WATCH: PBS NewsHour presents ‘Ricochet: An American Trauma’

In 2020, more than 45,000 Americans died as a result of gun-related injuries– the highest number on record, according to numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That same year and amid a global pandemic, guns became the greatest cause of mortality for American children, according to the same CDC report. So far this year, there have been over 500 mass shootings in the United States, including tragedies in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.

READ MORE: PBS NewsHour Primetime Special “Ricochet: An American Trauma” Explores the Gun Violence Crisis

The PBS NewsHour explores the swath of trauma gun deaths have left in their wake across America in: “Ricochet: An American Trauma.” The documentary was reported by correspondent William Brangham and produced by Sam Weber and Sam Lane.

Beginning at 9:45 p.m. on Oct. 5, watch a conversation between the PBS NewsHour’s Nicole Ellis and William Brangham, followed by the full documentary in the player above, starting at 10 p.m. ET.

The documentary follows several people who have all been affected by gun violence and trauma in different ways and how they turned that trauma into activism.

“At age eight was the first time I saw violent crime,” Ryane Nickens, a community activist in Washington D.C., said. “And so as an eight year old, just standing just some feet away and watching literally the life leave a person, leaves an everlasting imprint. For me, that was just the beginning of a whole life full of tragedy and trauma related to guns.”

Nickens is one of several people featured in the documentary that has been touched by gun violence and death. She now runs the TraRon Center, a place for children and the community to gather and heal from gun violence – all in the neighborhood she grew up in.

WATCH MORE: New ATF Director Steve Dettelbach on gun violence in America

Lonnie and Sandy Phillips lost their daughter in the 2012 Aurora movie theater mass shooting. Now, they make it part of their mission to go to the sites of other mass shootings, like the recent Uvalde, Texas, massacre, to tell their story in hopes of helping the next wave of shooting victim survivors and their families cope with the trauma of the violence.

“Lonnie and I have always tried to build the bridge from the mass shootings that happened in America to the individual shootings that, as a friend of mine, calls them slow motion mass shootings that happen every day,” Sandy said, referencing the suicide and homicides that make up the majority of gun deaths in America.

On average, over 100 people die every day from guns in America. Each of those deaths causes a ripple effect on their communities. Gun violence researcher Joseph Richardson at the University of Maryland says those effects create long lasting suffering.

“When we’re talking about community violence, we have to think about it in terms of, that that’s not just a dot, that’s someone’s life,” he said. “And then there are people that are part of the ecosystem that were attached to that one person. And then cumulatively, if all of those dots are clustered in that one neighborhood, what does that mean for the people who are suffering from that trauma every single day?”

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