tv Gary Younge Discusses Another Day in the Death of America CSPAN April 23, 2017 4:00pm-4:31pm EDT
this is live coverage of the 22nd annual los angeles times festival of the brooks on the campus of the university of southern california. in about half an hour or so, a panel on history. you will hear from annie jacobson annie jacobson talking about her book "phenomena," jeff quinn talking about the road to james town. that is coming up in half an hour. we pleased to be joined by journalist and author gary younge. here is his book called "another day in the death of america: a chronicle of ten short lives." mr. younge, november 23rd, 2013 why is that date significant? >> its not. that is the whole point. it is the day after the 50th anniversary of jfk's
assassination but it was a day i chose to make the statistic real and that is on average seven teens and children are killed every day in the united states. i wanted to pick a random day and find out who these kids were, who they wanted to be, in what circumstances did they die and that was the day i chose. >> you picked it out of a hat or did you have a system? >> guest: well, in order for the bock to work there had to be seven fataties that day. if i wanted a higher number i would have gone for the summer. summer is when more children die because they are out. this was the weekend before thanksgiving and the first day i could do. >> host: in your book you write firearms are the leading source
of death among black children under the age of is 19. the second leading cause of death for all children in the same age group after car accidents. is this a book about gun control? >> guest: no, it is definitely not. there are good books out there about gun control and gun rights. this, to me is a book about what happens when you don't have gun control. in no other western nation would this book be possible. there are other countries that have levels of violence that might be comparable or criminality but no other western country do you have this level of youth violence and typical to conclude that doesn't have something to do with guns. you will find very few mentions
of the second amendment in the book one way or the other. i am not debating that. i go to an nra convention and talk to people there. i talk to the protesters outside. but mostly this as a book primarily overwhelming about the ten children, the youngest was nine, the oldest 19, who were shot dead on that day. >> host: jaden dixon, kenneth mills tucker, stanley taylor, pedro cortease, newark new jersey, chicago, dallas, houston, marlet, michigan, san jose, california. pick one of these ten names and tell us his or her story. >> guest: the first child to be shot is in ohio. >> suburb of ohio. >> guest: it was his hometown suburb.
i think the near before. jaden's mom, nicole, had a rule, if you are up socks and shoes in the morning and dress before you. you can play mind craft or watch cars for the 80th time. jaden was ready that morning. he was watching duck dynesty. there is a knock on the dor. they are not used to people coming around before school but thought it might have been a couple girls down the road who came for sugar or a lift to school. jaden jumps up, answers the door and pulls it back like he is going to jump out and say boo. but nobody comes in so jaden pokes his head around the corner of the door and bang. nicole's ex, and the father of jaden's older mother, shoots
jaden square in the head. shoots his ex-partner and doesn't kill her and then is killed in a shootout. that is how tit happened. >> host: are any of these ten murders you talk about more random? >> guest: well, two are accidental shootings. one is at a sleepover in marlow, michigan. the father left out a gun that was loaded. the boys, at least one of the boys is curious. another one is two teenagers playing with a gun and they don't realize that if the clip is out it doesn't mean there is not one in the chamber and that
is how they die. there are some where people are wearing the wrong color and they kind of relate to a gang and they are shot. one case of mistaken identity. one of the boys who died is clearly involved in a gang. most are random. they don't all have to path of jaden's story but most you could imagine they go in another way. >> it won this years jerry lucas prize. he is a columnnist and the author of three other books
including the speech; the story behind martin luther king, jr's dream. your readers in london. are they fascinated? intered in america's so-called gun culture? -- interested. >> guest: to be honest, they really are. but in a range of ways america seems so similar and americans seem so similar and in this particular way the way in which it keeps happening. the way every story of a mass shooting, there is a sense of surely they will do something about this. surely something will change. and so, and i don't think it is just britain either. i think most of the rest of the western world are -- this is one of the main things they don't understand about america. in their mind it will be why do
you keep letting it happen? how come this keeps on happening? i say when people ask me whether you know are you hopeful about this issue i say look, they elected a black president twice and then they elected donald trump. they can do anything. they can do both of those things then they could do this. so, there is a kind of -- in most places, i think, if this number of kids were dying in this way, there would be some concentrated, legislative effort to kind of make it stop. >> host: let's hear what viewers have to say. gary young is our guest. leland is calling in from new york. leland, you are on the air. we are listening.
>> caller: yes, hi, peter. thank you very much. hi, gary, congratulations on your new book. my question, i guess, is kind of simple. you know, i had an idea a while back about having an all-good news news channel about america. if you were to offer some all-good news about america, i don't know, a good news channel about america, what would it be? and i am not trying to downgrade the important topic you are discussing but it seems we need more happiness in your life if you know what i mean kind of thing and i will leave it at that. >> guest: well, i mean, if you take the example that i just gave that this country was the first in the world to elect someone from an oppressed minority and went straight from there to elect donald trump. whatever you think of twhees
candidates reflect the nation's thinking. there are good candidates. i lived in america and covered american politics for 12 years and througho that time i saw lots of good people doing lots of great things. i spent the months before the election in a town called muncie, indiana which was famous for a middle town study. a representative of qui quintestenial american town. i spent a week with high school students who hold up signs saying we love you, you are doing your best. there are good people across the country including in this book. people trying to make their communities better, trying to make sure everybody gets a
dignified send off who has died. there are no shortage of good stories there. some of them in the segue that i think the gun problem is uniquely american among western countries so i think some of these good stories are uniquely american. >> host: matt, cleveland, ohio. you are on with gary younge. >> caller: hi, mr. younge. your book looks interesting and i think i will buy it. how many gun deaths and car accidents are related to people who are high on drugs or drunk? and the second question is you have two societies. i know switzerland and, i think, sweden, every man has a military rifle in his house, they are required to train with the militia or the national guard, whatever they call themselves,
and they don't have this level of gun violence. so, with that, i will let you speak. thank you. >> host: matt, what are you views when it comes to the second amendment and private ownership of guns? >> guest: >> caller: my sister lived in switzerland and i visited for a few days. i think all men should have to be in the armed forces like switzerland and train together once a year and i think instead of being segregated into different communities, black, white, whatever you can want to call it that would bring the nation together and help to calm down a lot of the violence. so, i am a big advocate. i would do a trade we will give gun control but we get to have a militia like in switzerland because let me say this and this is controversial. tens of thousands of children
can be killed. we are not giving up our guns. with google and mas surveillance it is an open opportunity to take over. someone like stalin and if that happens believe me we are going tofight. >> host: thank you, sir. gary younge? >> guest: i think that is true of switzerland. i guess i would say a few things. first of all, in regard to the kids who were killed that day, i can't say how many people were high on drugs or alcohol just because some of that information is unknown and some of the people who did the killing have not been caught. the distinction i would make between a place like switzerland and a place like america is that
switzerland, and this becomes clear in the book, which not all for the man of times can be spent dwelling on the gun as an instrument but on the context in which it might be used and then switzerland would not have the same history of slavery and segratn and so on. there is an experience of people in switzerland where they would have some kind of health care system which would mean -- i mean most people who died by a gun kill themselves. now, that would be less chance of them doing that if people had
access to mental health services. now, in america, i think i am writing the same thing the primary provider of health care is unsustainable. people ask me what is the single biggest thing that could bow done to stop gun deaths in general, not necessarily children, i generally say free mental health care because most people who are killed by guns kill themselves and many of the people who kill others also have mental health problems. so, i think that the context if one is going to compare america and switzerland then the reasons why i would say they are different wouldn't start with -- you know, the gun would be way, way down in terms of what was the determining factor so that
when you have these levels of inequality and segregation and school systems that aren't working, mental health problems that are not being addressed, and then you have the easy access to a lethal weapon, i think this is why. >> host: gary younge writes more than half american homes where there are children and firearms according to a 2000 study the weapons are in an unlocked place and in more than 40% of homes guns without agger lock are in an unlocked place. next call is gary in sherman oaks, california, here in the los angeles area. go ahead, gary. >> caller: hello. i am gary in sherman oaks. my question concerns -- i want to put out on idea for consideration. we live in a time when all progressive legislation is going to be coming through the states
and not the federal government. i think -- we also know that in the case of guns in california our states are more strigent gun safety laws have reduced compared to much of the country the problems of gun deaths and accidental guns and all sorts of other things. we have stronger laws on background checks in california. we prohibit lead-based ammunition because it poisons the environment. i think we in california deserve to be protected from the lowest standards of these other states. so, why not additionally purpose the agricultural inspection stations that are on every highway entrance to california as 24/7 inspection stations for guns and ammunition that people try to bring into our state in automobiles that do not conform
to california's much stricter laws as a means of protecting the people of california. >> host: all right. gregory, thank you very much. gary younge? >> guest: i think greg's point is could individual states not be more rigorous in defending the kind of gun culture that they want and the kind of protections and regulations. i mean, i am not american. it is not for me to really, you know, talk a whole lot about that but i guess i would say that seems to be -- while each state has its own jurisdictions they are all part of one country. you don't have border guards on states. it is one country. and while different states can have different laws and those
different laws can make an impact potentially when you are the size of a state like california i wonder how much -- how feasible that is as a kind of broader policy that each day more rigorously enforces its own laws against the invisible barriers of other states. >> host: that is one of the issues with chicago and mass killings. the gun laws in indiana across the border are a lot different than in chicago. >> guest: yeah, i think one gun shop outside the border of chicago where a huge number of the guns are involved in crimes are bought in this one gun store which is right next to where obama did his community organizing. >> host: rebecca is in warrior, alabama. good afternoon. go ahead. >> caller: thank you, mr. younge and thank you, c-span.
