Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Four pieces of excellent writing - by Follman, Kristof, Fagone, and MacGregor

A few pieces of great recent writing to note here included ones that are important, uplifting, disconcerting, and just plain smile-inducing.

What felt to be the most important of the four was by Mark Follman for Mother Jones with "Inside the Race to Stop the Next Mass Shooter," a fascinating look at how police and school staff can identify and assist those youth that potentially could be a threat to others. The piece is thoroughly researched, covers the horrible fact of how Columbine viewed as a blueprint by some, and told through the lens of looking at one troubled Oregon teen who was kept tabs on and guided while in school, and then left that environment and eventually caused great harm.

The uplifting piece was from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof with the fairly short "In Five Minutes, He Lets the Blind See." About Nepali ophthalmologist Dr. Sanduk Ruit, the pioneer of a low-cost cataract surgery that he's performed to restore sight for some 100,000 people, it's an awesome story.

Squarely in the disconcerting camp was a well-written feature by Jason Fagone for the New York Times Magazine with "The Serial Swatter" about internet stalking, particularly of females. Featured in the piece was one disturbed Canadian teenager whose methods would include digging up private information on others, taunting them with it, and making fake 911 calls that would send SWAT teams with guns drawn to the house of his harassment victims.

On a much, much lighter note, another great piece to mention was a cool story by Jeff MacGregor for Smithsonian Magazine with "Meet Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Genius Behind "Hamilton," Broadway's Newest Hit." The piece makes Miranda and his play sound very interesting and entertaining.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Great feature story by Eli Saslow on a high school football death

There was really an amazing story in the latest ESPN The Magazine with Eli Saslow writing "Why Him? Why Me?" on a recent death during a Louisiana high school football game, and how that horrific event linked to another football calamity from 1989.

The player who died in September of this year was Tyrell Cameron, a 16-year-old from Franklin Parrish High School of who broke his neck after a clean block from Cody Seward on the Sterlington High team. The story of the two is gut-wrenchingly told by Saslow and also brings in Brad Gaines, someone who could relate to the anguish faced by Seward as Gaines while playing for Vanderbilt decades ago was in a collision with Ole Miss player Chucky Mullins where Mullins went helmet-first into the back of Gaines as was paralyzed, with those injuries then leading to a blood clot two years later that took his life.

The rolling together of the story about Cameron dying, the grief of his mother, the pain felt by Seward and attempt by Gaines to help him move forward is beautifully done by Saslow, someone who I've previously posted on great work by him for both ESPN and the Washington Post.