BBC 2 national television has just tonight aired the British-made one hour
Columbine documentary called “MODERN TIMES: The Lost Boys”, produced and
directed by Paul Tickell.
I had high hopes of how the documentary would come across, especially since
we have had the privilege of having the mother and step father of one of
the martyrs (Beth & Larry Nimmo) in our home here in London four months
after the tragedy. Unfortunately, my expectations were perhaps too high -
although the London Sunday Times (writing in politically-correct code)
stated that it “sensibly avoids a simplistic analysis” should have warned
The main problem with the documentary was that frankly, it glorified the
so-called “Trench Coat Mafia” at Columbine High, giving more screen time to
their black-dressed spokesman than any one other single person. The
documentary lingers chillingly on the practice firing range, gratuitously
shooting an old TV set while counting the TV’s “exit wounds”. Worse still,
satanic rituals were depicted, the address of a pipe bomb web site was
shown, and we were treated to an overview of how to make pipe bombs from
fireworks. If that wasn’t enough, there were expansive and explicit
voice-overs of one of the two teenage killers diary or web site (hard to
tell what it was - other than offensive, that is).
On the plus side, one survivor told of how she had called out on Jesus, and
was protected by what “must have been angels”. Rachel’s mother Beth Nimmo
was, as expected, featured sympathetically and Trinity Christian Centre
featured quite prominently. Unfortunately, the BBC managed to (presumably)
manipulate sound bites of survivors (including Rachel’s brother) to totally
discredit the fact that several victims were asked if they believed in God
before being shot.
Neither Pastor Bruce Porter nor Celebration Christian Centre were
mentioned, and the memorial service (which got one of the highest
world-wide audience ratings ever on atheist Ted Turner’s CNN) wasn’t
featured. “Torchgrab” didn’t make it either, although I’m not totally
surprised by this, since I’m fairly certain that the film was at least in
rough cut prior to the launch of “Torchgrab” nationwide youth rallies.
(Good material for a follow-up documentary).
From a cinematic point of view, there were too many tenuously related
“fill” shots. (Have things changed that much since I studied documentary
film making?) The film skimmed the surface of the pond, skipping as it
went, where it could have been a pebble set to make a warning splash for us
all. A pity the BBC didn’t fork out to send the crew back to Littleton to
film the first day of the Fall Term at Columbine. At the same time, they
could have caught that first “Torchgrab” rally. Even without a return
visit, a few CNN clips of the now famous Memorial services could easily
replaced so much screen time of guns, guns and yet more guns.
While perhaps one of America’s biggest problems is a gun-crazy mentality,
(even many born-again Christians hold guns for self defense in US - a
totally incomprehensible stance for British Christians) one of Britain’s
greatest flaws is our over-intellectualism. And that translates into a
politically-correct TV programme not being allowed to draw any moral
conclusions - something that even the reprobate Jerry Springer attempts to
do in his own way as he wraps up each day. In Britain, even more so than
Stateside, every viewer must be free to draw there own conclusions - after
being subtlety massaged by the media, of course. (And over here, we have no
main stream Christian television to redress the imbalance.)
My main concern after viewing “Modern Times: The Lost Boys” is that to an
unstable mind, (or a video-game saturated mind, which is like to be at
least a similar thing), the programme could be seen to be glorifying
violence. (To be fair, I really don’t think that this was the producers
intentions.) However, here in Britain, we too are promoting a culture in
which this type of carnage perpetrated by minds steeped in cunning,
wickedness, hatred and evil, could happen here in our nation. The average
level of responsibility of many viewers in Britain is, I fear, too low for
many of them to be able to draw moral conclusions from what was depicted
tonight. I admit that this reflects more on the society (or lack of it) in
which we live, than perhaps on the responsibility of these particular film
makers. However, in whatever context, “shock-value TV” rather than
producing moral virtue is more likely to feed “blood lust” in the depraved
minority who menace our society.
Documentaries such as tonight’s will not prevent moral decline - and a type
of lawlessness that could bring terror to our streets - and schools -
unless we are pro-active now. The new security system that my children’s
primary school has just fitted -laudable as that is- won’t prevent it.
However, a move of God will. And so I rest my case in saying that the
“Torchgrab” youth rally concept is a plan whose time has come - promoting
as it does RADICAL Christianity. And at the same time, let’s get UK’s Angel
Television Trust or some other competent Christian TV film makers along and
challenge our nation with whole hearted commitment to Jesus Christ. Not
politically correct. But there will be an awful lot of politically correct
devils in hell, while Heaven is a real place for the outspoken outcasts.
Like Jesus. The choice is ours....
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