i wanted to let you know from my perspective of listening to what people have said is that we need to go back a step. it needs to start in the home, like you said, that a lot of times these guns are not even secure in their own home place. when i was growing up, i was trained at 8 years old how to handle a gun, what gun safety was, what guns did, what the effect of you and the consequences of using a gun were and how sacred life was and that you did not ever, ever point a gun at a person unless you were intending to kill them. so, that thing has to be sent t. that message has to go out to our children as we are raising them to have a respect for guns and we don't see that and i think that is a lot of why you have suicides and everything
else that is going on, mr. younge. >> host: rebecca, are you a gun owner today? >> guest: -- >> caller: -- yes, i have always been a gun owner. >> host: thank you, ma'am. gary younge? >> guest: yes, one of the boys in the book, his father has a gun, he is with his friend at a sleep over. they are left alone. i mean when the cdc, the centers for disease control, used to research into issues of gun safety because it does so many young people had killed or so many people die from firearms, but they are prevented from doing that because particularthry nra, the national rifle association, paved the
idea of it being understood as a disease. some of the research into what would work in terms of safety is no longer possible. the reason why i think it is important is because particularly young boys -- what they showed was even when they have been taught gun safety curiosity and mischief often trumped what they knew to be right or wrong. there was a case i mentioned in the book, not on that day, but a boy so excited about a gun safety class he takes the gun out to practice and accidently shoots himself. now, they did studies where they put boys in the room and hid a gun somewhere they knew they
would find. only one told an adult, half pulled a trigger and half had gun safety lessons. that is because kids are -- well, i have kids. there is stuff i tell them not to do that they do but most won't kill them. >> tyler, edwin, tyshon, gary, guston -- all males in your book. >> guest: that is not an average day. it was a random day. on an average day seven children are shot dead each day. two will be female five male. two will be suicides. three would be white, three black, and one would be latino on an average day and a native
americ american, or asian or pacific islander would be rotated are in. five black, two latino and one is white on this particular day. this is not a typical day. if you picked a different day you would get a different book. >> host: next call for gary younge is erin in california. >> caller: hi, i want to make a point my dialogue is going to change after listening to the intervening speakers. but i wanted to point out to him any time you go to a foreign country, one that even speaks your language, you are going to be taken back a little bit by what people deem to be dangerous and safe. i feel safer in the united states than i would if i lived in france or even england because of the terrorist attacks. maybe i would feel differently
if i had been in new york in 2001 but i think life is safer than it is in europe and possibly england and i am sure gary feels different living in england, maybe south of england like portsmith. so i think the idea of a psychological idea about where you feel safe isn't so much in the amount of guns that are rampant there but other considerations in your neighborhood about how you feel safe or don't feel safe. and i wanted to make one more point. he is talking about the need for increased mental health care. that wouldn't have saved sandy hook. the mother knew he had issues and bought him the gun as a form of therapy. you can lead a horse to water
but that doesn't force someone to seek mental health particularly if their family members see it differently. so, i don't think if that would have prevented some of the worst mass killings in the united states. >> host: erin in california. gary younge? >> guest: there is no way one can stop every parameter. there is no way one could do that. it is nonetheless, for example, true on the day of sandy hook a mentally ill man went into a school in china, an elementary school, with a knife. he didn't kill anybody. it is much harder to kill people with knives. guns will get the job done. that is the purpose. but coming back to the point of whether you do or don't feel
safe, one can do this by -- there are some statistical measures one can take. i grow up in britain. -- grew. now, i grew up during the era of ira, terrorism, you know? from northern ireland and now we have a different kind of terrorism. it is statistically impossible to claim that you are safer in america than you are in britain. it is just not true. the number of people who are killed by terrorist attacks in britain are very, very small. the number of people who are killed by guns in america is quite significant. and i mean given the demographics or where you live you may be less likely than if you lived in a certain part of chicago, certain part of d.c., or wherever but i remember
distinctly when moving back to britain after 12 years of living in america and four years living in chicago. the grandmother of one of my son's friends said i don't think i would go to britain now or europe. it is too dangerous. i said to her you live in chicago? chicago is way more dangerous. my wife, we lived on the north side of chicago not a dangerous part. my wife went to target and was coming back and there was a gun fight between her and the house. a gun washed up next to the playground. so, i think, you are right. there is the issue of where you feel safe but those feelings are not rational necessarily and don't necessarily align with the facts of where you are safe. >> host: another day in the death of america, a chronicle of ten short lives is the name of the book. gary younge is the author.
booktv's live coverage of the los angeles times book festival continues with the next author panel which is a panel on history. you will hear from jeff quinn, annie jacobson, and douglas preston talking about their books. here it is. >> good afternoon and welcome to the panel. i am gary glastner the author of seven non fiction books myself including the culture of fear, why americans are afraid of the wrong things. i am delighted to host and moderate today's discussion with these three highly accomplished authors each of whose current book i highly recommend to you, by the way. here is how it will work. afr