Years ago there was a picture in a magazine that showed a piece of moving art. The medium was a large truck that had sheets of polished metal on its sides that acted as mirrors, so that as it drove down city streets, people could see themselves in the reflection. The art was not the truck, but the people in the reflection.
I was reminded of this as I watched the 2002 documentary, “Bowling for Columbine,” by Michael Moore, made shortly after two students shot to death 12 other students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. The motivation for watching the film again was to try to get some perspective on the latest mass murder that occurred in a Newtown, Conn., school. I needed to understand what is at the root of the violence that we are so often witness to in the U.S. I needed to understand cause and effect so that I could try to make sense of the motivation for such violence. I needed to understand who was responsible for this and other gun-culture massacres.
Moore did an excellent job of connecting the dots and showing a deep-seeded fear of the “other” that permeates our society. And he showed that fear, along with our history of guns and war and violence, makes us who we are. And our children are raised in this.
It’s as if Michael Moore drives a large truck with mirrors on its sides which captures us all in its reflection. And I understand.