Why is there so much violence and crime in the US? Why does the Constitution still allow us to bear arms when 11,000 people a year die because of them? What makes a student go into school and massacre his classmates? Michael Moore addresses these questions in Bowling for Columbine.
The title of the film refers to the first high school massacre in America, Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999. Two students killed 12 students, one teacher and wounded many others. The entire country watched in disbelief and shock as the events unfolded on their televisions and radios.
Moore Asks Why
Michael Moore dared to look for the answers to questions that many were afraid to even ask. He interviews students, parents, politicians, National Rifle Association members, corporations and more, trying desperately to make sense out of the blood that falls from victims of gun-related deaths, daily in America. He explores American culture, history and civil rights and even questions the cherished American Constitution.
Many people applauded him for bringing the issue of gun control and violence out to the American public, while others criticized him for stretching the truth and misrepresentation. Whether supporter or critic, most will admit that this film sent out a “wake-up call” to most of America.
Watch the trailer and answer the comprehension questions below.
Tasks and Activities
- What is a "whistle blower"?
- What type of bank account was Micheal Moore asking to open?
- What law did the town of Virginia in Utah pass?
- What comparison does he try to make between the production of missiles and the killings at Columbine High School?
- Charlton Heston raises a rifle in the air in front of a crowd of people and states: "from my cold dead hands". What do you think he means? Who is he representing? And what is Michael's comment on this?
- What adjectives did critics use to describe this film? Can you add your own adjectives to describe the trailer?
- What is the double meaning in: "this film will have you up in arms" ?
- The second amendment in the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution states people have "the right to keep and bear arms". Do you think Americans should have this right when there is so much gun violence in society today?
- What do you believe are the causes related to gun violence? Who might you blame? (media: television, Hollywood films, the US government, parents, gang members, the person who pulls the trigger, gun owners, gun manufacturers..)
- How do you think gun violence can be controlled, lessened or stopped?
Further Reading (Advanced)
Multiculturalism - A Challenge?Kjernestoff
Social Media and Political ChangeKjernestoff
The Death Penalty - A Brief HistoryKjernestoff
Edward Snowdon - Hero or Traitor?Kjernestoff
Terrorism - a Violent AlternativeKjernestoff
The Right to Bear ArmsKjernestoff
Illegal Organ DonationKjernestoff
On the Way to the Melting PotTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Occupy Wall StreetTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
"A Long Way Gone" Ishmael BeahTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Crossing Dangerous BordersTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
GITMO - Guantanamo BayTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
AIDS in Sub-Saharan AfricaTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Mediatization and PoliticsTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
List of recommended filmsTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Recommended list of novelsTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Multiculturalism - A Challenge - VocabularyKjernestoff
Consumerism - TasksKjernestoff
Consumerism - ProjectKjernestoff
Views on Today’s Death Penalty in the USAKjernestoff
Prefixes in Terrorism VocabularyKjernestoff
Child Soldiers – TasksKjernestoff
Multinational Corporations - ProjectKjernestoff
The Constant GardenerKjernestoff
Task - Guns and DemocracyKjernestoff
The Right to Bear Arms - TasksKjernestoff
Role-play: The Right to Bear ArmsKjernestoff
Working with International ConflictsKjernestoff
Conflicts – ProjectKjernestoff
David Cameron on MulticulturalismTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Indigenous People in Multicultural SocietiesTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Public Protest, Vocabulary - Drag and DropTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
They Said "No" - ProjectTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Where Do Racism and Prejudice Come From?TilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
9/11 - The Neighbor That DisappearedTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Terrorist by John UpdikeTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
22 July – Darkness at NoonTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Blood Diamond (film)TilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Aids in Sub-Saharan AfricaTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Food - TasksTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
The Glass Ceiling - TasksTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff