America’s war: the killing of Jaiden Dixon and Tyler Dunn

America’s war: the killing of Jaiden Dixon and Tyler Dunn

On Saturday 23 November 2013, 10 children died after being shot. It was just another day in America. In an exclusive extract from his new book, Gary Younge chronicles two short lives

The most common adjective employed by weather reporters on Saturday 23 November 2013 was treacherous. But in reality there was not a hint of betrayal about it. The day was every bit as foul as one would expect the week before Thanksgiving. A Nordic outbreak of snow, rain and high winds barrelled through the desert states and northern plains towards the midwest.

There was precious little in the news to distract anyone from the weather. A poll gave Barack Obama his lowest approval ratings in years. The same day, he announced a tentative deal with Iran over its nuclear programme. That night, Fox News was the most popular cable news channel; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was the highest-grossing movie.

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It was just another day in America. And as befits an unremarkable Saturday, 10 children and teens were killed by gunfire. They died in altercations at gas stations, accidents in bedrooms, standing on stairwells and walking down the street, in gangland hits and by mistaken identity. Like the weather, none of them would make the national news because, like the weather, their deaths did not disturb the accepted order of things. Every day, on average, seven children and teens are killed by guns in America. Firearms are the leading cause of death among black children under 19, and the second greatest cause of death for all children of the same age, after car accidents.

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