Columbine Files


"The Lost Boys"

John Ruffle. London, England.
24th November 1999

Review of the BBC Columbine Documentary:

“MODERN TIMES The Lost Boys”
Aired on British nationwide television, 2100 hours GMT, Wednesday 24th november 1999.

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 me.

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....


John Ruffle





Copyright 1999-2006 John E. Ruffle, London, England. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy unedited extracts for non-profit making purposes with author's credit and this copyright notice intact.

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