School Violence: The Consequences of America’s Attitude to Guns

1. Introduction

The phenomenon of school violence has been widely covered in the media over the past few years. This is not surprising, because the number of school shootings in the United States has increased dramatically. In 2018, there were 24 school shootings with casualties (Follman, Aronsen & Pattison, 2018). The most famous and, perhaps, the most shocking case was the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 when two students killed 12 classmates and a teacher before committing suicide (Ferguson, 2011).

The events of Columbine High School became the basis for two documentary films – Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” and Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant”. These films are very different in terms of genre, style and approach to the problem, but they are united by one thing – an attempt to find out the reasons for school violence and its consequences.

2. Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine”: the consequences of school violence

“Bowling for Columbine” is a documentary film by Michael Moore, released in 2002. The film is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Columbine shooting.

The film consists of two parts. The first part is a kind of investigation into the causes of school violence. Michael Moore interviews various people – from Marilyn Manson to Charlton Heston – trying to find an answer to the question: why do young people kill each other at school?

The second part of the film is devoted to gun control in America. Michael Moore visits a bank that gives customers a gun as a bonus for opening an account, he interviews gun shop owners and NRA members. As a result, the viewer gets an impression that America is a country where everyone has a gun and where it is very easy to get it.

The main idea of ​​the film can be formulated as follows: school violence is a consequence of society’s attitude to guns. In America, guns are considered something normal and even desirable, while in other developed countries (for example, in Canada) guns are much less common and nobody thinks that it is normal to have one at home.

3. Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant”: the causes of school violence

“Elephant” is a 2003 drama film by Gus Van Sant based on real events that took place at Columbine High School. The film does not have any interviews or comments from experts – only actions and events that took place on that day are shown.

The plot of the film revolves around two characters – Alex and Eric. These are two loners who are being bullied at school. They do not have friends or someone to confide in. Outwardly, they seem completely different – Eric is an athletic guy who likes guns, while Alex is a shy introvert who loves art – but deep down they are both angry young men who feel misunderstood and rejected by society.

On April 20, 1999, these two outcasts decide to take revenge on everyone who has ever hurt them. They go to school armed with guns and explosives and start shooting everyone they see. The massacre lasts about 45 minutes, after which Eric and Alex commit suicide.

The movie does not try to find someone to blame for what happened or look for reasons why Eric and Alex became killers. The viewer is simply shown the events that took place that day, without any comments or explanations. As a result, the film leaves a very strong impression.

4. Conclusion

Both “Bowling for Columbine” and “Elephant” are interesting and thought-provoking films about school violence. They are very different in terms of genre and approach, but they are united by one thing – an attempt to understand the reasons for this phenomenon and its consequences.


School shootings like Columbine and Sandy Hook have changed the way we think about safety in schools by making us more aware of the potential for violence in our schools. We now have security measures in place to try to prevent school shootings from happening, such as metal detectors and security guards.

Some things that could be done to prevent school shootings from happening include better background checks on gun owners, stricter gun control laws, and more mental health support for students.

There is some evidence that suggests there may be a link between media violence and real-life violence. Studies have shown that exposure to violent media can desensitize people to violence and make them more likely to engage in aggressive behavior.

Schools deal with the threat of violence by having security measures in place, such as metal detectors and security guards. They also work to create a positive school climate where students feel safe and supported.

The impact of school violence on students and their families can be devastating. Students who witness or are victims of violence may experience anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other emotional problems. Families may also suffer financially if a student is injured or killed in a school shooting.

There are a number of things that can be done to reduce the incidence of school shootings in America. These include better background checks on gun owners, stricter gun control laws, and more mental health support for students.