It is true, “Moore’s documentary is a one-way mirror”. He directs viewers to a particular point of view through the techniques of information selection, juxtaposition and in-depth arguments. This essay will illustrate how Moore supports his point of view by utilising three suggestive arguments, “the availability of guns in America causes a high yearly death rate”, “banning guns and ammunition will lead to less killings” and “ammunition can be bought in mass quantities without any restrictions whatsoever”. Moore’s documentary is a one-way mirror through the technique of information selection.
This conveys the argument that the availability of guns in America causes a high yearly death rate. Viewers are shown figures relating to the number of gun related murders in various countries. Several miniscule numbers flash momentarily. The American stat is shown last to emphasise the colossal difference between its cases and several other developed nations. In contrast to the other figures, the amount of cases in America (11127) is substantially high. We however are ambiguous to the size of the populations of all the countries listed.
Subsequently, we are unaware of the amount of cases that occur as a percentage of the countries total population and therefore the true statistic. The Australian and American stats, as a percentage of the totals of their respective populations can be contrasted to show the extent of exaggeration that Moore has concealed effectively. The number of Australian related cases is a meager 65 which is also approximately 171 times less that the figure of the United States of 11127 cases. By placing these figures as a fraction of each countries population, the Australian figure is now approximately 12 times less that the American figure.
This stat, though still staggering, would not have been as overwhelming to the audience and therefore Moore’s message would not be as apparent. This manner in which Moore exploits his statistics is an example of information selection. The omission of each countries population ensures that Moore can effectively capitalise on the effect of the technique. He can also successfully portray his message on American Society that the availability of guns in America causes a high yearly death rate. Moore’s documentary is a one-way mirror through the technique of juxtaposition.
This conveys the argument that banning guns and ammunition will lead to less killings. In several scenes in this documentary, Moore focuses the attention of the viewers on Canadian society and their dealings with guns. Canada was once a country that was flooded with guns. Today however, very few individuals have possession of a gun of any sort. Those that do have guns, use theirs for recreational purposes like shooting animals. Unlike the Americans, Canadians do not use guns as a means of protection.
Through this, it is clear that Moore uses juxtaposition to illustrate the distinct differences between the nations and portray his argument that a ban on guns and ammunition will lead to less killings. It is a fact that there are very few gun murders in Canada’s history since they limited their number of guns. Moore interviews other Canadians where they tell him that they cannot remember the last time there was a gun murder. He further puts forward his point of view on this particular argument by stating “they (Canada) have so few murders because they have so few guns”.
In America however, it is almost a routine to hear on the news that someone has been shot dead as a result of a gun. Moore successfully juxtaposes the differences in the two societies to much success and is quite suggestive of the path in which Americans should take; to ban guns altogether, like the Canadians. In one particular scene, Moore interviews a lady inquiring about gun murders in Canada. He discovers that she, like many other Canadians interviewed after, leaves her doors unlocked, even at night. Given Moore’s reaction, we as viewers can empathise with him seeing it is a huge shock.
We can also observe this to be another flawless example of juxtaposition to further convey Moore’s point of view towards guns. Exploring Canada’s society was no accident by Moore. It was intended directly for this purpose. That is to show how other nations can cope without needing to resort to guns. Canada was an ideal example to use as it has a relatively large population, similar demographic makeup and environmental conditions to America. Moore successfully illustrates and persuades viewers to adopt his point of view being that of banning guns and ammunition will lead to less killings.
Moore’s documentary is a one-way mirror through the technique of in-depth arguments. This conveys the argument that ammunition can be bought in mass quantities without any restrictions whatsoever. Moore takes two Columbine survivors, Richard and Mark to the K-mart store where the Eric Harris and Dillon Klevold bought their ammunition. He puts forward the argument that there should be restrictions on the amount of ammunition that can be bought by a single person and that 9mm bullets should now be discontinued as a result of the columbine incident. After much conversation and the two boys unveiling their injuries, no action took place.
To demonstrate the extent of his point of view, Moore instructs Mark to purchase all the 9mm bullets of another local K-mart store. They then all returned back to the other K-mart store with the media to demonstrate how easy it was to get a hold of a mass number of ammunition. Through these acts, Moore backs up his views on ammunition sales in stores and its availability through the technique of in-depth arguments and the support of factual evidence. He demonstrates that ammunition can be bought in mass quantities without any restrictions whatsoever and therefore something must be done about this in America throughout all stores.
Through Moore’s documentary, we look through a one-way mirror. That is, a one dimensional view regarding several different aspects relating to guns through Moore’s arguments. They are – the availability of guns in America causes a high yearly death rate, banning guns and ammunition will lead to less killings and ammunition can be bought in mass quantities without any restrictions whatsoever. I feel this documentary has demonstrated a powerful view on the aspects of guns and should be commended for its attention to detail and extravagant planning.