Saturday, May 4, 2013

Guns for Kids, Child Gun-Casualties, & Brown's Hate List

From yesterday's Guardian article "Guns for kids: critics eye marketing practices after Kentucky shooting:"
The gun manufacturer Keystone Sporting Arms is in a defensive crouch this week. The Pennsylvania-based company has taken down a website for a popular product. When I called Keystone at noon on Friday I was immediately (and politely) referred to the company's lawyer.
Keystone is in retreat because one of the guns it makes for children, a lightweight, single-shot, .22-calibre rifle called the Crickett, was used Tuesday by a five-year-old boy in Kentucky to shoot and kill his two-year-old sister. The boy had been given the gun – full name Davey Crickett, a pun on the legendary American frontiersman – as a birthday gift. The siblings' mother was home but wasn't watching.
On the subject of children killing other children, a good young adult novel about a school shooting is Hate List by Jennifer Brown:
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.
Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.
For a non-fiction book about a school shooting, try Columbine by Dave Cullen:
In this remarkable account of the April 20, 1999, Columbine High School shooting, journalist Cullen not only dispels several of the prevailing myths about the event but tackles the hardest question of all: why did it happen?
Drawing on extensive interviews, police reports and his own reporting, Cullen meticulously pieces together what happened when 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold killed 13 people before turning their guns on themselves.
The media spin was that specific students, namely jocks, were targeted and that Dylan and Eric were members of the Trench Coat Mafia. According to Cullen, they lived apparently normal lives, but under the surface lay an angry, erratic depressive (Klebold) and a sadistic psychopath (Harris), together forming a combustible pair. They planned the massacre for a year, outlining their intentions for massive carnage in extensive journals and video diaries.
Cullen expertly balances the psychological analysis—enhanced by several of the nation's leading experts on psychopathology—with an examination of the shooting's effects on survivors, victims' families and the Columbine community. Readers will come away from Cullen's unflinching account with a deeper understanding of what drove these boys to kill, even if the answers aren't easy to stomach.

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