Review – 30 Days:Gun Nation

July 2, 2008

Just happened to catch this while channel surfing – it’s episode 5 of Morgan Spurlock’s third season of this show (and just for the record – this show was rated V for violence, despite the only thing getting shot here were clay pigeons and paper targets!).

In it, we meet Pia…


who’s a hip-hop dace instructor in a suburb of Massachusetts (yeah, that would be a perfect place to find somebody supporting gun control – just ask No Looking Backwards  http://massbackwards.blogspot.com/ )

She lost a good friend to gun violence, so guns represent evil to her, and she’s all for guns in the hands of police and military only.  The show never asks (or cut out) why, with one of the tightest gun control situations around in the US, someone managed to get a gun in Massachusetts in any event, but on we go…

She is assigned for 30 days to a single parent in Leesburg Ohio, Ken Ekermeyer, and his son Zach, who the show depict as having their lives revolve solely around firearms – which I can maybe see as being the thrust of the show, but I think a lot got left on the cutting room floor depicting Ken & Zach as normal people.

While I sympathize with Pia’s loss, it doesn’t help her cause in my mind if she’s such a fragile butterfly that she can’t even shoot one shell at a clay target without breaking out into tears (though to the show’s credit, she manages to see Ken & Zach as something close to normal by the end of the show).  I have to hand it to her that she knows she has been traumatized and admits it, which seemed to me to be an admission of her biases.

In between working at a sporting goods store and a gun show, she attempts to broaden Zach’s horizons by taking him on a college tour, saying “If he wasn’t so completely engrossed in this culture, he’d have more opportunities available to him.”  He goes on the tour, only perking up when he hears the campus has a pistol and rifle team.  Guess that opportunity slipped by her…

She also introduces Ken & Zach to a couple of local gun control advocates – notably, also women and also having lost loved ones to gun violence.  Ken aquits himself well against the advocates, but it still comes down to emotion versus reason, going so far as to assign an emotion to our specifically enumerated right (thanks Heller):

That is the biggest difference you’re going to see between your mindset, that is filled with fear, and ours, that is filled with grief.

(Funniest thing in the show – Zach, who went probably against his will to this meeting, slumped on a bench like a 90 year old man. Typical teenager!)

Eventually, she meets a family who has had to defend themselves from a crazed person with a gun, which helps her to soften her views (indeed; she refers to the desire of having a gun in the house for self-defense as a “common excuse”, so I’m glad the producers threw us a bone there).

Overall, I get the feeling Spurlock was preaching to the choir, but watch it if you’ve got the time.

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