Slice of Life: Good Guy with a Gun

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge for March, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We are writing each day about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

sol16We have a lot of artists in our neighborhood, including a handful of filmmakers. Our very good friend has worked as video editor for years with Ken Burns. Another friend has won awards for her documentary films. You can’t toss an apple without hitting a creative type around here.

The other night, two of our neighbors invited us to a “screening” of a video trailer they have been working on in hopes of beginning the process of approaching foundations and other funding sources to complete the film, which is a documentary look at the arming of teachers with guns in parts of the country. They have done a bunch of filming already, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign (that we contributed to), and so the trailer for Good Guy with a Gun (the working title) is excellent, if a little unnerving to watch.

We see teachers getting training with guns, learn about the dangers of having live guns in schools, get images and news clips from Sandy Hook and the NRA, and hear parents talk of the fears they have of violence in schools. It’s a powerful film they are making.

Sitting there, as an audience member taking notes on the unfinished work of talented filmmakers, was a humbling experience. There were lots of suggestions from the handful of folks in the room, but I was reminded again of the craft of filmmakers to take raw footage and create dramatic tension and narrative storyline out of interviews and video shots.

I hope they get some big moneybags to fund the film, if only to continue to spark discussions about guns and culture in not just America, but in the very heart of our communities — our schools. I know I, for one, can’t ever imagine having a gun at my side or in a nearby safe in my classroom. But I also don’t know what the answer is to the increasing violence of our society, short of “more gun control” that Congress is not apt to agree to (for now, anyway, thanks to the NRA’s lobbying efforts).

Peace (not guns),

  1. Eye-opening… My mom was a teacher when I was born, and I can’t imagine her being in the film handling a gun and being part of this new reality of American schools. I particularly loved your opening paragraph with “you can’t toss an apple without hitting a creative type around here.”

  2. I can’t imagine teachers having guns. I know that we have more violence today than in the past, but I think if guns are around then there are always more chances for accidents to happen. I don’t think this is the solution. I am a teacher and I would prefer to take my chances than have teachers with guns.

  3. I would have loved to be able to bring my gun to school as a teacher. I don’t want to have my kids in a huddled whimpering mass in a corner of the room.
    I remember when kids had guns in school – rifle club members commonly rode the bus with rifles. It was not a strange thing. One of our old school buildings has a shooting range in it.
    Until society changes, you can’t put up a sign saying you are a “gun-free zone” and not expect to attract “bad guns” to easy pickings (they use the signs in a different way than we’d hoped). A change isn’t looking promising without the “good guys” standing up for themselves and others again.
    I am a good shooter, I wear a white hat. I would protect my classes at all costs. Only when we can refuse to be victims on our own territory can we truly be free. Guns are not bad. People are. I would be one of the last to want to have to use it, and the first to want our old world back, where guns are for recreational, safe shooting by sane people… I’d like lots of stuff back that we don’t have any more. Until that day, I don’t want to be a “government endorsed” victim.
    I’m sorry I misread your meaning in this post. I thought you really were thanking the NRA. Sorry. I guess I’ll post this anyway.
    Though I’ve just made myself a target. I guess that’s what you do when you stand up for what you believe.
    I’m not for shoot-’em-ups, I’m for an end to insanity. And I for one applaud the efforts of the NRA.

    • H Donna. It’s OK if we don’t agree on this. I am grateful that you did post it. There are many different opinions, and while I may not agree with you, I respect your opinion and appreciate the insights.

  4. My son is in film school and has found that he is drawn to the documentary side of the industry. It has been fascinating to watch him use his creativity to make a story out of a seemingly inconsequential topic. He is definitely learning the power of a well-done documentary, even for those who don’t agree with the topic. Or maybe, especially for those who don’t agree with the topic. We can all learn from respectfully listening to, and learning from, all sides.

  5. What a atmosphere to live in. A candy store for me too!!! Can’t say I could see myself with a gun but hey wouldn’t it be great to see every kid with video camera instead…
    Interesting issue to take on that’s for sure.

  6. I would also be humbled by the chance to critique a documentary. Filming is not my strong suit; and I can’t imagine the organization it takes to put a whole documentary together.

  7. I struggle immensely with the proposition of teachers carrying guns. It is an anathema to me. I also struggle with the general culture surrounding guns in the U.S. As an Australian looking in, it totally confounds me. Documentary making is a critical craft. It is essential to a questioning society. more power to those who raise such important provocations. Thanks again Kevin for sharing this through your writing.

  8. What an interesting evening – to share in the creation of a documentary, at least to give your input. What a charged topic tho. I cannot imagine having guns in schools. But something most definitely must be done to curb violence everywhere.

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