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Life After Violence

Hell and Back Again follows the life of Marine Veteran, Sergeant Nathan Harris, as he transitions back into society after being wounded in battle. This documentary exposes the effects war has on its soldiers, both physically and emotionally, revealing the true cost of war.

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The film highlights many struggles that Harris, and his wife Ashley, face as the marine works his way back into civilian life. One such struggle being the soldier’s dependency of prescription drugs.

However, Harris is not alone in this struggle, as according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Prescription drug abuse doubled among U.S. military personnel from 2002 to 2005 and almost tripled between 2005 and 2008.”

This horrifying reality opens up a new set of problems for servicemen. As it is commonly known, many soldiers return home with a disorder known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This disorder, as well as other mental disorders, are commonly accompanied by substance abuse. This has become a fatal combination for the military as it has resulted in  “30 percent of the Army’s suicide deaths from 2003 to 2009 and in more than 45 percent of non-fatal suicide attempts from 2005 to 2009.” (drugabuse.gov)

One of the reasons these problems are occurring is the lack of support soldiers are receiving upon returning home. This is partially due to the community around these veterans. Many people wish to turn their back on the issues of war, pretending they are nonexistent, rather than face them and react. As director of the film, Danfung Dennis said, “It is when society becomes numb to inhumanity; horror is allowed to spread in darkness.”

REACT to Hell and Back Again:

RECOMMEND Hell and Back Again to others and expose the need to help soldiers returning home.

SUPPORT returning military personnel and their families by donating to a foundations such as Troops Support.

VOLUNTEER your time at Veteran Affairs hospitals to help soldiers struggling with PTSD or substance abuse.

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Though not all violence can lead to a life crippled by PTSD. In the documentary Living for 32, Colin Goddard, a survivor of the tragic Virginia Tech shooting, exposes the broken system of the United State’s gun regulation.

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By wearing a hidden camera and going undercover into gun shows all across the country, Goddard’s film shows how easy it is for anyone to buy a firearm. Oftentimes, no identification or background check was required, just a wad of cash.

As the six year anniversary of the shooting approaches, sites like The Guardian Express are commemorating Goddard for his efforts to curb gun violence and his ongoing involvement in the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

“Colin Goddard is not your average survivor of violent crime, if there is such a thing,” says Guardian Express writer, Dawn Cranfield. “He did not just ‘survive’ the four bullet wounds he endured during the Virginia Tech shootings on April 16, 2007, instead he is challenging himself and standing up against the violence that stole 32 of his classmates.”

REACT to Living for 32:

CONTACT your U.S. Senator today telling them to support sensible gun reform laws.

JOIN organizations that work to end gun violence, such as the organization New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

SPEAK UP against gun violence and support those who have been affected by tragic shootings such as those from Virginia Tech, Aurora, and Newtown.

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