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Critical Analysis of Bowling for Columbine

Starting sequence of the movie shows destruction caused by bombardments followed by attractive people with guns and rifles clustered in daily events. This all gives an introduction to the documentary. Actually the documentary represents a critical, compelling and anti-political background. The writer Michael Moore has been controversial in this regard. He thought that film would work as an eye opener for Americans and the people across the world to control violence through gun. The movie is based on an unfortunate shooting massacre which took place in Columbine high school. This shooting was carried out by two students Dylan Kiebold and Eric Harris, they both went to their former school and killed fifteen people. Also, twenty one students suffered injuries. The film goes into probe about weak law and order situation that gave rise to gun and regulating gun possession. This analysis will cover three main questions

1. How might Harris and Klebold’s behaviors be explained using the frustration aggression hypothesis.

2. How might Harris and Klebold’s behavior be explained on the principles of social learning theory.

3. What role might be growing up in Flint, Michigan, play in attitudes towards violence and guns? Would you expect to see the same kinds of influences in other parts of the country? Why or why not?

Answer to Q1. (Harris and Klebold’s behavior in the light of frustration aggression method)

If there is something that blocks a person’s way towards attaining his goal, it leads to frustration, this frustration then triggers violence, which is an evil (Myers; 2017). When a person acts violently, he often ends up inflicting harm to others. Harris and Klebold were most likely bullied which was pretty much evident in the Harris last journal entries. In some schools, bullying is uncontrolled and the students who are bullied develop a revengeful attitude within themselves which results in their or community’s destruction by any means. Harris last journal entries read: “I hate you people for leaving me out of so many fun things. And no don’t …”. This reflects that hate was the factor that drove both of them to take such lethal step. Harris’s science partner of 8th grade revealed that Harris and Klebold were picked on constantly. People in their surrounding would throw ketchup on them and then they would keep laughing at them, giving them bad names. The tragic thing is that it happened during the presence of teachers. Both of them couldn’t retaliate there and then. They would spend the whole day in the school with the stains of ketchup on shirt.

A lot of the tension in the school came from the class above us” (Chad Laughlin). In April, 1998 Harris started keeping journal, a short time when two of them convicted of breaking into a van as a result they received juvenile community and counselling services in Jan, 1998.

Harris’s aim was to join the United states marine corps but his application rejected some time before the shooting as he was taking some medicines as a part of his therapy following the orders of court about anger management. After the shooting, Peter Braggin claimed that the medicines that were prescribed to Harris for psychiatric treatment further fueled his aggression, this indicates that he was not given the right treatment.

According to the one report, Harris had mental disorder, while Kelbold was under severe depression, these were the influencing factors for both of them. As it is said that excess of everything is bad. Similarly, too much depression with a feeling of being reject and bullied caused that unfortunate shooting which took lives of more than 8 people injuring more than 21. Harris was under the influence of the sadism while Klebold became very revengeful and these behaviors brought devastation.

Answer to Q2 (Harris and Klebold’s behavior in the light of social learning theory)

Both Harris and Klebold’s behavior turned extremely negative towards society. When the depressed and revengeful mind worked together they brought devastation to the school. Whatever they learned from society didn’t turn out positively for them. Early media reports suggested that shooting took place as revenge for bullying that they faced in the school. However, psychological analysis revealed that both Harris and Klebold had serious psychological issues that led to the disastrous shooting. Both of them learned violence and aggression from the society. People of such type do exist in our society and it’s the collective responsibility of the society to address their issues so that instead of going wayward such psychiatric problems can be resolved. Such people can be rehabilitated. Harris who launched the attack was a psychopath but he was also an intelligent person (Dave Cullen). Unfortunately, his intelligence couldn’t be channelized and he turned his approach into negative force which took lives of his school fellows. The journal used by Harris clearly demonstrated his hate, this hate was for the society.

Answer to Q3

Micheal Moore, through his documentary gave a very positive message of anti-gun. he rightly pointed out the loopholes in the law that allowed many to hold guns and rifles. This stance was appreciated at a large scale by the viewers across the world. Moore, also described the overall mindset of American about gun. If everyone in the society endorses this stance of anti gun and antiviolence, the youngsters who are growing up will further work on the betterment of society as a whole. If the message of antiviolence gets across the country, it’ll impact the society in an effective manner. Yes it’ll have influence on other parts of the country too because message of anti-violence or antigun is very strong


Myers, D.G., & Twenge, J.M (2017). Social Psychology (12th edition). New York: McGraw Hill.



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