*Showtime’s docuseries Active Shooter: America Under Fire takes an in-depth look at eight mass shootings in the U.S., from the Aurora, Colo., theater incident to the church shooting in Charleston, S.C., and the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando.
Watch the trailer above.
Each of the eight episodes chronicles a different mass shooting from the perspective of the victims and first responders offering a comprehensive, authentic examination of each tragedy. Within each incident, there are stories of extraordinary bravery and compassion as well as the factors that led to the deadly day.
From Sandy Hook to Las Vegas — many would debate that mass shootings have become an epidemic, and Active Shooter showrunner and EP, Star Price agrees, which is why Price teamed with Eli Holzman (Undercover Boss, Project Runway) and Aaron Saidman (Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath) of IPC to produce this series.
“Unfortunately, active shootings are occurring more and more frequently,” Price told with EUR. “Just in the last two months, we’ve seen two of the most lethal incidents occur, in Las Vegas and in Sutherland Springs, Texas. As a country, I fear that we’re becoming desensitized to these tragedies, and we seem to be unable to come together and put aside the politics inherent in the issue to discuss possible solutions. We felt that producing this series now was not only important but critical.”
Whether due to acts of terrorism, hate, or mental instability, mass shootings have become all too commonplace. And tragedies like this will increase if these factors are not considered before making gun ownership laws more lenient.
What I found most startling about this series was how quick the black victims of the Charleston Church massacre were to forgive racist shooter Dylann Roof. As one woman in the episode observed about this rush to forgive evil, “How do you forgive somebody 48 hours later?”
Peep the rest of our Q&A with Star Price below.
OTHER NEWS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Dylann Roof Pleads for Mercy; Asks Court to Overturn Death Sentence
Describe the creative process of putting this series together and what was most challenging?
Unfortunately, there were many active shooting incidents to choose from when we selected which eight to explore. In no way do we want to minimize the incidents that we didn’t choose to do. We went with the incidents we chose based on how, cumulatively, they would present the most comprehensive and enlightening understanding of the issue for viewers. In each of these episodes, when we were on location, the pain of the community involved was palpable. The most challenging aspect of producing the series was earning the trust of the people who experienced these tragedies so that they’d be willing to share their stories with us. It’s been very satisfying to hear their supportive reactions to our episodes as they’ve aired.
What are you hoping viewers take away from this series?
We wanted viewers to feel that this is an issue that must be addressed and addressed now. Pretending it’s not happening isn’t a solution. Also, by focusing on the people directly involved (first responders, victims, their families) and NOT the shooters, we hope viewers will gain a greater understanding of the toll these incidents have on the communities where they occur.
It seems like these shootings are becoming more frequent, like, they are contagious. Do you agree that mass shootings have become an epidemic?
Without a doubt. The question is, why? Some say it’s weak gun laws. Others say it’s a mental health issue. Others blame the media. But perhaps the real blame can be put on all of us because we seem unable to agree on a solution that would stop these incidents from happening.
Lastly, has exploring this subject been transformative for you in any way?
Producing and directing this project was incredibly transformative for me. I conducted 135 interviews for our eight episodes. Hearing these powerful stories definitely made me angry at times. But it also made me unexpectedly optimistic for the human condition. Hateful and disturbed people may have been responsible for these shootings, but along the way I met some incredibly brave, selfless and kind people. Overall, I found the experience very life-affirming.
The finale episode of Active Shooter (centered on Columbine) airs TONIGHT (Nov. 17) on Showtime.
Get caught up on the previous episodes by using your cable provider to stream the series on showtime.com.
Meanwhile, a question for our readers: Do you think stricter laws regarding who, when, and what type of weapons may be bought by civilians will stop, or curtail mass shootings in the U.S.?