Monday, September 30, 2013

Writing on guns, violence & our reaction to both

There's been a few pieces I've come across in past weeks related to guns, violence & our reactions to both. Each was excellent work and reminded me of past writing come across and blog posts I've done.

Around the anniversary of 9/11 I saw "Just Asking" by David Foster Wallace for The Atlantic in 2007 with him writing an essay questioning whether the government response excessive in the years since 9/11. It was definitely something to think on from the late writer and brought to mind a post I wrote last month titled "Esquire writing on the world we live in."

If the Wallace piece was about our reaction to violence and perhaps an overreach to terrorism, more recent writing was on there being not enough response by lawmakers to plain old-fashioned gun violence. Eli Saslow for the Washington Post wrote "Shooting massacre survivors: ‘Thoughts and prayers' aren't enough" and similar to how the Wallace essay took me back to a past blog post, this Saslow story made me think of my post "Writing on Boston & Guns" from April of this year.

On the same day the Saslow piece was published, there was an attack in Nairobi, Kenya mall by the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab. Three pieces I saw on that and the following day were "Witness to a Massacre in a Nairobi Mall" for the New York Times with an interview of and images by photojournalist Tyler Hicks"Terror at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya" by James Verini for The New Yorker and "At Nairobi mall, covering a war zone too close to home" by Sudarsan Raghavan for the Washington Post. Each was excellent work and the one by Raghavan and that with Hicks struck me as particularly personal accounts.

One shouldn't go too far in making comparisons between horrible events real and hypothetical, but I imagine an ideology-driven case of gun violence like this would definitely command our attention were it to happen in America. Beyond this, it seems such a shame that the level of official government action would likely be so much greater than that paid to to simple random gun violence, like that in Aurora, Newtown or the D.C. Navy Yard.