Cover image for Gunstories : life-changing experiences with guns
Gunstories : life-changing experiences with guns
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperTempest, c2006.
Physical Description:
ix, 245 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
General Note:
"Katherine Tegen books."
Foreword by David Kennedy -- Introduction -- Shooting has empowered me / Merry Briski -- My scar / Adam Galvan -- AKA deerslayer / Danielle Nuzom -- Everything changed / Lupe Ornelas and Elizabeth Thomas -- Lead bullet study -- Recent school shootings -- Both sides / Sarah Davis -- A Gun took away my mom / Aushayla Brown -- Pro-gun mom / Maggie and Rosie Heil -- Take an extended holiday from gun violence -- Ban them altogether / Niko and Theo Milonopoulos -- The Brady bill -- Gungirl / Cori Miller -- When it happens in front of you / Jaime Conde -- Gun suicides -- Very good way of growing up / Todd Endsley -- For everyone I love that can't be here / Luz Santiago -- Always interested in guns / Jacki Briski -- Jackie's words -- Salinas Police Department news releases -- Bullet doesn't have a name / Victor Salgado -- In the middle / Sarah and Shea Downing -- Guns ain't right - they can ruin your life / Veronica Lopez -- Perfection is the key / Jeff Naswadi -- Second amendment -- Then and now / Gilbert Salinas and Lonnie Washington -- Suggested reading list -- List of organizations -- Acknowledgments -- Photo captions.
"A collection of stories, interviews, and photographs that share the mixed impact guns have on young people's lives"--Provided by publisher.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 363.33092 ATK 1 1

On Order



Guns are a fact of life for young people growing up in the United States. They are present in homes -- for protection, sport, and hunting. Guns are also on the street -- for defense and security, and in gang-related uses. Guns can cause accidents, injuries, and deaths, while they can also nurture self-esteem, bolster confidence, and foster athletic abilities.

The impact of guns is life changing and undoubtedly twofold.

In a series of evocative and stirring interviews and photographs, S. Beth Atkin presents an array of young people who candidly share the mixed consequences of guns in their lives. Told in their own voices, these are their remarkable stories.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Young people give their opinions both for and against gun use in Gunstories: Life-Changing Experiences with Guns by S. Beth Atkin. A 21-year-old Midwesterner competes in shooting competitions; a 16-year-old Californian says that where he lives, everyone "wishes that guns weren't around"-he accidentally shot himself; two teens describe their experiences as victims, in their own homes, of a drive-by; another Midwestern teen believes that her family's hunting experience creates a family bond. With a generous number of photographs, Atkin presents a balanced view of the pros and cons and allows readers to come to their own conclusions. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Illustrated with Atkin's photographs, this compilation of teenagers' gun-related stories showcases mostly competitive shooters or hunters (overwhelmingly white, rural, female, and pro-gun) and victims of gun accidents and violence (overwhelmingly urban, minority, and anti-gun), with a few activists thrown in. Individual stories are compelling, but the highly polarized spectrum of experiences plays on stereotypes and dismisses complexity. Reading list. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Gr. 7-10. The author of Voices from the Streets: Young Former Gang Members Tell Their Stories0 (1996) again draws on individual testimony, this time to illuminate the diversity of teens' encounters with guns. The personal experiences range from Junior NRA members who feel guns have made them more disciplined, to urban youth whose lives have been tragically altered by gun violence. The material are presented largely in the teens' own words, but without crude or sensational language. The collection as a whole is unbiased, but the teens themselves, whether for or against guns, are very opinionated. "One thing shooters have in common is that we're pretty open people to all sorts of ideas," claims one teen, who then accuses opponents of "manipulating the minds of the masses." The accounts will be excellent for classroom discussion as teens seek to extract fact from opinion. Appended are suggested readings and a solid, annotated list of organizations related to gun safety and use, including places to contact in times of crisis. Buy more than one copy; you'll need backup. --Cindy Dobrez Copyright 2006 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Atkin's Voices from the Streets (Little, Brown, 1996), about the life and times of youthful gang members, stimulated her research into guns and how they affect teens' lives. This book is the result, providing transcripts of interviews with young people from across the country. It clearly shows the diversity of the American gun culture, contrasting, for example, Ohio 4-H clubs that train boys and girls to target shoot competitively with South Central L.A., where their urban counterparts too often find themselves in the front lines of gun violence. Some of the interviewees have been shot, others have seen the lives of strangers, friends, and family members devastated by shootings. Hunting accidents, unintentional shootings, and suicide are other aspects of the issue that are addressed. Though there is a bit of repetition, the stories clearly bear the stamp of each teen's individual reality, including those who seem, in turn, naive, overtly influenced by adults around them, and/or jaded. Atkin's often artful photographs personalize the tragedies of those who have suffered and reveal something of the hopes of teens to whom guns are seen as tools for good. Additional material includes Web-site postings, the text of the Second Amendment, etc. This book should be useful for students involved in the debate about guns in our culture as well as for those with a general interest in the subject.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

