Where are the gun dead most concentrated

On Friday, March 14th, 2008, I had the opportunity to see the 2002 film "Bowling for Columbine" by director, producer and author Michael Moore. As a material basis, the author used the school massacre in Littleton in 1999, in which two students at Columbine High School shot twelve classmates, a teacher and themselves. Furthermore, the author shows us in this film some critical and satirical contributions about the arms industry, the influential US arms lobby, private arms possession and use and a contribution about North American history. Charleton Heston and singer Marilyn Manson are prominent actors in this impressive film. With this film Moore tries to answer the question about the background of the terrible massacre and the constantly increasing number of terrible violent crimes with firearms.
The title of this film refers to the two perpetrators who allegedly were bowling calmly before they destroyed the lives of many people.

In this film, the author criticizes the fact that the Columbine massacre was tried to be explained by the fact that the two murderers were fanatical fans of the musician Marilyn Manson, whose music texts seduced them into this insane act. In the opinion of the author, with such a pattern of thinking, bowling could also be blamed for the act, because this is just as much a leisure activity as listening to music. Apart from that, the author takes the view that it does not depend on the number of weapons whether or not people are inclined to use violence. Although private possession of weapons is legally permitted in the USA and it is certainly a significant relief for potential gunmen to realize their project, a stricter gun ban cannot prevent an act of madness because it is also in other democratic states such as Canada there are many weapons and the number of murderers is still lower there than in the USA. Many opponents of the liberal US gun laws, however, believe that stricter laws can only reduce the risk of rampage, because a country that has more than 11,000 gun deaths in peacetime has a stricter gun law. However, many proponents of the Guns Act argue that the more firearms citizens have for self-defense, the lower the crime. But the reality in the USA shows that the use of a weapon is often careless and far too thoughtless and that people have learned nothing from the history of their country because many Americans still want to enforce their rights by force of arms.

Apart from this topic, Moore tries to sensitize his audience to other reasons in this film. In search of the guilty party, the media was first caught in the crossfire, because with its glorification of violence and crime, as well as with numerous disaster films, it contributes to a general feeling of insecurity and fear.

But the thesis that young people are tempted to commit cruel massacres because of violence is just as controversial as the arms policy in the USA.

Furthermore, this does not answer the question of why the violence was used against the classmates of all people. For this reason, the public soon began to focus on the social environment of the two assassins. The documentary showed that the two perpetrators were rejected by society and ridiculed by their classmates because of their appearance. For example, they are said to have been subjected to constant attacks and harassment from more successful athletes from Columbine High School and to have made no real friends within the trench coat mafia. On the video tapes left by the two perpetrators, one learns that they had no joy in life, that they felt worthless and unloved and that their hatred was actually directed at all of humanity. The affected parents of the Columbine victims accused the parents of the two assassins of not caring enough for their children and of overlooking warning signs. Some parents even sued the parents of the killers for $ 250 million in pain and suffering. Columbine High School and Jefferson Police Headquarters were also sued for allegedly not acting decisively enough against the two assassins. However, the numerous mutual accusations ended without satisfactory results, because the question of why some young people resort to such means to draw attention to their inner emptiness has not yet been answered.

That is why efforts were made to prevent violence in US schools after this massacre. For this purpose, security cameras and metal detectors were installed and more security professionals were deployed around schools. This horrific school massacre also had an impact on the music and film industries. Among other things, the US feature film "Kill Frau Tingle", which was shown in cinemas shortly after the tragedy, was renamed to "Bring up Mrs. Tingle" at short notice. Finally, Marilyn Manson, who was heavily criticized for his lyrics, had to cancel several concerts. However, even these measures could no longer reduce the great suffering of those affected. On August 16, 1999, Columbine High students returned to school. The reopening was preceded by an event with the motto: "Zero tolerance for intolerance", in which more than 2000 people took part. But on the fifth anniversary, the cutting of the division for a permanent memorial had to be canceled because the government did not provide enough money. It was not until June 16, 2006 that the foundation stone for the Columbine Memorial was laid in a solemn ceremony under the leadership of former US President Bill Clinton in Clementpark.

The Oscar-winning film ends without being able to give us a really satisfactory answer, but suggests that the basis for the high incidence of violent crimes is the inner fear of the population about the otherness of the people they deal with on a daily basis can be found in the class struggle between rich and poor and, above all, in the lack of a social network, because every operation, no matter how small, has to be paid for by yourself. Many people in the United States even have three jobs so that they can reasonably survive financially. There is therefore not much time left to raise children. The struggle for existence is tough, because if someone gets sick, they often lose their own home as a result, because the loan interest cannot be repaid. The catastrophic social conditions, the constant feeling of threat that is profitably marketed by the media, and actually justified worries and fears about climate change and the like ultimately weaken mental health and inner balance. A state of emergency often prevails, especially in personal crisis situations. But whether a personal crisis becomes an opportunity or an emotional vicious circle depends largely on how the person in question deals with their fear in this situation.

Perhaps with this impressive film the author just wants to encourage us to think about why school massacres are occurring more and more all over the world. The director Georg Staudacher addressed the terrible events in his multimedia station theater "KomA". As in this fictional project, teenagers who refuse to adapt to society for a variety of reasons were the triggers of fear and horror in Columbine High. Modern media, such as the Internet or cell phones, have been misused to tell society how “heroically” they intend to act. But the gravity of the situation was only recognized when it was too late.

In my opinion, the author wants to point out to us with this harrowing film that the perpetrators cannot be labeled as "crazy". The attempt to integrate into the given social structures is not always easy for many young people in Austria, although we have a functioning social network and no one has to fear becoming homeless due to an illness. However, despite all the difficulties in life, reasonable people maintain control over themselves and do not harm anyone. Nevertheless, there are also very many unhappy people in our society who go to extremes. That it is not uncommon to suffer from a lack of self-confidence, from contact and communication problems, from frustration and excessive demands, from physical and emotional discomforts etc. in times of separations and divorces, I also have in my description of the project “komA “Already mentioned. It is also true that parents, schools, youth welfare offices, community organizations and politicians often fail because they do not work effectively for the young people, but pointing out the blame does not help.

In my opinion, all the causes listed have a not to be underestimated part of the tragedies, but in our affluent society each individual is ultimately responsible for his or her own actions. I believe that young people in particular should ask themselves more often what the meaning of their lives is for them and find an individual answer. Simply running away from the inner emptiness and throwing yourself into numerous exaggerated activities does not lead to a solution any more than the freezing cold killing of innocent people. The hatred and envy of alleged competitors, who are always better off in the eyes of the disadvantaged, for example because they are loved more, receive more respect and more admiration, can only be overcome if young people come to terms with the people who accompany their lives .

For these reasons, I have come to the realization that in the 21st century it is almost impossible to blame individual leaders, because ultimately every person has to cope with the darker side of life in order for a harmonious life in our multicultural society to be possible. A collective guilt of the respective society always exists, because today many young people are not taught true values ​​that stabilize the emotional balance of sensitive people. But it should also be considered that there is no such thing as a “blanket recipe” against school massacres, because we humans are far too different for that. However, as already mentioned, an important aspect is social dependency, because wherever there is a lack of the social basis that enables poor people to have a reasonably normal standard of living, murders with firearms are increasing. But whatever you might think about this Michael Moore film, I think people who feel loved and have found their place in the often very loveless society are able to overcome and cope with the various fears without others Doing violence to people.

Melanie Fasching, 4 AK