NYT: Gunfight Doc “Clearly Cautionary” (a.k.a. a Sandbag Job)

The New York Times has seen Barbara Kopple’s HBO documentary Gun Fight, which airs tonight at 9:30 pm EST. According the Gray Lady (the Times), “The narration-free film, which combines interviews and visits to gun fairs and National Rifle Association conventions with news and archival footage, takes no outright position but is clearly cautionary. It’s an implicit warning about the dangers of unregulated gun ownership and the power and increasingly apocalyptic tone of Second Amendment fundamentalists.” Reading between the lines, Kopple seems to have used the most extreme gun rights quotes possible . . .

She doesn’t caricature or condescend to those shown in repeated images of rooms full of white people talking about “the real America,” but they send their own message. And she chose which of their comments made the final cut, of course, including: “Self-defense is a benefit of being able to shoot the government,” and, “It was gun control that contributed to the tragedy at Virginia Tech.” Also: “We must sound reasonable, or we risk alienating the public.”

Nothing prejudicial there: urbane (and urban) gun control advocates vs. gun-clinging white people. Well, we’ll see. But one thing’s for sure: extremes make for good TV. (“Ruggedly handsome” Colin Goddard and all.) Common sense, not so much.