In A Flash

"I don't want to die, I just want to go to school."

These words, spoken so simply by a 7 year-old girl after deliberate shots were fired into her classroom from the street, profoundly express the fear that many of our nation's children face every day. Tragedies associated with handgun violence among youth have unfortunately become all too familiar headlines in our daily newspapers.

From time to time we hear more tragic reports of children and teenagers who are both the victims and perpetrators of handgun violence. Incidents aren't just confined to urban areas, but affect rural communities as well. While the media tends to focus on the deaths that result, seldom does it report on those who become crippled or disabled. In fact, for every one child who is shot and killed, ten or more others suffer from permanent disabilities or remain confined to a wheelchair for life.

Program Description

In A Flash is a short (20 minutes) but powerful educational video-based program that addresses the irreversible consequences of gun violence among youth. Developed, produced and funded by Kids Do Matter, a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association, the video is targeted to middle school-aged youth. Reports indicate that it is also being used successfully with both younger children and older teens. Bold camera technique and upbeat music enhance the appeal to young video-sophisticated audiences. The video covers situations in which kids are most likely to encounter a gun or perhaps feel they need a gun. It graphically demonstrates the probable results of choosing a gun to deal with conflicts, and illustrates the very real and crippling effects of disfigurement, loss of limb or sight, paralyzing injuries, the pain of therapy and rehabilitation and the emotional endurance needed to live with a permanent disability and its social ramifications. In A Flash has been met with enthusiastic reviews and comments from users.

Designed to facilitate discussion in a classroom or small group setting, the video is accompanied by a resource guide for use by a teacher or other adult. It provides suggestions as to how the video and materials can be integrated into different subject areas within an academic curriculum. Toward the end of the video, three different questions are posed to the viewers. The facilitator is encouraged to stop the video at these points and initiate a dialog so that youth can discuss among themselves how they would handle these situations in which they encounter guns. They are prompted to suggest alternative behaviors to deal with peer pressure and conflict resolution.
Program Description

The Need

Unfortunately, the list of towns throughout the nation that have been rocked by tragedies involving kids and gun violence is growing at an alarming rate. Places such as Paducah, Kentucky; Pearl, Mississippi; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Columbine, Colorado; Edinboro, Pennsylvania; Fayetteville, Tennessee; and Springfield, Oregon have been "put on the map" as a result of senseless and horrific incidents of children shooting teachers and other children.

Gun violence among children is epidemic. Every day in America, 16 children ages 19 and under are killed in gun homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings. Many more are wounded (National Center for Health Studies, 1996). This is the equivalent of one classroom every day and a-half.

This is a health and social crisis affecting not just individuals and their families, but entire schools and communities. The results of gunshot injuries adversely impact our nation's health, education and economic resources. Repair and rehabilitation are often absorbed at public expense, as are the costs of social service programs for victims and families, as well as special education needs required for a permanently disabled child.

The children who are both the perpetrators and victims in these incidences seem to be getting younger all of the time. Not long ago, the Associated Press carried a story about a five-year old kindergarten student in Memphis, Tennessee who was arrested after bringing a loaded pistol to school because he "wanted to shoot and kill several pupils, as well as a teacher" because he had been punished with a passive form of discipline for young children known as "timeout" (Sunpapers, May 10, 2022).

The Journal of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reports that gun homicides by juveniles have tripled since 1983 (Snyder and Finnegan, 1997) and that teenage boys are more likely to die of gunshot wounds than from all other natural causes combined (McEnery, 1996). A 1993 Lou Harris poll reported that 35% of children ages 6 to 12 fear their lives will be cut short by gun violence (Lou Harris and Associates, Inc.. 1993).

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The 'In a Flash' video is a wonderful asset to our education program. Since last Spring, we have used In a Flash in nearly all of our presentations. It is by far, the very best video we have seen about gun violence. The video appeals to our young audiences, and sends a strong message about the consequences of misused handguns."

Nancy A. Fenton,
Executive Director
Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse

"I commend your organization for its fine work in developing the materials, and its goal to distribute the materials free to every middle school in the country. The video presents a clear message about the consequences of gun violence, and has the potential to help steer young people away from violent behavior. In addition, the materials are age appropriate, and provide realistic situations for student discussion and interaction."

William Modzeleski, Director
Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program
US Department of Education

"I was a public school teacher for 22 years, so I know the high quality of this teaching tool. Whoever produced it followed all the effective methods of motivation, teaching and learning theory. It should really impact any child who views and discusses it!...It really should be in schools everywhere."

Cynthia J. Watson
Training and Development Manager
Griffin Envelope Inc. Seattle, Washington

"I find it to be outstanding both from its format and content. This is truly a tremendous resource in educating our youth about gun violence. I personally feel that this video program is a 'must' and should be placed in the hands of churches, Y's, PAL groups and other organizations working with youths."

Thomas C. Scott, D.O.
Medical Director
St. Clare Medical Outreach Wilmington, Delaware

"During a recent showing of 'In A Flash' I noticed a young boy start to cry. After talking with him I discovered that he had been shot a few months earlier. He had told no one, not even his school counselor. I asked him if he would share his experiences with the group. He did and was able to work through some very terrifying issues."

