, and I don’t think that was the intention of the film.
The film is meant to offer a point of view that many Americans may be unfamiliar with. It isn’t meant to be a balanced debate. Anyone familiar with Moore’s films knows that they shouldn’t be taken that way, and I don’t think Moore is pretending to offer one. Everything is produced with its own bias, something that all college students should already know. The film it isn’t meant to replace existing values, but to make people at least question them.
The article accuses Moore of using “tear-jerking” scenes to make his case. How do you tell the story of high school students killing each other without showing tear-jerking scenes? Should we avoid looking at these things because they’re unpleasant?
“Bowling for Columbine” isn’t without flaws. Moore does skew his views by giving gun death statistics as total numbers. But when you calculate the per capita gun death statistics of those nations with 40 to 50 million people, there are still no countries that come close to the United States. (In that same year, for example, Japan, a nation of 120 million people, had 69 gun deaths). Moore may be guilty of sensationalism, but it certainly doesn’t draw the logic of his point into question.
I also agree that Moore’s pestering of Heston was painful to watch (in his defense, the film was released before Heston announced that he had Alzheimer’s). But if you criticize Moore’s pressing Heston for answers, shouldn’t you also criticize the NRA for continuing to use a man whose brain is “scattered” as its spokesman?
The article lists NRA board member Wayne LaPierre as someone who could have gone “head-to-head” with Moore, the same Wayne LaPierre who recently compared founder of Americans for Gun Safety Andrew McKelvey to Osama bin Laden for trying to increase background check requirements at gun shows.
The article goes on to state that the film offers nothing but “easy answers.” Of all the accusations against “Bowling for Columbine,” I find this one the strangest. My greatest criticism of the film would be that it offers no real answers, let alone “easy” ones. What are they? It isn’t gun control. Moore, in his interview with Heston, agrees that the Second Amendment gives everyone a right to own a gun.
The real question is: Why do you need one? And don’t say “protection.” If someone in Isla Vista broke into your home, would you really shoot them? Would you really kill someone over a stereo?
Oh, but you’re not talking about people who live in I.V. You’re talking about people who live in more dangerous areas. Areas with more minorities, perhaps?
Because that, if anything, is the point of “Bowling for Columbine.” It’s hard to miss the seven-minute-long animation about the history of slavery in our country, let alone the racial overtones prevalent throughout the entire film, which makes it all the more interesting to me that race wasn’t mentioned at all in the College Republican’s criticism. When people are introduced to ideas they don’t understand they can do one of two things: They can learn about them, or they can fear them. This fear ultimately leads to violence.
Moore isn’t going to try and pry anything from your “cold, dead hands,” and neither am I. Gun advocates see force as a solution to their fears, and expect other people to think the same way. When I defend my position, it won’t be with force, and when I come to talk, my hands will be empty. What will you be holding?
Luke Chamberlin is a senior English major.