Requests for ‘Trigger’ screenings rise in wake of Newtown shootings
PDA documentary on gun violence airing on NBC stations, available to church groups
December 20, 2012
In the wake of the Dec. 14 school shootings in Newtown, Conn., requests for screenings of “Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence” have increased dramatically, according to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) and the National Council of Churches (NCC).
The documentary film was produced by PDA’s David Barnhart for the NCC, which distributes television programming through the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, a media coalition that includes the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It was released to NBC Television stations in mid-November for airing by network affiliate stations.
Since the Newtown tragedy, more stations have notified the NCC/IBC’s Shirley Struchen that they have scheduled “Trigger” for broadcast. “This is an extra push,” Struchen said.
PDA also reports that requests for screenings of “Trigger” have picked up in recent days as Presbyterians around the country seek to respond to the killing of 27 people, including 20 young children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last Friday.
A trailer for “Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence” is available on the “Trigger” website.
Promotional material sent to NBC stations describes “Trigger”: “In the United States more than 30,000 people are killed every year by gun violence and the disaster caused by gun violence is seen in almost every community. We may hear briefly about the victims and survivors of these shootings, but what happens after the media attention moves on and the wider public becomes numb to ‘just another shooting’?
“Drawing upon conversations with lawmakers, emergency room chaplains and surgeons, survivors and victims' families, former ATF officials, police officers, community leaders and others, "Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence" shares the story of how gun violence impacts individuals and communities and examines the ‘ripple effect’ that one shooting has on a survivor, a family, a community, and a society.”
PDA adds: “TRIGGER also addresses the critical issue of gun violence prevention (such as keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill) by moving the conversation away from the polarizing extremes that have long dominated the debate and lifting up the voice and experiences of those who seek common ground and a new way forward.”
Struchen urges people who want to see “Trigger” to contact their local NBC affiliate station and ask that the documentary be aired in their area. Barnhart, who lives in Atlanta said he called his local station this week and the program has now been scheduled for airing in Atlanta in January.
In a related move, the NCC’s Faith and Order and Interfaith Relations Commissions have drafted an “Open Letter to the Churches, and an Invitation to Participate in Theological Reflection, on the Extent of Violence in 2012.” The letter should be issued soon, NCC officials said. The NCC also called attention to its most recent policy statement on ending gun violence.
The PC(USA) has produced numerous resources to help congregations address their grief around gun violence and take effective action.