Monday, 2 October 2017

Book Review: Another Day In The Death Of America by Gary Younge


Title: Another Day In The Death Of America
Author: Gary Younge
Publisher: Faber
Page extent: 267 pages

"Nobody knows where the next shot is coming from or whom it'll be aimed at. But everybody knows it's coming."

The author’s idea is very interesting. He took an ‘average’ day – Saturday 23rd November, 2013. On this day, ten children and young teenagers were killed in the United States. He could have picked any day of the year, and the stories would be much the same. The victims are all male, eight of them are African American and all of them are under twenty. They are Jaiden Dixon (9), Kenneth Mills-Tucker (19), Stanley Taylor (17), Pedro Cortez (18), Gustin Hinnant (18), Gary Anderson (18). Tyler Dunn (11), Edwin Rajo (16), Samuel Brightmon (16),  and Tyshon Anderson (18).

On average, seven children and teens are killed by guns daily in the United States. That means an average of 210 children/ teens in a month and an average of 2555 children/teens in a year are killed by guns. Younge tells the story of ten young people whose lives were stolen, whether it be intentional or accidental. The stories of the ten victims are told through their families, friends, media and police reports, detailing the known circumstances of their deaths.

This book was a 2016 GRCA finalist in the non-fiction category. It is a very riveting read that invokes questions of how and why these tragic deaths happened. I dont live in the US where the link to guns is linked to some sort of freedom but I have always been interested and curious about the gun control laws in the United States mostly because the kind of gun violence that goes on in there.

This story was deeply moving but I needed to do my own research about the young people being affected. I was hoping for a more in-depth look into the lives of these children and teenagers but the book was more of a commentary on race and poverty. The author writes well for the most part but at times his prose feels a little informal.

A lot of assumptions could be made on the reason for these tragic deaths. Younge focuses on the involvement of the National Rifle Association in continuing to expand and promote gun ownership in the USA and its strong political holding which makes it inevitable that gun reform at the current time is continually blocked based on the Second amendment "Right to Bear Arms". The author also talks about the racial segregation, gang crime problems and how different communities react to gun violence based on race, income and social standing. Most of the victim came from broken marriages and some of them had parents with numerous other offspring from multiple partners. This is a factor worth considering and investigating. 

This is a book that has given me much to think about, and be grateful that I live in a country where guns are not constantly encountered. It is a reminder to us all of the impact and increase in violence that occurs with the presence of a gun. Gun deaths are a symptom of much larger problems, and these problems need to addressed and solved. A very highly recommended read that poses lots of questions for which there is currently no answer.

Many thanks to Faber for giving me the chance to read and review this book!