Monday, February 25, 2013

Harper High School

Even if you never listen to podcasts, you need to listen to this one. This American Life did a two part special on Harper High School in Chicago. In 2012, twenty-nine recent and current Harper students were shot.

People talk a big game when it comes to violence and guns, with vague language and cherry-picked statistics. This effort walks miles above all that, with a street level view of what it's like to live in the crosshairs of a gun every day, just because you're a kid in Chicago.

The principal and staff at Harper are heroes you will not soon forget.

A detail: when interviewers asked kids what was the most popular firearm, the collective response was "thirty," a reference to the high capacity magazines. These kids are terrible with guns. Hence, their only real chance of hitting their target is a numbers game. Call it the spray technique.

Do whatever you need to do. Download the podcasts and burn them onto discs and play them in the car during your commute if you don't have an iPod. Just listen. You will not find a better example of longform radio journalism than this.

This is your America. Open your eyes and take a good long look. After all, you own this.

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Mrs. C said...

Thank you, Erin. What goes on in Chicago is emblematic of our society as a whole. They are our children. We need to move our asses.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Erin, but if anonymous clans of slack-jawed troglodytes, paranoid-schizophrenics, angry loners, the criminally insane, drunken motorists and Wayne LaPierre can't defend theirselves against the UN black helicopters or against the unfortunate random car-load of noisy teenagers who took a wrong turn, the Republic Will Fall. Hell, as it is the government is interfering with the god-given right of American citizens to use members of a fairly intelligent species threatened only by human predation* as recreational watercraft. Where will it end, Erin? Where will it end?


WV: 'bookerp'-Wyatt's librarian cousin.

*Florida manatees. Look it up. The Tea party down there is pretty darned upset about this.

Erin O'Brien said...

I would like to see Mr. LaPierre have a nice long constitutional around Harper High's surrounding neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

"Where will it end, Erin? Where will it end?"-MR

I fear the genie is out of the bottle.

Seeking a "Field of Dreams" for a rising drone industry.


Anonymous said...

That school has major issues which the Chicago community keeps ignoring. Including the politicians.

Erin O'Brien said...

Nothing in that report surprises me after listening to the podcasts.

Anonymous said...

@Erin-Mr LaPierre would soil his Depends if he had to walk more than a couple hundred feet without bodyguards in most urban neighborhoods in this country. I'd love to ride the A train with Wayne all the way out to Ozone Park during rush hour and catalog his responses to his surroundings.

The irony is pretty thick. The 'You-can't-take-away-my-Uzi-the-Constitution-says-so' Second Amendment absolutists talk the toughest line of crap possible but the real reason they want maximum firepower is that many of them are scared shitless.


Mrs. C said...

Thanks for taking a cruise by my 'blog recently, Erin--my students (high school seniors) *love* it when someone unknown wanders in an says a little somethin'; seems to lend [another?] layer of legitimacy to their quest in pursuing truth--both hard- and soft-shelled.

BTW, my kids' experience is so very far removed from that of their peers at Harper that it breaks my heart. It is not right that some should be so privileged and some so completely not.

Anonymous said...

"@Erin-Mr LaPierre would soil his Depends if he had to walk more than a couple hundred feet without bodyguards in most urban neighborhoods in this country."-MR

Agreed MR. Much to the consternation of some of the mouth-breathing, pistol-packing Neanderthals I encounter in my geographic region I have suggested their fat, out-of-shape, cigarette smoking asses would last about 5 minutes in an urban fire fight. "Well I bet I could whup your liberal pussy ass" they usually retort. Shudder.


Erin O'Brien said...

Funny you should say that, RJ. I've always thought nothing has emasculated the American male more than the firearms industry.

A nice set of guns on a guy used to mean a gorgeous set of upper arms courtesy of the local weight room or working 10 hours a day with a jackhammer. Not any more.

In towns like Detroit and CLE and Youngstown, you'd go into any shitkicker bar and there would be THAT GUY, maybe 40 or 50 years old. You took one look and knew he was tough as hell. Nobody approached him from behind in the parking lot.

Those guys are all but gone. Why worry about muscles when the only one you need is in your little ol' trigger finger?


Confidential to all you pure, angelic, white-hat-wearing, good guys with guns out there: Yes, I know not all gun owners are like this but y'all pretty much handed the bull horn over to LaPierre & Co. without a fight. Getting it back is your problem.

Anonymous said...


And rarely did a bar brawl result in death.


Bill said...

I'm learning a lot about todays male gun owners. They're mouth breathing, fat smokers. Also, todays male gun owners don't work out and are emasculated. I do need to get out more.

Erin O'Brien said...

True story: a friend of mine who is an avid gun enthusiast attended an area gun show with her husband. She was wearing a tee shirt with a peace sign.

She got so many intimidating comments and actions, she returned to the car to get a jacket and cover the shirt up.

Erin O'Brien said...

After perusinga simple google image search for "gun show," I'm wonderting how many of those boys could run/walk a mile in 12 minutes.

The vast majority are white, overweight, male and over 40.


No, really.