Currently, “the issue” is often framed in arguments over gun control and Second Amendment rights, in other words, more guns versus less guns. American Totem suggests that this debate is a distraction to addressing the real issues in America today, issues such as the rise of suicides in predominantly rural areas, among older White men with access to firearms; a connection between domestic violence and mass shootings; the largely unaddressed homicide rate of Black males in inner cities.
The unprecedented number of guns in circulation today and a rise in highly publicized mass shootings has forced the issue of gun violence into the national conversation.
Today, it is clear that neither side is listening to the other. Positions have been articulated; lines have been drawn; sides have been chosen. It is time for a new way to think about guns and gun violence.
This film acknowledges the debate, exposes its fallacies and myths, and offers a powerful alternative question: “What makes a good society and how do we get there?” The film does not presume to answer this question, but it presents neglected viewpoints and personal narratives that redirect both the conversation and community action toward repairing American Totem.