This collection of fiction and nonfiction tackles the tough question of guns in America. We are a gun culture. The psychology of gun ownership and gun violence are entwined. Editor Michael Cart has assembled a dazzling array of top authors for young adults in this important and timely book. They include Chris Crutcher, Francesca Lia Block, Joyce Carol Oates, Chris Lynch, Walter Dean Myers, Alex Flinn, and Will Weaver.
“What are guns for? Where do they fit in in our society? The big answer is that we in America think of ourselves as a nation where the individual can ‘make it.’ We each have a chance to improve ourselves, but we must do that mostly alone. According to this image of America, we, or our forebearers, found a way to survive, and a gun has been part of that power that stands for what we can do alone: hunt for game, protect our homes, fight for our country.” (From the foreword by Michael Cart)
I was pleased to write the introduction to this book, and bring to it my background as a hunter and gun owner. Most of my author friends in the collection do not have have my rural background, so I felt useful in sharing my family’s ongoing experience with gun ownership and gun use. Make no mistake–I don’t belong to the NRA, and I think gun violence in America needs to be treated like the health crisis it is. Still, I wanted to portray that gun ownership can be a natural part of certain ways of life. Hunting and shooting sports should not necessarily be thrown together with discussion of gun violence in America. In my introduction, I tell a family story of my son who chose not to follow the family tradition of deer hunting, and who sees guns much differently than me.