Hard Choices

Wednesday at 8pm: Soft Targets, Hard Choices

Posted January 18, 2013 3:28 p.m. EST
Updated January 23, 2013 6:29 p.m. EST

— It’s the debate raging across the nation: gun rights, public safety and mental health. In a one hour, commercial free, prime time special, WRAL-TV will probe North Carolina’s gun laws, the right to bear arms, security in public places, violence in entertainment, and how the state treats the mentally ill.

Soft Targets, Hard Choices is hosted by veteran WRAL News anchors David Crabtree and Debra Morgan and premieres Jan. 23 at 8 p.m., followed by live chats on WRAL.com starting at 9 p.m. Soft Targets, Hard Choices examines some of the societal issues that are debated after public mass shootings.

In his blog, WRAL-TV General Manager Steve Hammel

The right to bear arms vs gun control

The special explores both sides of this passionate part of the debate. For the gun rights side of the story, David Crabtree visits a local gun shop and gets a lesson on the shooting range with an assault-type rifle. He talks to the gun shop owner about the passion of gun owners and the second amendment.

The program details N.C.’s gun laws, including the pistol permit and background check process. Debra Morgan talks to the ATF about illegal sales and stolen guns that end up on the black market. A gang member talks about how easy it is to buy a gun on the street.

Security in public places

Is changing or adding security in public places the answer for protection? Amanda Lamb explores safety measures in N.C. schools, hospitals and shopping malls. Will added security make us safer?

Violence in entertainment

Does all the violence we see everyday desensitize us as a society? Renee Chou explores the impact of violent video games, TV and movies on children. Teens, parents and a local expert talk about whether violence in our culture promotes aggression and violent behavior.

Mental health

How do we, as a state, deal with the mentally ill? Bruce Mildwurf details the family challenges of mental illness, insurance issues and recent funding cuts in our state.

WRAL-TV Vice President and General Manager Steven D. Hammel says, “We’ve heard from our viewers. The issues surrounding guns and public safety are on everyone’s mind. These complex topics deserve an open and educated discussion. Giving the program an hour of commercial free airtime in prime time is evidence of our commitment to the importance of this issue in the communities we serve.”

To comment, learn more and join the conversation:

  • Go to www.wral.com, search HARD CHOICES
  • Email hardchoices@wral.com
  • Follow @WRAL on Twitter and discuss the program using #hardchoices.

The program will be live streamed on WRAL.com and all of WRAL’s mobile apps. To download station apps, go to www.wral.com, search MOBILE.

WRAL.com hosts the following live chats after the program:

Jan. 23
9-9:30 p.m. – Mike Tilley, president of Personal Defense & Handgun Safety Center Inc.

Jan. 28
1-1:30 p.m. – Gail Neely, executive director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence

Capitol Broadcasting Statewide Broadcast Schedule

  • WRAL-TV, Raleigh, Jan. 23, 8 p.m.
  • WILM-TV, Wilmington, Jan. 26, 7 p.m.
  • WRAZ-TV, Durham, Jan. 26, 5 p.m.
  • WJZY-TV, Charlotte, Jan. 27, 10 p.m.
  • WMYT-TV, Charlotte, Feb. 3, 9 p.m.

This story is part of WRAL's prime time special "Soft Targets, Hard Choices." We welcome your comments and questions. Send email to hardchoices@wral.com or use #hardchoices on Twitter.