Children Under Fire: An American Crisis

Ecco: HarperCollins. Mar. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780062883933. $28.99. SOC SCI
Washington Post journalist Cox analyzes the devastating effects of gun violence on children. He advocates three concrete measures to combat this public health emergency: universal background checks, laws that prevent children from having access to firearms, and government support for empirical research. Cox draws from extensive data and from poignant stories, including pen pals Tyshaun McPhatter and Ava Olsen. McPhatter, a nine-year-old living in Washington, DC, and Olsen, an eight-year-old South Carolinian, both experienced violence firsthand. Tyshaun’s father was killed during a wave of violence in DC, and Ava witnessed a shooting at her school, which claimed the life of a close friend. Cox sketches portraits of other victims, activists, teenage school shooters, parents, and legislators who now champion gun control after many years of taking the opposite side. The author also cogently considers issues surrounding the Second Amendment and investigates the successful attempts by the NRA to influence legislation and research.
VERDICT A carefully reasoned, compelling, and persuasive study of a crisis that requires immediate attention.
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