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The Sociological Imagination

            Our textbook states that the sociological imagination is the ability to see the relationship between individual experiences and the larger society. Michael Moore's recent documentary, Bowling for Columbine, of which I will make repeated reference to, demonstrates how gun violence affects the U.S. from a sociological perspective. .
             From an individual perspective, any person can get angry at another person, pick up a gun, and go shoot them. So why do so many more carry out the act of shooting others in the U.S. than they do in other countries? The ease with which someone in our country can get a gun, with only a simple background check and a several-day waiting period, is a bit alarming, to say the least. But, as Moore points out, Canada's gun laws are very similar to ours. A lot of people hunt in Canada, so the number of firearms available in Canada is comparable to the U.S, where hunting is also common. Yet Canadian fatalities due to firearm-related deaths total in the low hundreds, while the U.S. has over 10,000 deaths in one year that are directly related to firearms. In Bowling for Columbine, Moore goes to Canada to investigate. What he finds is surprising. A man or woman can purchase a gun just as easily as in the United States. Moore is even allowed to purchase ammunition at a local department store with his U.S. drivers license. Everyone Moore encounters on the street appears to be friendly and congenial towards him. The real kicker is the responses Moore gets when he asks people if they lock their doors in Canada. From what Moore shows, nobody does! He even goes up to peoples" doors in the daytime and tests door knobs to demonstrate this.
             What is the point of all this? The single striking difference that Moore could find between Canada and our country was in its news broadcasts. The nightly news in Canada is more factual in comparison to our six o"clock or eleven o"clock news.

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