Year 16, Book 96

96. Children Under Fire: An American Crisis by John Woodrow Cox

Cox looks at the impact children experience from both direct and indirect gun violence in their lives. His central focus is on two children who he followed in 2017. Seven year old Ava and eight year old Tyshaun struck up an unlikely friendship after Ava saw a story Cox wrote about Tyshaun and wrote him a letter thinking they could help each other. Ava, who lives in rural South Carolina, was traumatized when a teenage boy attacked her class on their elementary school playground and she witnessed one of her friends get killed. Tyshaun, who lives in Washington, D.C., experiences frequent gun violence in his neighborhood and became especially traumatized by it after his father was killed. Using their stories and experiences Cox explores the many lasting effects gun violence has on children in the United States. He also provides some common sense recommendations for what we can do to help reduce gun violence, especially gun violence that involves children without really infringing on anyone’s right to own a gun. It felt like a very timely read since I finished it shortly before yet another teenager shot and killed fellow students at his school, which his parents are also facing charges for, as charging adults for not properly locking up guns is one of his recommendations. It’s an excellent book, but disheartening in that I will never understand this country’s willingness to sacrifice so many people to the alter of guns. I give it a 9 out of 10.

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