LOS ANGELES, August 15, 2000 Hoping to increase awareness and understanding of gun-related issues, the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC), with partial funding from the Joyce Foundation, has just released "Putting a Face on Firearm Statistics," a compendium of newspaper stories and related statistics concerning firearm use.
This assemblage was compiled by and for the entertainment industry to offer its creative community some new colors for their story line palettes. If firearms are to be portrayed on screen, it is hoped that the community will explore avenues beyond the traditional "shoot-em ups," avenues which reflect unbiased research and unadorned reality.
"The EIC is not encouraging the presense of forearms on screen," said Brian Dyak, President and CEO of EIC. "But if guns are to be shown, these stories provide a wellspring of ideas for writers and producers who'd like to move past stylized shoot-outs in their depictions."
Some of the articles in "Putting a Face on Firearm Statistics," were selected because of the compelling tales they tell; others were picked because they so aptly depict a research statistic in action. These real-life stories are rife with irony (like the piece about a businesswoman who killed her husband with a gun she gave him as a Christmas gift); pathos (a teenager, overcome with thinking he he'd accidentally shot his father while hunting, turned the gun on himself); and drama (a 15 year old was torn by guilt after unintentionally shooting his girlfriend with a gun they found).
Many of the clps are paired with statistics and research findings that give scope and meaning to the stories, just as the stories give life to the sterility of the data. For example, an article about the chance encounter of an 18 year old with gang members that led to his shooting death is accompanied by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistic that nearly 90% of homicide victims 15 to 19 years old were killed with a firearm. A story about a Marine who impulsively put a gun barrel in his mouth and shot after flunking a rifle range test is matched with an eye-opening statistic that 54% of firearm deaths in the U.S. are suicides.
Chapters titled "Unintentional Shootings", "Suicides" and "Kids and Guns" probe facets of firearm use not often delineated on screen.. Subchapters like "Women, Loved Ones and Bullets", "Triggers and Hair-Trigger Tempers", "The Aftermath-Effects on the Victims and Their Families" and "Toy Guns, But Real Wounds" flesh out the dry and depressing data scattered among them.
"The EIC believes that the anecdotal and research-oriented approach taken in "Putting a Face on Firearm Statistics" will not only launch fresh story ideas, but will imbue scripts with a sense of authenticity and credibility," added Dyak. "Ideally, these portrayals translate from screen into increased firearm safety and decreased gun violence among the viewing public."
EIC is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 by the entertainment industry to lead the industry in bringing its power and influence to bear on health and social issues. The Joyce Foundation, based in Chicago, supports work on education, environment, and other issues that affect the Great Lakes region. Since 1993, it has awarded over $17 million to groups working to reduce gun violence in the region and nationally.