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Book of the Week

Another Day in the Death of America

Episode 5

Duration: 15 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC Radio 4 FMLatest broadcast: on BBC Radio 4 LW

On Saturday 23rd November 2013, ten children were shot dead in the US. The youngest was nine, the oldest was nineteen. They fell in suburbs, hamlets and ghettos. None made the national news. It was just another day in the death of America, where on average seven children and teens are killed by guns daily.

Gary Younge picked 23rd November at random, and set out to tell the stories of the lives lost during that single day.

Samuel Brightmon's shooting was reported in the Dallas Morning News: "Police are investigating after a teenager was fatally shot on Saturday night when walking down the street in Southeast Dallas," the article read. "Police say Samuel Brightmon, 16, and another 16-year-old were walking in the 7300 block of Schepps Parkway around 11 pm when they heard gunshots. As the teens tried to run away, Brightmon was shot and collapsed in the street. Brightmon was taken to Baylor University Medical Center of Dallas where he was pronounced dead. No suspect has been identified."

"That was it," writes Younge. "They didn't have an awful lot to go on. The police report is similarly minimal, adding only that it believed the shooting was not gang-related. There was no profile, no testimony from his school friends or teachers. No sense of who he was, let alone why he was killed. His death was counted. It just didn't count for much."

Abridged by Jo Coombs
Produced by Hannah Marshall
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4. Show less

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