The Path to Violence

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week PBS will present a series of programs under the moniker “After Newtown”.  After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary PBS asked the producers of  FRONTLINE and NOVA to focus an upcoming show around this terrible tradegy.  They responded with their usual standard of excellence to provide two new programs focusing on what makes a killer.  In addition to these two great programs PBS will also present  GUNS IN AMERICA,  a look at America’s enduring relationship with guns and the program we’ll focus on here, THE PATH TO VIOLENCE.

Ever since the wake-up call that was Columbine, schools and law enforcement have developed multiple strategies to prevent these types of attacks.  More than 120 school assaults have been thwarted in the past 10 years. And 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 an effective Secret Service program, the Safe School Initiative, that’s helped schools detect problem behavior in advance. However despite the progress being made, recent attacks have revealed a gaping hole in the  safety net. Adam Lanza, Jared Loughner and allegedly James Holmes all executed their attacks after they’d left their respective schools.  Is the country ready to have a national conversation about the balance between safety and civil liberties that such interventions would require?

THE PATH TO VIOLENCE airs Wednesday, February 20 at 10pm on WOSU TV with an encore presentation Thursday, February 21 at 10pm on WOSU PLUS.