Settle in for gun violence marathon

Guns have become the topic du jour in America.

Do we regulate their sale and purchase? Do we leave well enough alone? Has the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., changed the dynamic of the always-contentious debate over guns, the Second Amendment and whether government has any options to control gun violence?

KACV-TV viewers will get a week of informative television viewing … and it’s going to center on guns from several fascinating perspectives. PBS is looking at the nation “After Newtown” and what that horrific school massacre has done to the tone and tenor of the debate over gun violence in America. The programs will be compelling.

PBS NewsHour programming will examine gun violence with the depth that public TV viewers have come to expect. It starts Monday with the NewsHour broadcast, at 6 p.m. on KACV-TV, looking at the upcoming week and the issues the program’s team of experienced journalists seeks to cover. The NewsHour will look at the reaction to Newtown from Aurora, Colo., which experienced an earlier gun massacre.

On Tuesday, “Guns in America” will be shown at 8 p.m., and it will examine the place guns have had in our national narrative for hundreds of years. It takes us from the earliest European settles to the era of frontier justice; it walks us through the Roaring Twenties and the gang violence that erupted all across the nation; the program examines the era from the Civil War to the civil rights revolution. Guns have been a part of it all.

“Frontline” will be shown at 9 p.m. Tuesday and it looks at the very short life of young Adam Lanza, the Newtown, Conn., shooter whose killing spree left 26 innocent victims dead, including the most innocent of all, the 20 first-graders he gunned down in their Sandy Hook Elementary School classroom. The other six were teachers who died trying to save the lives of the children in their care. Lanza’s insane act has spawned the debate that is flowing over the country to this day.

Then comes Wednesday night’s showing on NOVA of the “Mind of a Rampage Killer,” at 8 p.m. NOVA will look at how science can help tell us about the mind of a brain at risk for violence. At 9 p.m., “Path to Violence” gives viewers a chance to learn about the Safe Schools Initiative that helps educators detect problem behavior before it erupts in violent acts.

The Frontline episode on young Adam Lanza will re-air Thursday night and on Friday, Washington Week in Review will air at 7 p.m. to discuss gun violence in a roundtable discussion that has become the staple of public affairs TV viewers for years.

Throughout the week, the NewsHour will focus on the issue in a series of broadcasts that seek to single out specific elements of the problem. After the Monday broadcast centering on Aurora residents’ reaction, the NewsHour on Tuesday examines the impact video games have on young people’s behavior; on Wednesday, it focuses on the science of gun violence; on Thursday, the program zeroes in on the debate over concealed handgun carry laws in Florida; and on Friday, the NewsHour takes an in-depth look at gun violence as a threat to public health.

You want thorough examination of this profoundly serious issue? Public television has it for you on KACV-TV.

Public television once again is stepping into the maelstrom of debate with smart and analytical broadcasts that seek to report fully all aspects of a compelling national issue.

And it gets no more compelling than guns.


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