A Powerful Article on the Gun Problem We Don't Talk About

The sheer horror of massacres like the one in Newtown -- and before that those in Oak Creek and Aurora and Tucson and Blacksburg and Columbine and... -- gets our attention, and should. But as every gun-safety expert has pointed out, the much greater overall toll is from the hourly, nonstop, one-on-one murders across the country. President Obama was careful to note this in including "a street corner in Chicago" in his list, at the Newtown commemorations, of the recent sites of gun-borne tragedy. 

Dina Rasor has written about this daily toll in an extraordinary article in Truthout. The headline could make it sound as if it's a policy piece:

And it does contain data, for instance this from the Children's Defense Fund:
Between 1979 and 2009, gun deaths among white children and teens have decreased by 44 percent, compared to an overall 30 percent increase among black children and teens over the same period.
But overall it is a very powerful personal narrative, as compelling its way as anything we have heard form Newtown. I knew Rasor years ago when we were both living in Washington and working the defense-policy beat. Whether or not you had ever heard of her before, you will find this a remarkable portrait of our times and of the problems we confront.
Presented by

James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.


Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.


How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

More in National

From This Author

Just In