HBO News Blog

VICE: Episode 03 Guns and Ammo – Review

By Jef Dinsmore on Apr 20, 2013 to Vice


Overview: Collectively, episode 3 is entitled “Guns & Ammo.” The first segment under this theme is called simply GUN SCHOOL. In the piece we go to the New Life Baptist Church & Academy in Albuquerque, NM, where Pastor Larry Allen preaches guns and teaches guns. The Academy is a Christian School for pre-K through High School and part of the curriculum teaches how to be armed for the evil that is at hand. That means not just spiritually but physically. It means taking charge of your life and taking out the violent threat before it takes you out.  A number of faculty and administration in fact are packing heat to do just that and preparing the children in their charge for that threat.  It is a unique academic environment visited by VICE.Morton_GunSchool

The other piece is TOXIC IRAQ. After ravaging Iraq over the past decade, the U.S. is finally exiting the country–leaving behind a toxic cesspool of military waste. VICE is there to explore the aftermath of war as it affects that country. Of course, the problems and strife are far from over there. One of the most evident places to find that strife is Fallujah General Hospital and that is where we find VICE.

Review: GUN SCHOOL reported by correspondent Thomas Morton. Wow, our first report from the U.S. A. itself and it is a rich one. Thomas handles himself well listening to Pastor Larry and his wife, the principal. Those people are so ready and mindful that violence will reach them when in actuality they have a better chance of getting struck by lightning or maybe bitten by a shark. It seems an extreme way of thinking even when they say it is for the protection of children. It clearly does not make the debate over guns any easier.

VICE_toxicIraqTOXIC IRAQ reported by correspondent Shane Smith. It fooled me. I wasn’t really reading the clues and I missed it. Clues nothing, I wasn’t reading the words. The segment is called TOXIC Iraq. I thought that this piece was about those injured and crippled by the war because of being shot or bombed and just left to struggle when we pulled out. The aftermath at issue is radioactivity and its long lingering effect. The “Ammo” in this episode’s title refers not to the littered casings and tanks that were left behind but of the radioactive ammunition used to carry out the war and how it has deformed and crippled the innocent children of Iraq. It is a sad commentary on modern warfare and U the U S A’s response. This is a piece that surprised me. I expected one thing and was led to a different story more surprising than I imagined. I thank you VICE; this is what keeps me coming back every Friday night. I need that punch in the face!

In Conclusion: This is an episode that calls for debate and comment. I think it does more so than the first two episodes. Do you like the concept employed by the GUN SCHOOL? Will we ever take responsibility for birth defects in TOXIC IRAQ? So come on, share your thoughts with us. What do you think of VICE Episode 03: Gun and Ammo?

Here is what Executive Producer Bill Maher had to say with the correspondents in The Morning After Clip.




  • Glassylady

    I love this new series! It gets to the nitty gritty of issues and gives you something to think about. As for this episode, I was raised by a gun collector. A gun collector who had the “They can have my gun when they pry it from my cold dead hand” mentality. A gun collector who developed paranoia and dementia in his later years. I was always a bit concerned about his ideals but the dementia shot the pucker factor way, way up there. We finally got all the guns away from him and he adjusted to the situation, kind of. I myself have owned guns and still do own a gun. My kids were raised around guns and know the safety rules. The guns were also locked up in a hidden location at all times and we never deviated from this. I even had a license to carry a concealed weapon for a time. Having said all this, I don’t think we need gun control, I KNOW we need gun control. There are unfortunately those in our society will use a gun in seeking out those to harm. I think it should be much harder to obtain a gun AND the ammo to use it.
    As far as the school, I would feel much more comfortable having my kids in a school where the educators have a better chance at protecting my child than the standard “everybody hide and hope the bad guy just goes away.”That’s just not working. I’m sure this will probably spin some folks out. But it’s how I feel. I think empowering our kids and teachers is a good thing.

  • Sort of scared me that the “private” schools can just do whatever they want while we all debate it and figure out best practice.

    They’re just diving right in! Did anyone else notice a crazy glint in that principal’s eye? I mean.. just seemed like she was a little nuts. Sort of like she hoped someone would attack so she could take them out and be a hero. Same with some of the other staff members too.

    Maybe I’m the crazy one..

    • Replies

      You’re not the crazy one…the school administration is. How do I know? My children attend school there. After this episode was filmed in November enrollment has dropped. I’m not sure as to why but many parents have been unhappy with the school. According to my child Pastor’s warriors is something new and the children have no choice to participate. They make the children very paranoid.
      Oh, and the active shooter trainers are not employees of the school. They own a self protection company here in albuquerque. And while HBO was there there were some students caught drinking alcohol on campus during lunch. But wanted to keep everything hush, hush, because they told the children if HBO found out about the incident, they (HBO) would shut their school down immediately. I didn’t know HBO had so much power! Their school is not so perfect after all.

      • Jef Dinsmore

        Hey, thanks for sharing that information. I was hoping we would eventually run into someone who has a first hand experience on something VICE has covered.

  • Sherrie Reeves

    I think episode 3 Guns & Ammo is a wake up call for what’s to come, not in the Secular School system,but maybe in the private,church setting.

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