‘Bowling for Columbine’ — a movie for the ages | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘Bowling for Columbine’ — a movie for the ages

Kathryn Reed, Tahoe Daily Tribune

When I watch a movie I want to think, cry or laugh. I did all three, though not much of the latter, while watching “Bowling for Columbine.”

I was out of town earlier in the year when Lake Tahoe Community College showed the controversial Michael Moore film. I had to wait for it to come out on DVD because no place in the region dared show it on the big screen.

It’s one of those movies that makes you wonder what is wrong with this great country of ours. It made me wonder if the media and government are in cahoots to spread fear. Is big media too stupid to question what it’s fed? Is the government too scared of losing control it needs to create an atmosphere of pandemonium? We seem to have blindly given in, expecting the government to be our savior. What happened to thinking for ourselves and taking responsibility for ourselves?

It was the April 20, 1999, shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., that is at the root of the movie. This tragedy was juxtaposed against the reality that on that day President Bill Clinton gave the OK for Kosovo to be pummeled by more bombs than any other day.

Shock rocker Marilyn Manson came under fire after the school shootings. His lyrics are anything but mild. However, in the interview in the movie he comes across as articulate and educated. He posed the question as to whether the government and its affinity for violence might have played a role in the killings instead of his music.

I’ve never been a fan of Charlton Heston’s. I’m even less of one now. He came across as a bumbling idiot with no clue to the reality that exists beyond his Southern California mansion and NRA propaganda.

I’m all for gun rights. Own what you want — even automatic weapons. Even M-16s like my 20-year-old nephew is toting around Iraq as part of the 82nd Airborne. I believe that is our constitutional right. But there needs to be some compassion. See the movie. See that Heston has none.

I was more than surprised to learn that the beliefs I had about Canada were way off course. It is not a lily-white country without poverty or guns. But even Moore could not come up with why our friends to the north are less inclined to kill one another.

The media and government of Canada do appear to speak about real issues. It’s not a constant barrage of sound bytes trying to convince people why we need to occupy a country without weapons of mass destruction.

Our social problems seem to have been swept under the carpet. But to do this means we’ll just stumble over them until we deal with them.

There was a scene showing how the media can get things right. Kmart, 9mm bullets and Columbine students made an interesting mix.

There is footage of high school students scrambling to avoid being shot while the 911 tapes play. If only it were Hollywood instead of Littleton.

As Moore said, “One thing adults should never forget is it still sucks being a teenager and it really sucks going to high school.”

Duck and cover drills morphed from being about nuclear weapons to earthquakes to gun-toting classmates.

Watch “Bowling for Columbine.” Watch it with your kids. Then talk about it. There are lessons that need to be learned.

— Kathryn Reed is managing editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. She may be reached at kreed@tahoedailytribune.com or (530) 541-3880, ext. 251.

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