“Your movie — which was so well-received, so brilliant, so you — will now forever have this shooting attached to it.”
Sarah Clements, the daughter of a Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher, wrote these words to comedian Amy Schumer in an open letter posted to Medium on Friday. Schumer’s movie “Trainwreck” was playing at the Grand 16 movie theater in Lafayette, La., when John Russell Houser killed two people and injured nine others with a .40 caliber handgun. The letter addressed a question Schumer must be wondering herself: What can she do in response?
“Join our movement,” urged Clements, a Georgetown University student. “Write an op-ed. Support an organization. Demand change. Be a voice for our generation and for women — two groups who make up most of the victims of the gun violence in our country.”
Schumer responded to the letter on Twitter Saturday, pointing out that one of the victim’s name was misspelled in the letter:
— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) August 1, 2015
What will being “on it” look like? Tragically, we have recent history to set the precedent. When James Holmes killed 12 people in the 2012 Aurora, Colo., theater shooting, the cast of “The Dark Knight Rises” was faced with Schumer’s situation. Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and director Christopher Nolan issued statements expressing their shock and sympathies.
Then, Twitter users called upon Bale to visit the injured shooting victims with the hashtag #BaleOutAurora.
“You can’t help but feel a personal connection when that happened,” Bale later said about the visit. “It just felt essential for my own sanity. It just felt essential to do that.”
But expressing compassion is not the same as speaking out against guns and the laws that regulate their use.
In her letter, Clements presses Schumer to do just that, specifically because of Schumer’s reputation for standing up for women. Clements points out that all of the adults killed in Newtown, Conn., and Lafayette were women. And when their sisters, mothers and daughters take up the fight against gun violence, they are met with a “very vocal minority” of trolls who try to shut them down.
“They reference rape, ‘setting us in our place,’ obeying men and shutting us up, and overall they simply exemplify the worst of a patriarchy obsessed with the symbol and purpose of guns,” Clements wrote.
In a fake birth control advertisement for her Comedy Central show “Inside Amy Schumer,” the 34-year-old actress once addressed how easy it is to get a gun in the U.S. The group NARAL Pro-Choice America shared the sketch on Facebook in May, but the video has since been removed from Comedy Central’s Web site. The Post has reached out to the network to find out why.
If Schumer does want to get involved in the gun debate, she and her publicists are likely considering just how far to take it. These days, issues as hot button as this one are scrutinized in every detail. Is she for “gun control” or “violence prevention?” Should she focus on background checks, something 90 percent of America likes? Or a less-discussed issue, like intimate partner violence?
Or, as her co-stars Bill Hader and LeBron James seemingly have done, should she just let this go?
We might find out this week: Schumer is set to appear on the “The Daily Show” on Monday. She’s one of the last guests who will share the stage with Jon Stewart, an outspoken critic of America’s gun laws.