Listening back to ten years of YR Media's reporting on gun violence, one major change stands out. Our conversation on mass shootings has shifted from “how to stop them” to “how to survive them” — and that’s sobering. With the U.S. averaging more than one mass shooting per day this year, we’ve come to expect the vigils, the “thoughts and prayers” tweets, high school students mourning their classmates and planning escape routes.
Another repeated pattern: each time a mass shooting happens, we turn our backs on the other forms of gun violence that shape our day-to-day lives. U.S. cities including St. Louis, Chicago and Indianapolis are becoming safer and more dangerous at the same time, as gun deaths concentrate in specific neighborhoods that are already economically isolated. About one in every 1,000 black men can expect to be killed by cops, according to a study from the National Academy of Sciences.
When you listen to this decade of youth stories, resist the instinct to simplify. Only when we contend with the full mix of these voices can we begin to grasp what it means to come of age in the gun violence of America.