Saturday, August 30, 2003

Finally saw Bowling for Columbine. It's good. No question about it. Now I'm just concerned about the validity of some of the claims. And actually the honesty of the whole project.

You see, my sister pointed me to this web page. And I find myself agreeing with some of the criticism there. Not all of it. But it does for example look like Moore gave Charlton Heston a raw deal, to say the least. And it is perplexing why he would do it, especially so blatantly, since this isn't a film that is just about Heston, but a serious problem of a whole nation.

On the other hand, not only do I not agree with some of the criticism on said web page. I find it actually to be illustrative of the very problem, which Moore is profiling in his film. For example, I find it pathetic that the web page author tries to cast a six year old child as a hardened criminal, which is supposed to 'explain' why it took a handgun to a school and killed a classmate with it. This is the same kind of sick mindset that not only puts children on trial in adult courts, and then puts them in prison with real criminals, but executes children as well. This puts the US in an elite club of such human rights champions as Congo, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria, and Saudi-Arabia. No other nation in the world executes its children.

I also find it laughable that when Moore tries to count together the number of those killed by guns in the US, the web page author blasts him for, supposedly, doing so by taking doctors' death certificates figures from The National Center for Health Statistics for gun homicides, and adding "the figure for legally-justified homicides: self-defense and police use against criminals". The web page author scoffs at this, remarking that "when we talk of a gun homicide problem we hardly have in mind a woman defending against a rapist, or a cop taking out an armed robber."

Well, I beg to differ.

The person who thinks that taking the life of another human being, with a gun, is somehow just fine and dandy, because the one who got killed was in the process of perpetrating (another) crime, is failing miserably to see what the problem is. It lies in this complete disregard, even utter contempt, for life. It is never acceptable to kill another human being. It is morally wrong, and it breeds the kind of indifference for other people that leads the dumb masses to think "Duh. He had it coming.", when yet another lawbreaker is shot to death, and "Uh? How could this have happened?", when someone who was not breaking the law is shot to death.

That is actually, in my mind, the real criticism that should be levelled at the film: It doesn't address the inbred opinion of this nation that it is 'OK' to kill other people as long as you believe that they are committing, or are about to commit, a crime. That every single police officer in this country carries a loaded gun, at all times, and you know he's ready to use it without hesitation. That this country slaughters people like animals, executing almost 900 individuals since 1976, killing more than fifty of them in this year alone, so far.

A country, and a government, which so blatantly preaches that it is not only acceptable, but even positive, to kill people, given the 'right' circumstances, can not expect its citizen to have a high regard for human life.

America, you reap like you sow.