Of the many memorable scenes in the American documentary "Bowling for Columbine," the most outstanding episode takes place at a bank.

Michael Moore, who wrote, directed and narrated the film, visits the bank upon seeing its advertisement promising a free gun to customers when they open a savings account by making a deposit.

Moore makes the required deposit and fills out the forms. After receiving a brand new rifle, he asks: "Do you think it's a little dangerous handing out guns at a bank?"

What motivated Moore to denounce America's extremely lax gun control through this film was the massacre at the Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.

Seeing this film again, my immediate thought was that nothing seems to have changed since I first watched it years ago. In one scene, the father of a Columbine victim tells Moore, "Something is wrong in this country."

And right now, the country is reeling from the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida that claimed 17 lives.

But if something has changed since 1999, it is in the outrage now being expressed and shared by young Americans, especially high school students.

The Asahi Shimbun has run pictures of demonstrating students holding placards with messages such as "Protect the kids, not your guns" and "No more silence. End gun violence." There was also a report of irate high school students confronting Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a staunch gun-rights advocate, over gun control.

The Florida high school shooting was the 18th incident of its kind this year. About 300 million guns in circulation in America are owned by private citizens.

With these numbers, it is as if the entire country is a combat zone. The situation calls for the most daunting task of what would amount to "disarmament."

President Donald Trump has suggested arming school teachers with guns as a means for controlling the situation. He is obviously echoing the sentiments of Americans who believe in "fighting guns with guns," which is what every arms race is about.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 24

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.