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Gun Shot Wound 2022

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Good Docs
Produced by Jody Schiliro, Jenniphr Goodman, and Eric Mofford
Directed by Jody Schiliro
Streaming, 52 mins

Middle School - General Adult
Activism; Community Health Services; Crime

Date Entered: 03/28/2024

Reviewed by Monique Threatt, Indiana University, Herman B Wells Library, Bloomington, IN

“Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane. Half of the articles in Annals of Internal Medicine are pushing for gun control. Most upsetting, however, the medical community seems to have consulted NO ONE but themselves….Stay in your lane.” NRA statement posted to X (formerly Twitter) on November 7, 2018
"#ThisIsOurLane.” – Trauma surgeon and survivor of gun violence, Doctor Joseph Sakran, Johns Hopkins Hospital Trauma Bay

This informative feature length documentary is a poignant and eye-opening film that delves deep into the devastating impact of gun violence on communities across the United States. Through a multi-faceted narrative, the film offers a compelling portrayal of the human cost of this pervasive issue. The film goes behind the scenes and interviews trauma surgeons from three of the busiest trauma centers in the United States -- the Jacobi Trauma Center, Bronx, New York, Temple Trauma Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins Hospital Trauma Bay, Baltimore, Maryland. It sheds light on the harrowing experiences of trauma surgeons who confront the grim realities of gun violence on a daily basis. Viewers are given a raw and unfiltered glimpse into the overwhelming stress and emotional toll faced by these medical professionals as they navigate the trauma ward, delivering heartbreaking news to families and seeing the profound loss inflicted by bullets.

It should be noted that according to a 2021 Pew Research Study, “More Americans died of gun-related injuries in 2021 than in any other year on record, according to the latest available statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2021, the most recent year for which complete data is available, 48,830 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S. That figure includes gun murders and gun suicides, along with three less common types of gun-related deaths tracked by the CDC: those that were accidental, those that involved law enforcement and those whose circumstances could not be determined.” This is an astonishingly high number of deaths attributed to gun violence.

As the narrative unfolds, the perspective shifts to the individuals directly affected by gun violence from survivors grappling with life-altering injuries to families mourning the loss of loved ones. One particularly powerful interview features a gunshot survivor lamenting the profound impact a bullet had on his life, robbing him of the chance to pursue dreams of marriage and parenthood since he was just 8 years old.

Throughout the documentary, the film highlights the societal and political dimensions of the gun violence epidemic, advocating for meaningful gun reform. While this adds a layer of urgency to the narrative, viewers may find the overt political stance detracts from the raw emotional impact of the personal stories shared.

Intertwined with stories from trauma surgeons, the film introduces viewers to community-based response teams dedicated to preventing further violence in the aftermath of shootings. These grassroots initiatives infuse a glimmer of hope amidst the despair, offering support and reassurance to communities reeling from the trauma of gun violence. One notable aspect of the documentary is its challenge to the notion that gun violence in urban environments is a "natural occurrence." While the film effectively underscores this point, a more robust exploration could have been achieved by including perspectives from victims of gun violence in rural or suburban areas.

In conclusion, Gun Shot Wound is a powerful and thought-provoking documentary that shines a light on the human stories behind the statistics of gun violence. Through its compelling narrative and emotional resonance, the film serves as a call to action, urging viewers to confront the urgent need for comprehensive solutions to this pressing societal issue. Although this documentary is one of several to address gun violence in America, this reviewer feels that this film has a place in high school, public, and academic film collections. I believe the film could have had a greater appeal if it included interviews with opposing viewpoints. I highly recommend this film for the study of activism, crime, gun control, and those in the medical field.

Human Rights Award, Mystic Film Festival

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