Bowling–for Michael Moore, and maybe Columbine

I know that in the blogging world, and writing/journalism world in general, writers are supposed to remain as “objective” as possible. It’s one of the first etiquettes taught in any journalism course taken, whether that is as early as high school or as late as undergrad or even graduate in college. But, for a moment, I am going to disregard that rule and go ahead and state my opinion without hopefully offending anyone in the process. Remember, you are just as entitled to disagree as I am to write this. So here is my “slightly non-objective” attempt of an opinion.

This weekend, during a bored few hours on a rainy afternoon, I decided to check out what was new on Hulu.com. I came across the newly added documentary, “Bowling for Columbine.”

Pause for reaction.

I’ve always hated Michael Moore and everything he had to say. You could find me in stores flipping over the covers of his DVDs, hiding his posters, and throwing his movies into the bottom of the $5 bin at Wal-Mart. Basically, I didn’t want myself or anyone else to see or hear any of his antics. Then I realized–how can I have such an opinion that causes such rash actions on something I really am, frankly, ignorant about? I am truly tired of being ignorant and closed-off to things that maybe I don’t agree with entirely. Yes, I’ve heard Michael Moore hates America. Yes, I’ve heard that Fahrenheit 9/11 is devastating for Republicans or even anyone who supports Bush to watch. But how could I form a legitimate opinion with having absolutely no legs to stand on?

So, I watched Bowling for Columbine.

Pause for reaction.

I was actually surprised at how much I didn’t hate it. And, within the first half of the movie, I actually learned a few new facts that I never knew before. Like how many people are murdered by guns each year in Canada, Germany, the UK, etc., and the US. (The point being the US was the highest) Or the shooting between one six year old to another in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. Or the interview with Marilyn Manson regarding his feelings on being “partially blamed” for the actions of Dylan and Eric during the massacre at Columbine. And of course, video footage and the actual 911 calls placed from Columbine on that terrible day.  (Not something I wanted to learn, but background knowledge was learned)

Of course documentaries claim to be “presenting both sides of the story” but as we all know, they usually are slanted one way or the other. Michael Moore is probably the most famous for this. (Hence why I never watched or bothered to look at any of his stuff, which I’m thinking is probably unfair) His slant in this one, to me, is that so much violence with guns comes from the history of America from the start (as explained in his cartoon history of this country in the middle of the movie). Essentially, too, I felt like he was portraying was that kids result to violence when raised in a “lower class” upbringing, perhaps in lower-income areas where violence is more prevalent.

The problem with that theory to me is that kids who are raised in this environment, such as the one this six-year-old was raised in in Flint, MI, are a never-ending cycle of disaster. The mother couldn’t pay her rent, got kicked out of her rental property, went to live with her dysfunctional brother in a run down house, the kid got access to the gun and brought it to school. Thus, shooting this loaded gun in the classroom at this little girl who was killed right there in the classroom. Then, the mother gets in trouble with the law, is forced to go to her “welfare to work” program where a bus transports her hours away to coffee shops and restaurants where she works late into the night and the kid is once again left with no one to supervise him. So, in Michael Moore’s opinion, this is where violent behavior can begin to manifest.

So you say, what is this woman doing with a child? And for that matter, what made her “qualified” to be a mother essentially? So some people would think, at this point, that if someone gets pregnant perhaps, and they don’t have the “means” or whatever to be a parent, that they should terminate the pregnancy and end it while they still can. (If you’re looking at this from a pro-choice standpoint of course) So then it becomes an argument of pro-life vs. pro-choice when this started out as a case regarding guns and violence in schools. See the progression? This becomes a vicious, upsetting cycle that is never ending. At least, not when you have two opposing viewpoints on any scenario. Around and around it goes–

One thing I did not understand, however, was at the end of the movie, Michael Moore visits the president of the NRA’s home in Beverly Hills. And the first thing Moore does, before he starts talking, is show him his “lifetime member” card signifying his membership to the NRA. Contradicting, or is it just me?

And, it turns out, I truly believe that Michael Moore’s opinion is just as valid as my opinion in this world. After all, we are both human beings, both have a mind to think for ourselves, and both have been raised in different backgrounds. Lucky for him, he’s just able to get his opinion “out there” to many more people than I ever could.

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