lockheed martin, littleton, co
southpark creators were from littleton "painfully ordinary & average"
killers came from a place in michigan where guns are plentiful
rampant fear in america
music builds under narator's voice, music climaxes to silence-
narator: "but one thing that will never go away and there's always plenty of: white america's fear of the black male"
southpark type cartoon started with the pilgrims fleeing england in fear. they get here and in fear they kill all the indians (savages). then when all the indians are gone they have a fear of witches so they killed them (started killing themselves basically). then they had a fear of work (lol) and imported african slaves (blacks). then in some places the black slaves heavily outnumbered the whites and about that time the revolver was developed (a gun that could rapid fire). then laws were passed that it was the right of every white man to bear arms. there was other stuff that lead to the whites moving in fear to the suburbs with houses with many locks and news coverage promoting fear that went into the inner city to show violent blacks.
showed news clips of how the media markets fear. how a dozen news crews show up in the hood for an inner city black crime story for the news
and how canadians dont lock their doors
showed a guy from the aerospace military industry lockheed martin explaining his reasoning for the columbine shootings with a huge missile in the background.
the heaviest u.s. bombing in the korsovo war was done 1 hour before the columbine shootings. president bill clinton was involved in the war in korsovo.
marilyn manson was interviewed and he was good, articulate. explaining his thoughts and defending how he was incorrectly blamed for the shootings cause of his lyrics and music.
movie showed the connections between columbine, the 9-11 attacks, cia, slavery, etc
also showed how the u.s. military and cia did covert operations in multiple
countries supporting and funding war. that we helped sadamm hussein. that we
gave osama bin laden $3 billion. the cia involvement with noriega, vietnam, etc
was also shown.
showed blacks being arrested in cops, talked to one of the creators of cops about how they overwhelmingly show minorities
interviewd charleton heston at his house. i thought heston said "the right of every able bodied white man to bear arms." he then went on to say when asked that the reasin the murder rate was so high was because of the multiple ethnicity. and the fact that there are different races.
widespread issue of the news media spreading fear.
other countries dont have the high murder rate like u.s.
they have the violent past and other things. u.s. 11,000 murders, canada less than 100, germany and other countries also
the nra and the kkk started in the same year
Gunning for the land of the free
TV documentary about the US love of firearms makes history
Stuart Jeffries in Cannes
Friday May 17, 2002
The United States was lampooned yesterday for being not so much the land of the free and the home of the brave but a fearful and gun-crazy nation obsessed with violence, in a powerful film that premiered at Cannes last night.
Bowling for Columbine by the American film-maker Michael Moore, best known in Britain for his satirical series TV Nation and The Awful Truth, is the first documentary to be entered in competition at Cannes for 46 years. Its moving and occasionally funny analysis of gun violence in the US was greeted warmly by critics yesterday.
It is a topical and, for Cannes, explicitly radical political film linking what Moore calls the "paranoid mentality" of Americans who love guns to the violent nature of postwar US foreign policy.
Moore, 48, said that the question he set out to ask was "Are we a nation of gun nuts or just nuts?"
At the start of the picture, he opens a bank account and receives a free gun. He discloses that the bullets used to kill 12 students and a teacher at the Columbine high school in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999 were bought for 17 cents each from a Wal-Mart supermarket and encourages two teenage boys who still have bullets lodged in their spines after the Columbine attack to return bullets to the chain. After meeting them, Wal-Mart announced it would no longer sell such guns and bullets.
A member of an armed militia in his home state, Michigan, tells Moore: "It's an American responsibility to be armed." But the denouement comes when Moore confronts the vice president of the National Rifle Association, Hollywood star Charlton Heston, over his defence of the second amendment to the US constitution that allows Americans to bear arms. He attacks Heston for taking part in NRA rallies backing gun ownership near schools in Columbine and Flint, Michigan, where children had also recently been shot dead.
Why, he asks, do so many Americans kill each other with guns and why do so many of them feel they need to be armed? "We have a history of violence," replies Heston, "perhaps more than most other countries." When Moore retorts that Germany and Britain have violent histories, too, but currently a relatively tiny number of gun-related killings, Heston walks out.
Bowling for Columbine was a personal journey for Moore; he had been a marksmanship champion as a teenager and is a lifelong member of the NRA.
In the spring of 1999 he had been working on an episode for his Channel 4 TV series The Awful Truth, featuring a segment called Teen Sniper School in which a weapons instructor taught two year olds how to fire guns. Days later, the shootings took place at Columbine and Moore decided to make a documentary.
"I think bowling for Columbine is the most provocative thing in terms of film that I've ever made," said Moore yesterday.
It is hard not to agree, especially as the film expands from being an analysis of US gun culture to a revisionist history of the United States, suggesting the country was born in fear of outsiders and that that fear continues to influence US foreign policy.
"The very first sentence you learn about US history as a child is 'The Pilgrims came to America because they were afraid of being persecuted'. Then what happened? They encounter the Indians and are afraid of them, so they kill them; then they start becoming afraid of each other and start seeing witches and burn them; then they win the revolution, but they're afraid the British are going to come back. So someone writes the second amendment that says 'Let's keep our guns because the Brits could come back'.
