Nation under fire: Columbine Revisited

    Why are we a nation not of the people, but by the guns and for the guns? In his latest documentary, “”Bowling for Columbine,”” provocateur filmmaker Michael Moore explores the fascination Americans have with firearms. Moore, a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association, brings up many facets of why the United States had a higher firearm homicide rate than other industrialized nations. What he exposes is a mixed, ambiguous, underlying public issue that is often disturbing, comical and poignant.

    Moore is known for his brash, “”hostage takeover””-style of interviewing, and this documentary is no exception. Interviewing various militia members, Moore manages to expose an awkward obsession toward guns in the United States. As a militia member in the film said, “”If you’re not armed, you’re not responsible.””

    Credit Moore for not making the entire film a one-sided attack in favor of gun control. He cites statistics demonstrating that Canada has lots of guns, but why are their crime statistics so low? Could it be fear within American society? Could it be mixed diversity? Moore doesn’t answer those questions, but evokes a complicated discussion.

    Moore shows his brash willingness to confront institutions by bringing two survivors of the Columbine shootings to K-Mart headquarters to stop the discount chain from selling bullets. (The shooters at Columbine purchased bullets from K-Mart for less than 25 cents apiece.) Moore makes a remarkable statement about the power of media and activism by making K-Mart alter its policy on selling bullets.

    But Moore isn’t done muckraking yet. The film concludes with an interview with actor Charlton Heston, the president of the NRA. Moore ambushes Heston during the interview, and it is shocking to see what Heston admits during the conversation. Confronted with gut-hitting questions, Heston sidetracks the issue and seems completely out of touch with the realities of American life.

    Moore brings up many angles at which the topic of guns can be discussed and questioned, but surprisingly, he doesn’t provide any answer to them. Instead, he makes us think about why we are a nation so obsessed with firearms. By doing so, maybe we can get one step closer toward a safer nation.

    Bowling For Columbine

    ****

    Staring , narrarated and dicredted by Michael More

    In select theaters Oct. 25

    Rated R

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