PBS America has announced a new season of documentary specials titled Guns In America, which will explore America’s gun culture, set to air on the channel from Tuesday May 21st.
Guns In America takes a look at mass shootings, an issue that has been plaguing the United States since Columbine. The season comprises of four specials that were originally commissioned by PBS state-side in response to the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, last December. These four specials (The Path To Violence, Mind of a Rampage Killer, Raising Adam Lanza and Guns In America) were originally broadcast across one week on PBS as part of the channel’s After Newtown strand. A fifth special which will also air as part of PBS America’s Guns In America season is Killer At Thurston High, which looks at the school shooting at Thurston High School in 1998.
“Once again PBS has done an impressive job of tackling the white-hot issue of America’s gun culture, with respect for all sides of the argument”, said Richard Kingsbury, General Manager of PBS America. “Four special programmes tackle the history of guns in America, the psychology of the killers and the heart breaking human stories involved. Troubled teens and gun culture are growing issues here in the UK and there is much we can learn.”
Full Details of PBS America’s Guns In America Season Follows Below:
Killer At Thurston High – (Tuesday May 21st, 9pm)
In this documentary, Frontline goes behind the headlines of the tragic case of Kip Kinkel, a seemingly normal 15 year-old from a solid middle-class family who made headlines in 1998 when he murdered his parents and then opened fire on his fellow students, killing two and injuring 22 others. This 12-month investigation includes interviews with Kinkel’s friends, family and counselors, as well as with his sister, Kristin.
Path To Violence – (Wednesday May 22nd, 9pm)
Path To Violence examines the various tools used by psychologists and law enforcement professionals to prevent violent attacks, including a US Secret Service program known as the Safe Schools Initiative which has prevent as many as 120 school attacks since 2000. However the cases involving Adam Lanza, Jared Lee Loughner and allegedly James Holmes all executed their attacks after they’d left school. Can the gains made by psychologists and law enforcement be extended to encompass parents (terrified of their own children and inadequately helped by mental health and legal systems) and families of violent individuals? Is America ready for a national conversation about the balance between school safety and civil liberties that interventions, including gun control, require?
Mind Of A Rampage Killer – (Thursday May 23rd, 7:50pm)
This Nova documentary explores what motivates a person to walk into a school or a cinema and indiscriminately open fire. Nova correspondent Miles O’Brien investigates theories into what drives these rampage killers, including suicide-by-cop and the desire to go out in a media-fueled blaze of glory. How much can science tell us about a brain at risk for violence? Most important, can we recognize dangerous minds in time to stop the next Newtown?
Raising Adam Lanza – (Thursday May 23rd, 9pm)
In this documentary, Frontline explores the case of Adam Lanza who committed the shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. With the help of Newtown’s local paper this documentary explores his motives and looks for answers to the central question: Who was Adam Lanza? In the aftermath of the tragedy, President Obama called for a national conversation about guns. Nowhere is that conversation more intense than in Newtown, where Frontline finds a town divided and explores how those closest to the tragedy are wrestling with America’s gun culture and laws.
Guns In America – (Friday May 24th, 9pm)
In what is described as an unprecedented exploration of America’s relationship with firearms, Guns In America tracks this difficult history from the first European settlements in the New World right on through to frontier justice, the Civil War and the civil rights movement. Americans have relied on guns to sustain communities, challenge authority, and keep the peace. Efforts to curtail their distribution and ownership have triggered epic political battles. This program traces the evolution of guns in America, their frequent links to violence and the clash of cultures that reflect competing visions of America’s national identity.