"The genesis of fear in America came from having a slave population that in just 86 years from the time of the revolutionary war in 1775 to the civil war in 1861 grew from 700,000 to 4 million. In parts of the rural south, blacks outnumbered whites by a three to one margin and there were a lot of of slave rebellions. So in 1836 Samuel Colt invented the six-shooter..."
In the film this history is told by means of a South Park-style cartoon made by the animator Harold Moss to Moore's script. It culminates with the National Rifle Association being established to sell guns to whites only. "Ultimately this film isn't about Columbine or even about guns. It's about our culture of fear and how that fear leads us to acts of violence, domestically and internationally."
by David Sterritt and Mikita Brottman
[Editor's Note: indieWIRE originally published this review in May 2002 as part of our Cannes coverage. The film is currently screening in Toronto.]
"Bowling for Columbine" explores more profound problems than "Roger & Me," the 1989 documentary that put Michael Moore on the filmmaking map. The question he tackled there -- why would a fat-cat corporation ruin a city with shutdowns and layoffs? -- had an easy answer: greed. This time he takes on America's penchant for violence and guns, a wide-ranging issue that eludes the clear explanation he'd like to find.
Moore bases "Bowling for Columbine" on a series of paradoxes. Firearms and mayhem are ingrained parts of the American scene, often traced to a legacy of violence predating the Revolutionary War, and to a love affair with weapons going back just as far. Yet countries like Germany and Britain have equally violent histories, and Canada couples a low murder rate with gun-ownership figures similar to those of the United States.
In his effort to discover why America dotes so much on guns, Moore talks to all sorts of weapon-toting patriots, from camouflage-clad members of the Michigan Militia to a brother of Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols and a napalm-happy suburbanite who tests homemade bomb recipes from "The Anarchist's Cookbook."
Moore also spends time in Littleton, Colo., where he persuades survivors of the Columbine high-school shooting to confront representatives from Kmart, which sold the bullets still embedded in their bodies. Farther north, he chats with Canadians about their country's low level of violence and barges into people's houses through the front doors they cheerfully leave unlocked.
Moore hasn't lost his knack for digging out oddballs from the sticks, with special interest in poker-faced PR people and small-time authority figures who don't know how to parry his sardonic questions -- like a state trooper who soberly considers whether a rifle-carrying canine might be culpable in an accidental shooting.
Such mordant vox-pop footage is juxtaposed with more sobering montage sequences, including tapes from security cameras in the Columbine cafeteria and news coverage of American military interventions over the past 50 years. In case you didn't notice, the most savage U.S. bombing in Kosovo took place the same day as the Columbine massacre.
The film's strongest argument is that most American violence is either legally sanctioned -- police actions, military operations, and the like -- or committed by citizens saturated with media-generated paranoia. Exhibit A is the hugely popular cable show "Cops," followed by nightly news programs with their "if it bleeds it leads" mentality, often permeated with a barely disguised racist subtext.
Moore uses a mosaic of TV news headlines to demonstrate media obsession with disasters du jour, from gang warfare to "Africanized" killer bees -- despite the fact that most of urban America is safe and even dull, as he shows by taking an uneventful stroll through much-maligned South Central Los Angeles. The real causes of crime, according to "Bowling for Columbine," are rarely dramatic and seldom newsworthy: social inequities, cultural anxieties, and welfare policies that force poor single mothers into minimum-wage jobs that separate them from their kids.
These are a far cry from out-of-control gangs, kill-crazy video games, and other scapegoats lurking "out there" in the mythical boiler-room of American culture. In one of the film's most striking scenes, goth rocker and veteran scapegoat Marilyn Manson argues that fear is a major fuel for modern capitalism, as people frantically consume to allay the anxiety fostered by media rumor-panics and other scare-mongering propaganda.
"Bowling for Columbine" would be more powerful if such insightful moments were delivered with fewer digressions, and if some of its arguments didn't seem so sketchy. American history is far too recent and idiosyncratic to be compared with that of England or Germany, for instance, let alone reduced to the oversimplifications of a "South Park"-style history lesson Moore injects into the movie. He doesn't ask why American news is driven so constantly by urban violence, or why shows like "Cops" draw such enormous audiences.
"Bowling for Columbine" also contains too much of Moore himself, morphing from indefatigable populist to grandstanding scenery-chewer as he commiserates with sobbing schoolteachers, waves around pictures of murdered children, and congratulates himself for getting Kmart to stop selling bullets. He pushes the envelope in the final sequence, where he tracks down National Rifle Association honcho Charlton Heston in his Beverly Hills home and badgers the bewildered star until he throws up his hands and totters out of the room.
It's a quintessential Moore moment: The mighty Moses of the NRA turns
out to be a courteous old fool who can hardly comprehend the accusations
thrown at him, much less answer them. But it's also a reminder that
Moore didn't become a culture hero -- or a movie star -- by being Mr.
Nice Guy, and that this friend of the common man can still pack a nasty
punch when the time is right and the camera is pointed his way.