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Bowling for Columbine -"Culture of Fear"

Updated on January 27, 2012

Bowling for Columbine

For the past decade many schools have presented Bowling for Columbine. The documentary presented the viewers with the idea of how schools, society and the government have a delicate relationship to one another. In this movie we were presented with the idea of fear. “Culture of fear” is a term used by many politicians, scholars and authors who believe that public figures/icons in America try to incite fear into people for their own personal gain. The reward for public figures who promote this fearful behavior is money and incentives. Fear leads to consumption and consumption means large profits for corporations like ADT (home security and Surveillance Company) because consumers are purchasing their merchandise. My paper will try to explain why people are afraid of things, in which reality are harmless.

In the documentary Bowling for Columbine Michael Moore demonstrates that people are afraid of things that shouldn’t be feared of. For example, during the 1990’s as crime rates dropped majority of Americans believed that crime incidents were on the rise. Why did people in the 1990’s rank drug abuse as the greatest danger to America’s society but when in reality drug abuse decreased? How and why are people afraid of things that they shouldn’t be? The answer lies within the idea “culture of fear”.

The picture of fear is unfortunate. A crystal clear, real life example of fear is the tragedy that occurred at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in April 1999. Two high school boys killed 12 students and one teacher along with wounding many other students. In Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore defines fear when students and teachers are hiding underneath tables when Eric and Dylan raided their schools with shotguns, pistols and rifles. At the end, the students turned the guns on themselves. Eight years later there was another deadly massacre that occurred on school grounds at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. A student went on a rampage and killed 32 including him.

Fear plays an important part in society on a macro and micro perspective. When there is panic in the atmosphere everyone gets affected. There was once a time when parents felt comfortable sending their kids to school but nowadays their constantly reminding their kids to be careful to who you talk to and associate yourself with. When I went to high school we had to go through metal detectors. Besides having to go through metal detectors, we had to at all times have our I.D’s visible. More and more elderly people are afraid of going outside of their home alone.

Once again why are people afraid? I believe that the media feeds into people’s fear. The nightly news, television shows like Criminal Minds and C.S.I Miami creates fear for people. A large portion of the nightly news is either broadcasting a murder, rape or drug case. The news media spends less than ten minutes on something positive that happened locally or globally. When people watch these types of announcements and absorb more violence than peace they get emotions like fear and panic. They fear that they or their loved ones can be murdered or raped.

So how has all this fear affect us on a small scale and as a nation? The fear of terror has had a negative impact in our society in all ways imagined: politically, socially and economically. Because of fear and for the fight against terrorism the United States government, along with support of many citizens, allowed the National Security Agency to listen to phone conversations and store 1.7 billion emails. .After the attack on the twin towers mass fear was created in our society. Because of fear of Muslims, people across New York City were afraid/against the construction of a mosque and community center because of what happened on September 11, 2001.

So who’s the to blame for the massacres and violence that happens in our society? Is it the president of the United States? Is it the president of the NRA (National Rifle Association), who promotes the use of guns in communities? In conclusion if someone is going to be blamed it should be the media. If the media changed the way they broadcasted national television then a lot of people wouldn’t have thoughts and fears to begin with. If you display peaceful actions you’re more prone to do a peace than violence. If the media displays more events that settles problems in a passive way people will realize. Many people don’t realize that the media affects our life in every possible aspect. With that being said the media can affect our lives in a positive way instead of always a destructive way.


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    • LoriSoard profile image

      LoriSoard 6 years ago from Henryville, Indiana

      Interesting piece. Really makes you think.