Published in October 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
On 23rd November 2013, 10 children were fatally shot dead across America. Shockingly, that figure was only slightly above the average. In this sobering book, Gary Younge, the Guardian journalist, tells the stories of the victims through interviews with their friends and family.
The stories are harrowing. Nine-year-old Jaiden Dixon was shot at point-blank range on his doorstep by his mother’s ex-boyfriend. Tyler Dunn was killed when a rifle was fired in his direction (perhaps intentionally). But the most difficult part of Younge’s book to digest is that these deaths barely register on even local news. Shootings happen so regularly that the public have become desensitised to them, unless there are mass shootings with more news angles.
Younge’s book is perfectly timed as the debate over gun control in the US heats up and the Black Lives Matter movement comes to the fore. (Firearms are the leading cause of death among black children under 19). That said, this book is not principally about gun control and it doesn’t offer any real solutions. Rather it is a hard-hitting portrait of a country that seems to value the freedom to own a gun above the safety of children….