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Monday, 21 October, 2002, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Mixed reaction to Columbine film
Students grieve after the Columbine massacre
The Columbine massacre shocked America
Parents of victims of the Columbine school shooting have given a mixed reception to documentary-maker Michael Moore's film about gun culture.

One parent praised Bowling for Columbine for its hard-hitting take on American gun culture, but others who had not seen the film said it was unnecessary.

Shown at the Starz Denver International Film Festival on Saturday, the Moore film has enjoyed critical plaudits for its wide-ranging look at American's society.

The massacre in Colorado in 1999 horrified America, as two teenagers killed 12 pupils and a teacher before shooting themselves.

Michael Moore
Moore uses satire to attack gun culture
Tom Mauser, who has become heavily involved in gun control campaigns since his son Daniel was killed at Columbine, said: "It was difficult at times to watch."

During a panel discussion at the festival, he added: "I realise that some will say, 'Maybe these films shouldn't be shown'.

"I say no. To not take on the subject of gun violence is to ignore it, and we've done that for too long."

The film compares the 11,000 lives lost through gun-related incidents to the much smaller figures in most other Western democracies.

It includes an interview with gun lobby activist Charlton Heston, as well as survivors of the incident who still have bullets embedded in them.

The film also includes taped footage from the security cameras in the cafeteria on the morning of the Columbine massacre.

Parents of victims who had not seen the movie were more critical.

"I doubt there's much of a redeeming quality to that movie," parent Brian Rohrbough, who also lost a son called Daniel, said.

"This is just a guy trying to capitalise on the tragedy of others."

Good society

John Tomlin, whose son John died at Columbine, said he did not know a great deal about the documentary.

"I'm not that interested in finding out," Mr Tomlin said.

Moore said the film looked at wider issues, insisting: "The film has actually very little to do with Columbine, and a lot to do with how we have behaved in what is otherwise a very good society."

School officials in the area that covers Columbine High School said they were concerned about the film's release and needed to see it before deciding what impact it could have on children.

"It's something that may draw students and family members, so it's something we want to view and need time to prepare for," said school district spokesman Rick Kaufman.

See also:

17 May 02 | Entertainment
29 Mar 02 | Newsmakers
27 Mar 02 | Entertainment
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