This series is part of Independent Lens‘s commitment to fostering collaboration between filmmakers and journalists.
“We Are All Newtown” was originally published by People Magazine.
Ripple Effect’ of Gun Violence Prevention Efforts
In Part 1 of the web series We Are All Newtown, Pastor Sam Saylor, a minister in Hartford, Connecticut, whose son Shane was shot and killed not long before the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, meets with other faith leaders nationwide to grapple with the epidemic of gun violence. Pastor Saylor laments the country’s failure to acknowledge the steady plight of urban gun violence. Newtown’s Reverend Matt Crebbin agrees, and Pastor Saylor, Rev. Crebbin and others begin advocating for the creation of an urban/suburban alliance to stop the rising tide of gun violence.
How a Pulse Shooting Survivor and a Newtown Trauma Surgeon Are Facing Gun Violence
Part 2 of the web series We Are All Newtown profiles Dr. Bill Begg, an emergency room trauma surgeon who dealt with victims of the Newtown massacre. He joins doctors in Florida who treated those shot at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando (the largest mass shooting in US history, with 49 people killed) in calling for more research into gun violence as a public health crisis. Soon after the Newtown shooting, Dr. Begg had testified before Congress in an appeal for gun law reform. As the number of mass shootings continues to rise, Dr. Begg joins a gathering in Florida of over 700 trauma surgeons from across the country to discuss the growing public health epidemic. This piece also includes an interview with Javier, a survivor of the Orlando shooting, who was badly wounded and lost four friends that night, and who continues to bear both the physical and emotional scars from the massacre.
How to Have a Civil, Productive Discourse on Gun Violence?
Part 3 of the web series We Are All Newtown goes to Tallahassee, Florida, where Mayor Andrew Gillum, the local sheriff, a student victim of a shooting at Florida State University, and NRA gun safety instructors are dealing with what gun safety measures are needed to protect the lives of local citizens. But pro-gun groups have sued the city of Tallahassee over its gun safety laws and the Florida legislature threatened the mayor and other local officials with fines and penalties. The student, who was paralyzed when he was shot in Tallahassee’s Strozier Library, says he believes allowing for open campus carry of guns would not have prevented the fate that befell him. Tallahassee Sheriff Walt McNeil is encouraged by middle-ground views he sees in his community as he calls for civil dialogue on the use of firearms. We also meet local NRA members who wrestle with their commitment to 2nd Amendment rights while supporting the need for “common sense” gun policy reform to reduce gun deaths, reminding us that “we are all Newtown.”