Unload Your 401(k), a powerful three-minute film from Grey New York, takes aim at a new target in the debate over guns in America: the pocketbooks of firearms companies.
The video supports UnloadYour401K.com, a site where consumers can find out if their retirement portfolios include gun manufacturers. A coalition of 20 organizations, led by Campaign to Unload and States United to Prevent Gun Violence, is behind the initiative.
The film doesn't waste time trying to persuade gun rights advocates. Instead it makes its appeal to those already passionately opposed to gun violence, and perhaps those on the fence, imploring them to take action. The case for divestment, a tactic that played a role in ending South African Apartheid and changing U.S. tobacco policy, is mainly made by the parents, relatives and teachers of young people killed and maimed at by gun violence.
"They're making money off the backs of dead people," says Lori Haas, whose daughter was shot at Virginia Tech. "I just can't tolerate it. And I won't let my money support it."
"This industry is not going to respond to moral sentiments, that's clear," says Eric Milgram, the father of two Sandy Hook survivors. "They will respond to economic pain."
A simple, low-tech wall of remembrance with a timeline, photos and clips (starting at Columbine, 15 years ago) is a visual focal point in a presentation uncluttered by news footage or reenactments.
The most stirring testimony comes from trauma surgeon Dr. Sheldon Teperman: "I'm covered in blood. We've done everything we can do and someone has to go tell the family. So they are sitting in a waiting room, and I know how this works, so I steel myself for this, because I know that when I walk into the room … I'm going to snatch all of the light and all of the hope and all of the air from that parent's life.
"There is a lot of profit to be made for all of this sorrow, all of this death and all of this destruction. Ultimately, it is all about the money."