How a Pulse Shooting Survivor and a Newtown Trauma Surgeon Are Facing Gun Violence
Dr. Bill Begg and Javier Nava are featured in episode two of the web series We Are All Newtown, a companion to a new PBS documentary on Sandy Hook
The bullet that is still lodged in Javier Nava’s body is a constant reminder of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, in Orlando, Florida, that stole the lives of four of his friends and killed 45 others.
The long scar on Nava’s abdomen is another remnant of that day.
“For me, it’s just hard to see my body with a big scar,” he says in the second installment of We Are All Newtown, a three-part web series that PEOPLE is exclusively debuting this week.
“At the same time,” Nava says in the episode, “I’m pretty sure that any one of those people who died would love to have this scar and be alive with his family.”
In We Are All Newtown, he talks about the life-saving surgery he underwent after the June 12, 2016, massacre — the worst mass shooting in U.S. history — and the emotional toll it has taken on him.
Through raw and candid interviews with first responders, teachers and parents of children who died in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the searing documentary details how the community is still reeling from the carnage.
The Sandy Hook shooting killed 20 first-graders and six educators — the worst grade school shooting in America’s history.
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We Are All Newtown explores the ramifications of gun violence in other communities across the nation.
While the filmmakers say there is still much to be done to prevent more violence, they are heartened by the shift in consciousness they’ve witnessed in the three and a half years since they began working on Newtown.
“Part of the reason why we have done these We Are All Newtown webisodes, and this campaign, is to let people know the conversation is changing among doctors, priests, law enforcement — all the people you see in our film,” the documentary’s director, Kim A. Snyder, tells PEOPLE.
The film’s producer, Maria Cuomo Cole adds, “What I think people can take away from this is that we have looked at problems like this in our past, like automobile accidents and smoking, and we have been able to come together with proactive, civil conversations about how to reduce deaths. That is what we want here.”
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“That whole idea of the ripple effect of all of these communities inspired the campaign we call ‘We Are All Newtown,’ ” Snyder says.
“Whether you are in that club that no one wants to belong to or not, we all have to reckon with it right now,” she says. “We all have to have their backs.”
The three episodes of We Are All Newtown feature survivors of mass shootings, spiritual leaders, doctors, law enforcement officials and others talking about moving forward after gun violence.
Part two of the web series focuses on Nava and Dr. Bill Begg, an emergency room trauma surgeon who treated victims of the Newtown shooting and later testified before Congress about reforming gun laws.
RELATED VIDEO: The Story Behind the Story — PEOPLE’S Call to Action on Gun Violence
In the webisode, Begg talks to other doctors who treated victims of the Orlando shooting about facing incidents of gun violence.
“In my viewpoint, there’s no better way to commemorate and keep the memories alive of those that were lost and affected at the Sandy Hook tragedy [than] by having some type of change,” he says.
The first episode focused on Pastor Sam Saylor, a minister in Hartford, Connecticut, whose 20-year-old son, Shane Oliver, was shot and killed less than two months before Sandy Hook.
Saylor explained in the episode how he was, at first, “sick and tired” of the focus on Newtown — as people are killed by guns every day. But then he realized the universal effects of the violence.
Or as he put it, echoing the movement: “We are all Newtown.”
Click here to contact your Congressional representatives to learn what is being done to stop the epidemic of gun violence in America — and to share what you think we should be doing.
Newtown airs on April 3 (9 p.m. ET) on PBS. The three-part web series We Are All Newtown will premiere exclusively on People.com, each day from Wednesday to Friday.