Bowling for Columbine

I know I’m only a year late, here, but I just recently saw Bowling for Columbine for the first time, about a week ago.

It completely and utterly defied my expectations.

Disclaimer #1: Yes, I’m aware of the many factual errors, exaggerations, and sheer propaganda in this film

Disclamer #2: I am not pro-gun control.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed this film.

My expectations going into the movie were of a pro-gun control propaganda piece. This is the impression I have gotten from many (usually conservative, particularly libertarian, and almost always pro-gun control) people that have skewered this movie as “pure fiction”. I wonder if these people watched the same movie I did.

In my ever so humble opinion, Michael Moore’s entire point in making this film was specifically that gun control was not the answer. The real question that Michael Moore asks is not “why don’t we ban guns?” It is “what are we so afraid of?” This is why he focuses on Canada, which has comparable amounts of guns, and yet, has much less a problem with gun murders.

The movie in many ways parallels the work of Barry Glassner in “Culture of Fear”. In fact, he interviews him in the movie. “Culture of Fear” addresses the fear that grips our nation. The media-fueled frenzy that introduces a new fear du jour: west nile, SARS, african bees, Y2K, crime, and yes, terrorism. Fearmongering is a useful tool of manipulation that can yield tidy profits – just ask the duct tape industry. Just ask Dick Cheney.

Michael Moore is a world class provocateur. He’s obnoxious, he’s funny, and he exaggerates. His movie is a masterfully (and sometimes deviously) crafted piece of propaganda. However, that doesn’t mean he’s wrong. He doesn’t want to take away your constitutional rights. Michael Moore wants us to address the real source of our problems instead of the fear du jour. He wants us to stop being afraid, and to stop killing eachother, and this movie is a first step to addressing this problem.

This movie has a message that everyone should pay heed to, whether or not you are pro-gun control.