2016. USA. Dir: Keith Maitland. Documentary/Animation. 92 min.
Before mass shootings became a depressingly regular event, a 1966 incident at the University of Texas at Austin shook the entire nation. Combining archival footage with rotoscope animation, Maitland retells how a shooter held the campus hostage for 96 minutes from atop the university’s bell tower, and how a few brave souls saved hundreds of lives that day.
There will be a moment of silence before the screening for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.
A few days ago, I posted a link to a petition that urges the White House to start a debate about gun control on my Facebook because of the Sandy Hook shooting. Thankfully, it seems as though the White House is finally on the road to enacting gun control reforms, after years of infuriating inaction. To my surprise, however, the first comment under my post was a criticism of my logic, in which the author inserted a link to this Christian Post article and argued the following:
I think the problem is how mental illness is addressed in this nation, and NOT guns. The assault weapons ban expired years ago, and nothing changed; to put another ban in place without addressing other problems in our society will only make people feel good. It’s funny that bibles are allowed to be read in prisons, but not in our public schools. Too bad that a mentally sick person has to commit a serious crime before he gets off the street and into an institution where help is rendered…just saying.
The person who posted this is a member of my family, whom I get along with and love deeply. Additionally, I agree with him to a slight extent, in that I think mental illness is an important factor in mass shootings and gun regulation (but my agreements end there). Because of all this, I found it very difficult to react to his views in my typical fashion — that is, with rage and a righteous affirmation that “he’s an ignorant, Bible thumping conservative who just doesn’t get it.” While part of me still thinks this about people who claim “guns aren’t the problem,” having a close family member voice this opinion gave me pause, because I care for and respect him. Ultimately, I decided to respond to him, and I have copied my rebuttal to his comment here.