Officer C. J. Bury, Jr.
Baltimore County Police Department

"The National Emergency Medicine Association has produced a thought-provoking video that I believe can be a very effective tool in preventing gun violence... In A Flash effectively captures the trauma and devastation caused by gun violence on the victims, their families, friends, and community. It shows likeable young people caught in situations that spiral out of control and lead to life altering consequences.
I support the National Emergency Medicine Association's efforts to distribute the film and curriculum guide to teachers and youth groups throughout the country..."

Benjamin L. Cardin
Member of Congress

"I applaud your organization's leadership role and efforts on behalf of prevention of gun violence among young people. ...I believe that "In a Flash" will compliment the ëProgram for Young Negotiators (conflict resolution program)' and, as such, the video will be distributed to the participating middle schools as part of our program."

Dennis C. Vacco
Attorney General, State of New York

"I want to bring to your attention an outstanding video and resource program produced by the National Emergency Medicine Association ("NEMA") which addresses the tragedy of gun violence among children. ...Teachers and school administrators have found In A Flash to be an effective tool for teaching kids the truth about violence and the life skills to handle many threatening situations, not just those involving guns. I urge you to review this excellent gun violence prevention program, and to consider what organizations in your state could help facilitate making the program available to your middle school students."

J. Joseph Curran, Jr.
Attorney General, State of Maryland

"The video 'In a Flash' was very useful during our 'Week Without Violence' and the 'Little Book of Parenting' is easy to read and very useful as well. Both items are excellent communicating tools and we are thrilled to provide such useful information to the clients we serve."

Mary S. Easley,
Director of Human Resources
YWCA of Greater Baltimore

"'In A Flash' is a very well made video and hits home with it's targeted audience...I have plans to incorporate viewing the video in all of the themes that I will be supporting. We feel that it will be particularly poignant during the summer months when the program will attract large numbers of children of all ages...both children and adults will benefit from its message."

Ramona Way,
Project Coordinator
Reach for Healthier Kids
Wilmington, Delaware

"We used this wonderful video...I have to tell you that the most enthusiastic response came from the teachers and the students who viewed "In A Flash." In fact, "Gunline' received several referrals from students who were concerned with others who may be 'gun involved'."

Ron Lebowitz
7th Grade Counselor
Perry Hall Middle School, Baltimore, Maryland

"...Reviews from staff and students who have already used the materials were all positive. The video was current and addressed the attitudes of many of our students. The questions were excellent and they stimulated great dialogue in the classrooms that I observed.We have found it to be an exceptional program."

Paula Fee, Director
Lynn Public Schools Wellness Dept.
Lynn, Massachusetts

"...We are grateful for this resource as it gives different views and perspectives about the consequences of violent action or gun use...Thank you for access to this powerful, dramatic, and helpful tool which we hope will be instrumental in making our citizens safer and more aware."

Percy Brown, Coordinator
Regional Alcohol and Drug
Awareness Resource
Arkansas Department of Health
Little Rock, Arkansas

"...We were very impressed with the quality of this video production and have recommended it for use to our teaching staff. In A Flash will be an excellent resource to our teachers and students...It is vital that groups like the National Emergency Medicine Association produce high quality support materials about such important issues. Without your help we could not provide the appropriate level of service to our students."

Peter W. Rose, Assistant Director
Youth Tutoring Program,
Catholic Community Services
Seattle, Washington

"I had an eighth grade section of our work & family study students preview the tape. They felt it was an excellent production and we are showing it to all of our seventh and eighth graders."

Joseph P. Dudash, Principal
Elkton Middle School
Elkton, Virginia

"...The video is excellent and has proven to be a great resource for our parents...We will utilize this valuable resource in our parenting classes and group counseling sessions in the local high schools and middle schools...Violence is a fact of life in our community and this video should provide alternatives to these young people."

Virginia C. Haigh, Executive Director
Young Horizons
Long Beach, California

"This letter is written to say thank you' for the EXCELLENT video, 'In A Flash,' that was provided free of charge to our high school. The video proved to be an excellent tool in teaching older students about the dangers of guns. You and your office are to be commended!!!!"

Herman Norris, Vice-Principal
Everman High School
Everman, Texas

"Consistently, our participants have rated the value, relevance, and quality of the In A Flash materials as 8.0 on a ten point scale with 1 being poor and 10 being excellent. Representatives comments from our participants include the following:

  • It told me that guns are not the answer and focused on the consequences of gun shots other than death.
  • It hit home how serious the problem is.
  • The video was excellent. Many students need to see this.
  • It presents a good topic to use with our Character Education Program.
  • It is good information.
  • Certainly, In A Flash has been a valuable tool and resource in our violence prevention work with schools and communities."

Ruth E. Gelman, Program Facilitator
Center for Safe Schools and Communities
Baltimore, Maryland

"...Whether you live in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Edinboro, Pennsylvania, or "Anyboro," USA, gun violence has become an increasingly urgent issue, especially in our schools. We firmly believe that two of the keys to reducing handgun deaths and injuries among young people are education and prevention programs. We must open our children's eyes to the harsh realities about gun violence and dispel many of the media-driven, glamorized myths about the consequences of picking up a gun. Kids and guns simply do not mix. Therefore, we are pleased to provide you with In A Flash, an outstanding video and resource program produced by the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) especially for middle and high school-aged children."

Scott Harshbarger, Attorney General
John Rosenthal, Chairman,
Stop Handgun Violence, Boston, Massachusetts