Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for...Guns

Controversial Song of the Day: "21 Guns" by Greenday

For the entire month of April, we'll be participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Our theme for the month? CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS IN YA. Check out the link above for other awesome blogs participating.

Taken from Trialx.com
Guns have always been a hot button issue among Americans. Guns and teens became a bigger problem  in 1999, after the school shooting that occurred at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. Unfortunately, the news of school shootings did not end there. This goes to show that teens are getting their hands on guns much easier.

Did you know...?

*Nearly half of African American teens know someone who has been shot

*34% of teens say they can get a handgun if they really wanted to

*More than one in three teens say they fear being shot someday

*42.6% of teens fear that gun violence might happen at their school

Statistics taken from ucanchicago.org

Gun violence is prevalent in teen's lives. Just this year, there have been two instances of teens bringing guns to school and opening fire: Chardon, OH on March 28th (the student opened fire, killing three classmates and seriously wounding two others) and Oakland,CA on April 2nd (at a Christian school--the suspect is a man in his 40's, but this still occurred at a school).  

I think it's all too obvious that school shootings are happening, and instead of sheltering out children and never making them aware, we should welcome YA novels about this violence. Maybe one teen who reads a book about school shootings can prevent another one from happening.

Since YA writers tend to create stories based on teen issues, there are numerous novels that discuss school shootings. Here are a few of those novels:

*Shooter by Walter Dean Myers

*Hate List  by Jennifer Brown

*Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

*Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser

*Project X by Jim Shepard

Do you all know of any other important books about school shootings that we've left off? What about your own writing--have any school violence or guns in them??


Rachel said...

I love HATE LIST! Also, Jodi Picoult's NINETEEN MINUTES is a similar book...school shooting and the aftermath.
In my novel, I start off the book w/a school shooting too and the gun is a feature throughout. Yea my book is dark :P

Catherine Stine said...

I applaud you for talking about this and listing the relevant novels. I have heard of others, but I can't think of titles at the moment. In my YA novel, the protag fights with his fists, and his ability to strategize. The ability to think logically and creatively will get you out of many binds without the need to kill. Witness Katniss in the Hinger Games. Kids are just so easily triggered by feeling disrespected and a need for revenge. I'm over from A to Z if you want to visit. I'm #639. Good luck with your own writing! Catherine

Unknown said...

I realized I could so go off on a tangent when it comes to this subject so I'll try to be behave. It really boils down to the fact that there really isn't enough education on these matters. Children these days are exposed to violence at a very young age through video games, TV and film. But when they develop a curiosity about such things, they're shut down because it's a taboo topic. I believe many of these high school shooters don't have any concept of the consequences of their actions. In short, I fully agree that it's a topic that should be tackled more often in YA lit. and just in general.

deathwriter said...

I have only read three books in the YA category, and of course they are the Hunger Games trilogy. My daughter is in AP English in 6th grade and she has to read 40 books a year. Her teacher wasn't going to count the Hunger Games because it is a 5th grade book. I was shocked by this. That book is dark. I wanted to read it before my daughter and I finally caved and let her read it. I don't believe anything should be taboo as a writing subject if it is something relevant to teen life, which unfortunately guns are. I think having someone to discuss the book with (parent, teacher, librarian, etc) is important.
And that's my two cents:)

Carrie-Anne said...

My current WIP is a YA historical, and since my MC is a partisan and later an official soldier in the Dutch Army, he does use guns and kill a number of people in the defense of his country and as revenge for what's happened to his family. I think a character using guns is perfectly okay if it's presented in the right context, and s/he's shown having realistic mixed feelings about it.

Catch My Words said...

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccault is a wonderful book that gives the reader good insights into the mind of the shooter. Thanks for stopping by.

Catch My Words

Anonymous said...

Guns have exist since long time in America, nevertheless for this, youngs were used to commit such a killing. This is not something new, isn't it? So, what is really the change on teens, uh?
Quite simple! To youngs is beeing prescribed psichiatric drugs known more or less to produce aggressive and or suicide impulses. Under drugs anyone can behave differently and possibly do things one wouldn't if were not drugged. Nothing to be surprised about it.
Please see www.cchr.org
Sincerely Lorenzo Paludo
Citizen Commission for Human Rights Volunteer