Should Teachers Be Armed? These PSAs Use Dark Humor to Argue It’s Not the Best Idea

'Satire and absurdity' tackle a volatile debate

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President Trump felt the wrath of gun control advocates earlier this year when he suggested that teachers carry guns during school to prevent mass shootings. Just days after a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day, the president said an armed teacher would have “shot the hell” out of the attacker, thereby preventing disaster.
A group using the hashtag #VoteEmOut is now rallying against the president’s comments via a series of dark and satirical PSAs that show what it might look like if teachers actually came to school armed.
In one film, a shot is accidentally fired in the teacher’s lounge after a standoff over a plate of complimentary blueberry muffins.

In another, a teacher uses his gun to intimidate a bully in the hallway. Then he and a colleague reminisce about how all they could do in the past was just send kids to the principal’s office—before complimenting another teacher about his new Glock.

A third spot sees a teacher go back and forth with a student on a math problem. She’s not a great educator, but we soon learn why she was hired anyway.

The videos, created by writer and producer Joel Surnow and production company Station Film, use dark humor to get their point across and pack a punch by bringing absurd situations to a proposal many find absurd to begin with.
Each film ends with the message “Stop The Madness” and asks viewers to visit VoteEmOut.org, which has more information about the campaign.
“We wanted to use satire and absurdity to capture what we consider to be an outrageous solution to the tragedy of gun violence,” the website reads. “We hope that by depicting a world in which teachers have guns we can all take a step back and realize that we have reached a tipping point and that we need better, smarter solutions to this problem.”
According to #VoteEmOut, the goal of the campaign is to encourage viewers to vote out politicians whose “sole agenda is to prevent any limits on the distribution and use of guns, which includes, sadly, automatic weapons.”
CREDITS:
Production Company: Station Film
Creator/Writer: Joel Surnow
Co-Creator: Frank Sergi
Director: Brendan Gibbons
Managing Partner/EP: Stephen Orent
Partner/Executive Producer: Caroline Gibney
Director of Photography: Nicole Whitaker
Line Producer: Geoff Clough
Production Designer: Craig Reynolds
Composer: Sean Callery
Editorial Company: PS260
Editor: JJ Lask
Editorial Producer: Natalie Raffaele
Mixer [Lime Studios]: Jeff Malen
Colorist [The Mill]: Derek Hansen


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@Minda_Smiley minda.smiley@adweek.com Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.