13: The second scene which was examined was the CCTV footage. In this scene, the footage from the CCTV cameras in the lunch hall of Columbine high school is shown. You can see the pupils hiding under the tables in the lunch hall while the two boys walk around in a very cavalier manner, whilst holding loaded, armed guns. In the background, we hear 911 calls in sheer panic from the pupils at the school, combined with very somber music. This scene obviously contains a number of persuasive techniques, such as the visuals, sequencing and the audio used.
One of the persuasive techniques in this scene are the visuals. At the very start of this scene, we see a rather ironic image, which is Columbine High School’s sign, with the slogan or motto: ‘Home of the rebels’, accompanied by a picture of a soldier holding a gun. It couldn’t be more ironic as the boys that committed the shooting thought of themselves as rebels. The visuals at the start of the scene are of the school, with the camera slowly moving around the school, which is empty. It shows the school to be lonely and sad, which appeals to the emotions of the viewer, thus it is a persuasive technique. The next part of the scene is the actual CCTV footage of the lunch hall where the moment is shown as the pupils that committed the killings walk around.
This part of the scene is very emotive as it simply shocks the viewer. The scene shows complete panic by the children and so much sadness, the viewer is left with shock and disgust. The viewer also trusts the source of the CCTV footage, as there is a timestamp at the bottom of the screen showing the date and time. The source of the footage is therefore reliable, and the viewer sees that it is not edited, making it very realistic. Furthermore, the times of the different scenes Moore uses, changes by every time a scene of CCTV is shown, which generates panic in the viewer’s mind, as they can see the killers where walking around in the school for some time.
The sequencing used in this scene is also is very important in persuading the viewers. Immediately after the CCTV footage, a scene shows interviews with young girls from the school. The reason this is sneakily very persuasive is because it is a very emotional scene. The girls are in a very emotional state. The viewer then sympathizes with them and realizes that Moore’s viewpoint, that guns should be controlled, is true. Here comes the sneaky part: Moore specifically only chose the interviews with the girls, because girls are much more emotional than boys, and this would have a greater emotional effect on the viewer. Immediately after the interview with the girls, the scene skips to a gun rally for the NRA.
This scene shows Charlton Heston saying ‘From my cold dead hands’. To the viewer, is seems Charlton is extremely insensitive to the Columbine shootings and it makes him look as though he has no heart. However, if we take a closer look at Heston’s press conferences, we can see that the part where he says ‘From my cold dead hands’ is not actually from the press conference after the Columbine shootings, he is wearing different clothes! Moore specifically chose to use this scene from another press conference to make Heston seem very cold hearted and insensitive. This makes the viewer hate Heston and what he supports, which is allowing Americans to freely own guns.
The audio used in this scene is also another persuasive technique. The music in the background is a singular guitar, playing slow, mournful music. The music on the background is a very subtle persuasive technique as it makes the viewer feel sad and serious. This music was in combination with the other main audio used in this scene, namely the 911 calls. These are the real 911 calls that were made by the pupils of Columbine high school during the attack. These are very emotional, as they are very real and shocking to listen to. The source sounds reliable, as the 911 calls are grainy and sound authentic, which makes it even worse to listen to because it actually happened.
Another scene where multiple persuasive techniques can be spotted was the cartoon scene on ‘A brief history of the United States’. The scene begins with trying to find a cause for America’s violent gun culture, and concludes that the reason is fear. The cartoon shows how the white people fear other cultures, for example Indians in America and black people. The main persuasive techniques used in this scene are humor, however there are others such as the visuals, sequencing and altering of facts which help to sway the viewer’s viewpoint.
The visuals in this scene are very comical, mainly because the scene is a cartoon, which makes it persuasive. The actual people in the cartoon look ridiculous as they have been drawn with no noses and huge eyes, making the them look very unintelligent. There is deep irony hidden in the cartoon as the narrator is a bullet. The irony is present as the bullet is happy, which is not usual as bullets are made to kill people. The visuals are humorous, and by making the viewer laugh, Moore is making the viewer side with his viewpoint.
The sequencing is also part of the persuasion in this scene. The scene before the cartoon shows how many gun deaths there are per year in major countries across the world. The figures start high, with Germany having 381, and then decreasing until Japan which has 39. Finally, it gives the number for America, which is 11,127. This scene highlights the fact that there is a problem in America, and it is persuasive. Moore really is conveying his viewpoint to the viewer in this scene.
The use of facts in this scene is another persuasive technique. In the cartoon Moore only selects specific facts and makes changes to them in order to effectively convey his viewpoint to the viewer. For example, in the cartoon it states that ‘the black people outnumbered the white people in many parts of the south’ and that there were uprisings. This is not the entire truth as black people only outnumbered people in remote areas. Moore deliberately changes the facts to persuade the viewers to his viewpoint, that America should have stricter laws on gun control.