“It’s A War Zone Around There”


After a year marked by several horrific mass shootings (on the heels of other years marked by somewhat fewer horrific mass shootings), gun violence has been on all our minds.

This American Life addressed the issue with a two-part episode about the daily lives of students and staff at a Chicago high school where twenty-nine students were recently shot, eight of whom died—not in one large event but in isolated shootings over a series of months.

The episode hasn’t become as ubiquitous as, say, discussions on the Newtown shooting, but it is equally important to hear. If a killer indiscriminately opening fire on children is the stuff of nightmares, so is a neighborhood in which gang affiliation is not optional and kids walk in the middle of the street to stay safe.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →