Friday, July 15, 2005

Bowling for Columbine Comes to Kenya

All Americans remember April 20, 1999 as the day when two students at Columbine High School opened fire killing 19 students and teachers and wounding 23 others before turning the guns on themselves (High School Shooting Stats). This deeply painful incident was completed in a manner of precise execution allowing time for the eyes of each victim to be searched by the teenage murderers. Since then, many of us have become familiar with the documentary "Bowling for Columbine" as written and directed by Michael Moore. This informative and moving film paints a portrait of gun slinging Americans and their propulsion towards the use of fear to manipulate the masses. Millions of Americans viewed this film and felt enlightened about our media-driven society. A significant reduction of crime over past years, has seen media reportage sore to 600%. How can we possibly feel safe as the media searches for the most grotesque of stories to blow out of proportion in order to contain the public within this "culture of fear"?

This brings me to Kenya. On the morning of Tuesday July 12, 2005 "Hundreds of armed men surrounded a primary school and nearby houses and opened fire as children were making their way to school" in Turbi Village, Kenya. Of the 76 people killed, 22 were children (mostly under the age of 10) wearing pristine school uniforms.

Tell me now what happened to the media frenzy and over blown reportage common to such an incident should it have occurred in the US or Europe. Tell me now how two teenagers with legal, federally registered semi-automatic weapons have the ability to frighten the people of the most powerful nation in the world into feeling "unsafe." And tell me now how the petty fight over the "personal injury" caused to the brother of Oklahoma City Bomber Terry Nichols, James Nichols by statements of fact made in the documentary "Bowling for Columbine," causes more of a media fuss than the Turbi Village Primary School killings.

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