Documentary looks at STL gun violence

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“Blood Brothers,” a new documentary on gun violence and its underlying causes in St. Louis, premiered at Saint Louis University on Thursday, April 25.

The documentary was commissioned by SLU researcher Sharon Frey and was a collaboration of efforts among herself and her two co-workers, Anene and Jim.

It is dedicated to everyone who is affected by gun violence, “at both ends of the barrel.”

In order to allow for a “reflecting point” after each issue on gun violence is presented, the documentary was separated into five DVDs of 30-minute segments–each one addressing a different aspect of gun violence.

Frey says she began this project out of a desire to do something meaningful for the people of St. Louis, “because I am a member of the St. Louis Community, and our community is only as strong as its weakest parts.”

The city of St. Louis averages about 130 murders a year and is usually included in the top 10 youth gunshot death rates in the United States.

“Right now, we have too many fingers pulling too many triggers,” Jim Hauschultz, writer and director of the documentary, said.

Hauschultz was inspired by the idea of the film after learning a sad truth at a school one day.

Inquiring as to why one of the young students was at school after her cousin had been killed the day before, Hauschultz discovered that it was because she felt “safe and loved” at the school.

One of the documentary segments, “The Children of Eden,” focuses solely on high school teenagers and includes interviews about their life backgrounds and expectations. Other segments to the documentary include “St. Louis Under the Gun,” “Raising Cains,” “Blue Bloods” and “Bullet Points.”

Each one provides different perspectives on the issue, from law enforcement officers, to social workers, to ex-offenders with felony convictions.

Frey said that the documentary shows “a violence that happens everyday,” and expresses “what people at both ends of the barrel have to say.”

The documentary aims to understand how and why gun violence is so prevalent in St. Louis among young males, primarily in their middle teens.

Frey questioned how young teens could overcome the “natural reluctance to kill” that most people possess.

“Military people have to learn and be trained how to kill someone. How does a 13-year-old black boy get to that same point? How does he get that training?” Hauschultz asks.

The underlying cause for this issue, Frey said, lies in the “socioeconomic concerns in certain parts of the city where people are disenfranchised.”

A lack of education, employment opportunities and hope for the future all contribute to this issue of gun violence among our youth.

In creating this documentary, Frey’s goal is to educate people about the issue of gun violence in St. Louis and to help people to understand the root cause of this violence so that meaningful solutions can be established.

Frey hopes to distribute the free documentary to schools, universities, libraries, communities and other areas of St. Louis affected by gun violence.