October 2009

Downrange: 10/09

Readin’, ‘Ritin’, & Anti-Gunnin’

I was surprised when my teenage daughter brought home a book called Fist Stick Knife Gun, A Personal History of Violence in America by Geoffrey Canada. It’s a series of tales about the author watching his peers, inner-city black youth, beat, knife, and shoot each other. As Canada describes his tough life growing up in South Bronx, the incidence of guns was comparatively rare, so life was better back in the day, he says, when they just savagely assaulted each other. Later (to his credit), Canada describes trying to make a positive change in those same dangerous areas of the South Bronx he returns to after he gets degrees at Bowdoin and Harvard. But the big difference, he laments, is that the increased number of guns wielded by adolescents make fights become funerals.

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