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First Responders to Mass Shootings Speak Up

Dec 14, 2017 | 625 videos
Video by ITVS Independent Lens

“When we hear about the next [mass shooting] tragedy, it’s heartbreaking, and it rips open the scabs from December 14,” says Dr. William Begg in Kim A. Snyder’s We Are All Newtown. Begg was a first responder when—five years ago today—a gunman took the lives of 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School. “I want to recognize the valiant efforts of the first responders,” Begg continues, “and the families whose loved ones actually made it to the ER….We all tried our best.”


Snyder’s three-film series follows doctors with mass-shooting experience who are “investigating the issue of gun violence as one of a public health crisis,” Snyder told The Atlantic. “We have heard the rising voices of emergency health workers who are on the front lines of gun violence each day. They are the ones who spend sleepless nights replaying moments of trying to stop bleeds and informing loved ones in waiting rooms about the suicides, homicides, and mass shootings that make up the nearly 34,000 gun deaths each year. They are also often in the best positions to analyze how many of these deaths might be preventable, informed by increased research and policy reform.”


After responding to each respective mass shooting, many of the doctors featured in the film formed attachments to patients and victims’ families. “In my experience, these doctors are stoic and heroic voices in this struggle to keep Americans safe,” Snyder said.


Author: Emily Buder

About This Series

A showcase of short films curated by The Atlantic