Out of the Blue

Here's an unpleasant anniversary I ran across while doing a bit of poking around in the archive: Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of the school shootings in Columbine High School, which took place on April 20, 1999. :(

Stories of the Day: Who needs proof? Thanks Mike Martinez.
Why TiVo Owners Can't Shut Up (NY Times free registration required).
Wild Science: Ancient village found under Illinois soil. Thanks Mike Martinez.
Media of the Day: DJ Format. Thanks Mike.
Auction of the Day: John Carmack's Ferrari Testarossa. Thanks Jeff Wilson.
Follow-up: Tattoo of Trogdor. Thanks Gojo. A tribute to TROGDOR!!!
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Re: [bowling for] columbine
Apr 21, 2003, 18:31
31.
Re: [bowling for] columbine Apr 21, 2003, 18:31
Apr 21, 2003, 18:31
 
Four years ago...wow; doesn't seem like it. I remember sitting on a plane and reading the story in the newspaper. Five pages of a broadsheet it took up, with grainy NTSC photographs, scan lines and all. I also remember that three column inches were devoted to a report of what happened: that two teenagers dressed in trencoats opened fire on their classmates, killing 12 students and one teacher. I remember the rest of the pages were taken up with a whole load of blame - blame the music, blame the computer games, blame their politics, blame their upbrining, blame the NRA, blame gun laws, blame Clinton.... I don't rightly recall if anyone blamed Harris and Klebold, but i`m sure they were mentioned...I know that I was blamed, in some part, when i touched down in my destination and suffered a 30 minute delay in customs because i was wearing a leather trench coat. Or when i was refused service in a nearby store - and when i was called a nazi by serveral complete strangers. I remember sitting in my hotel drafting a letter to the newspaper I had read on the plane after reading a strength of feeling on the internet that all of these targets of blame were bad. These blame targets were wrong.

I understood, in Bowling for Columbine, the point of blaming bowling. I applaud Michael Moore for what he does, especially in this current climate where to question how things are done is to be a traitor. To debate what is, and what is not a documentary is to miss the point I think. The persuit of truth in any time is a fool's errand, where bias and mediation take the place of factual reporting. Editing footage is so comonplace we forget it happens a lot of the time. Did Charlton Heston say these things? Yes, he did. Were the audience, and to some extent, Mr Heston himself, mislead by Moore? Yes, they were. But then, was the audience mislead four years ago when the shooting took places? I'd say yes, we were.

I believe that most of the anti michael moore feeling at present has more to do with his stance on the war with Iraq, than his Bowling for Columbine release. It bothers me that a country which prides itself on freedoms and rights is so hell-bent at the moment at eroding those freedoms to replace them with patriotism. To the outside, the USA looks like an insecure country that can't take any criticism. I'm not sure this is true, but reading some stuff on the internet recently, its hard to refute. I've been told that I should "go to iraq and be a human sheild for saddam," simply by expressing my opinions. Anyway, I'm getting off the point.

The question I remember asking myself four years ago was this: if they hadn't have had easy access to firearms, would this tragedy have happened? I don't know the answer. Gun's don't kill people, people do. But I think the gun helps.

In my country, the last school shooting was less than 100 miles away from me at Dunblane primary school, where 15 kids and their teacher, were all gunned down during gym class. This happened in 1996, and brought in new laws making it illegal to buy or possess a handgun. Nothing like it has happened since. I can only hope nothing like it ever happens again.

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