Host: Bill Moyers.
PBS launches an ambitious block of programs on the issue of violence with this provocative four-hour special fronted by Bill Moyers, exploring the disturbing nature of violence and programs designed to blunt its impact. While politicians can debate the merits of the various strategies, the four hours should be mandatory viewing for jurists, legislators and others involved in the justice system.
Moyers weighs in with the angle that poverty, despair and joblessness have created a generation that feels disconnected from society and thus has little compunction about damaging its members or others.
In addition to talking with scholars about issues ranging from the media’s role to what it would take to reinforce the family structure, Moyers highlights efforts that seek to address problems of juvenile violence. Those segs include a look at a compound where young offenders are taught discipline before being introduced to the working world, and a high school for recovering teen drug abusers.
Some may pause at the touchy-feely nature of such programs, as kids parrot lines about self-esteem in explaining their criminal acts. There’s also little discussion of how to fund these efforts. Moyers brings an uncommon intelligence to all his documentaries, and it’s refreshing to see someone engage less in hand-wringing over violence, as is the media’s tendency, than in seeking means of addressing the problem. “We learned there is no answer to violence,” Moyers says in the intro. “There are many answers.”
That, if nothing else, would seem to be a place to start.