Dan’s Online Diary 

# 22.11.03 by Dan
We watched 'Bowling For Columbine' last night

This documentary really does alert the viewer to the fact that the citizens of the US are really quite different to those of any other country.
I was struck by the significant difference in the number of shootings between the US and Canada. Both gun-loving countries - neighbours even. Michael Moore investigates a number of possible reasons why there are so many gun-related crimes in the US. But each possible cause can be eliminated by comparing the US to other countries where that particular reason does not hold.
The documentary is relatively inconclusive, but just asking the questions does get people thinking. I can imagine that this movie would have considerably more impact on a US citizen, than on, say, a British citizen, simply because I think that the people of the US need to stop, take a step back, and have a long hard look at themselves. They just don't see the state that they are in.
As far a cause/solution goes, I don't know. I think the only clear possible cause is that of the media influence in the States. According to Michael Moore's quoted statistics, despite the drop in violent crime, violent crime reporting in news media has increased dramatically. This has instilled a quality of fear in the average US citizen, making them more suspicious, and feeding an element of racism - '...the suspect is a Afro-American in his early-to-mid twenties...' - that may be causing people to over-react.

I don't see an issue with gun laws, the NRA, or the fact that many of the people featured in the documentary were apparent obsessed with firearms. I mean, I'm obsessed (to a degree) with cars, and cars are very dangerous in the wrong hands.
To an extent, I do wonder about the ownership of military assault rifles, and other such non-sporting weapons, but then if you look at a country such as Switzerland, military training is compulsory for all young men, and they all have a rifle at home, meaning that they can mobilise very quickly in defence of their country. This is important given that they're in the middle of Europe, surrounded by many other countries, and are potentially right in the middle of any conflict that may arise there. The US is in a similar position, with Russia and South America not far away, so perhaps the availability of military weapons is necessary.

One thing that did concern me was the fact that New Zealand, our country, is beginning to display similar characteristics to the US. With military style weapons being illegal, and tough restrictions of other types of firearms, there just isn't the same attitude towards firearms. But I don't think the firearms are the issue. Violent entertainment and violence in the media may be a significant contributing factor, and this may be something that we need to assess here in New Zealand, and maybe there is something that we can do about it.
But deeper still is the selfish individuality that is fast taking a hold through the increase in 'Human Rights' and the thrust of much of our recent legislation. We are fast turning into a bunch of self-focused, inconsiderate and uncaring people who, without thinking, will turn a blind eye to the misfortune of a neighbour if it means putting ourselves out.
The breakdown of the family is evidence of this attitude; people care more about themselves than their spouse or children. People are not taking responsibility for their actions (or inactions).
This is a deep heart issue, and is a direct result of our sin, both personally and as a nation, in turning away from our God. He has turned us over to 'the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.'

That, my friends, is the root cause of our selfishness, The bad fruits of that selfishness are the violent crimes, rapes, frauds etc that are becoming more evident in our society today. How the media reports it all is driven again by those same desires.

Self-gratification reigns on the throne. We must overthrow it.

The fact that this movie is riddled with deception, half-truths, and outright lies is not really relevant. Moore's lack of credibility in this documentary does not change the fact that no-one is clear why we (or more contextually, US citizens) behave as they do. (see here for the fiction of 'Bowling...') falsified facts and figures are all very well, but nonetheless, the evidence is plain for all to see.
Examine first your own heart, sort your stuff our with God, and then get out there and be Christ to this world. Share His Word, that the tide of selfishness that is washing over our society might be turned by the almighty power of the Holy Spirit at work in the hearts of His people. Serve your neighbours (you know who they are), as an example of humility and selflessness, in the same way that Christ was humble in the will of His Father, even unto death on a cross.

The massacre at Columbine was merely the manifestation of the same struggle we all face in our own hearts, whether we are aware of it or not. You have to realise that you and I - each one of us - has the same capability and potential to pick up an automatic weapon, walk into a crowded school, and pump lead into innocent children. Whether we are Canadians or Kiwis, we are all affected by the rebellion in our hearts toward God.
This is the conclusion that Michael Moore did not find. Why? Maybe he was unwilling to admit that he himself was affected by the same power that drove Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to commit their crime at Columbine?
I dunno.