In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, PBS continues its coverage with a series of specials from PBS NewsHour, Frontline, Washington Week, NOVA and more, looking at gun laws, mental illness and school security.
After Newtown: Guns in America (Tues., Feb. 18, 9 p.m.; Thurs., Feb. 21, 10 p.m.)
After Newtown: Guns in America is an unprecedented exploration of America's enduring relationship with firearms. From the first European settlements in the New World to frontier justice; from 19th Century immigrant riots to gangland violence in the Roaring Twenties; from the Civil War to Civil Rights, guns have been at center of our national narrative for four hundred years. Americans have relied on guns to sustain communities, challenge authority, and keep the peace. Efforts to curtail their distribution and ownership have triggered epic political battles. On one side, the cry for gun control gets louder with each mass shooting. And on the other, Charlton Heston's 2000 rallying cry, "From my cold, dead hands," still resonates across the land.
Frontline: Raising Adam Lanza (10 p.m.)
In the wake of the mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Frontline investigates a young man and the town he changed forever. Adam Lanza left behind a trail of death and destruction, but little else. He left no known friends, no diary. He destroyed his computer and any evidence it might have provided. His motives, and his life, remain largely a mystery.
In collaboration with The Hartford Courant, Frontline looks for answers to the central—and so far elusive—question: who was Adam Lanza? Also this hour: In the aftermath of the tragedy, President Obama called for a national conversation about guns in America. Nowhere is that conversation more intense than in Newtown, where Frontline finds a town divided and explores how those closest to the tragedy are now wrestling with our nation's gun culture and laws.
NOVA: Mind of a Rampage Killer | Wednesday, Feb. 20, 9 p.m.
What makes a person walk into a theater or a church or a classroom full of students and open fire? What combination of circumstances compels a human being to commit the most inhuman of crimes? Can science in any way help us understand these horrific events and provide any clues as to how to prevent them in the future? As the nation tries to understand the tragic events at Newtown, NOVA correspondent Miles O’Brien separates fact from fiction, investigating new theories that the most destructive rampage killers are driven most of all, not by the urge to kill, but the wish to die. Could suicide–and the desire to go out in a media-fueled blaze of glory–be the main motivation? How much can science tell us about the violent brain? Most importantly, can we recognize dangerous minds in time—and stop the next Newtown?
The Path to Violence | Wednesday, Feb. 20, 9 p.m.
Ever since Columbine, schools and law enforcement have developed multiple strategies to prevent attacks. More than 120 school assaults have been thwarted in the past ten years. And remarkably, while security hardware and physical barriers can play a deterrent role, it’s been psychologists — working hand in hand with law enforcement officers — who have come up with the most helpful tools to prevent violent attacks.
The Path to Violence tells the story of a powerfully effective Secret Service program — the Safe School Initiative — that’s helped schools detect problem behavior in advance.