With an eye to the reality that "[g]uns are a fact of life for young people growing up in the United States today," Atkin offers up the stories of 18 young people whose lives have intersected with guns in some way. Inner-city youths whose lives have been shattered by firearms share the pages with rural kids, for whom shooting is a positive part of their lives. The stories alternate, from the college woman who found confidence through shooting, to a boy who accidentally shot himself in the head, and so on. Although the author's intent is to present as balanced a look as possible, the very nature of the stories works against her: The tale of a former gang member who lost six loved ones by the age of 13 cannot help but be more compelling than the story of a girl who was a member of her college's shooting team. Also, the "pro-gun" voices have almost all been drawn from one shooting club and present a regrettable sameness of attitude and experience. Still, it's a thoughtful and worthy effort that takes both issue and readership seriously. (bibliography, related organizations) (Nonfiction. 12+) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.



Gunstories Life-Changing Experiences with Guns Chapter One Luz Santiago "I'm assuming that the kids reading this will know these stories are real. The stories come from hurtful backgrounds. And as powerful as guns might seem, they're not so powerful when you lose someone you love and when you have to do time. I would hope from reading these experiences, they would learn that guns aren't toys and that guns can impact your life. It should not be the way for you to go and change your life. Why go through that route. Why would you want a gun to change your life?" Cori Miller "The first time I was taught to use a gun, I remember it like nothing else." . . . I used to be really shy. Once I started shooting I got less shy and I really started coming out of my shell . . . And it really makes you feel that you have some self -worth and makes you have confidence." Theo Milonopolous "I just don't see any purpose for them in our lives today. Maybe our forefathers needed them 200 years ago. But now, what do you need them for besides killing something? And you can't shoot in most urban cities today, so why do you need a gun? You are willing to kill just say for hunting. Well what's the point of killing something. Is that supposed to be fun?" Merry Briski "If you're going to be in contact with a gun or around the shooting sports at all you need to have an understanding of value of human life and of the power of what you are holding in your hand. - Adam Galvan "I was looking at it, at the barrel from the side and then right at it and then just BAM, it fired. I fell backwards. I didn't feel anything; it was like a dream. I was thinking I'm going to wake up soon." Sarah Davis " What I do think is, it all comes back to the idea of, if we're ever going to put a stop to things like this then we need to come to terms with the fact that people who do this, they're human. They're not so different from you and me and you're not going to be able to just pinpoint and figure out who's evil. It doesn't really work that way.- Victor Salgado "It happened so fast. . . . .Antonio, he just laid in my hands and I'm like"Antonio", I started screaming"Antonio!" I had his blood all over me. . . . . . . .We drove him to the hospital. He died on the way over. I was covering his bullet hole. I couldn't believe it. You know, everything was going perfect and then my friend died. Who would have expected that on such a good day something so tragic could happen." Lupe Ornelas "You know, getting shot, it's just something I'll never forget. After that happened, I wasn't the same person . . . . . . I was very scared about who I was around, thinking there were people that were going to put me in danger. It changed my life a lot." Aushayla Brown "A gun took away my mom. . . . .You can have physical pain and you can do something to make it go away. But once a bullet hits, and the person is gone, there is nothing you can do about it. And you know what it's like to have someone taken away from you? They say the worst pain is from a paper cut. That's not the worst pain. The worse pain you could ever have is emotional pain. There's no prescription drug for that." Jeff Naswadi "So I guess I'd say guns have changed my life politically, I mean, we have obligations to stand up for our rights. Not just about guns, but in everything. I think there's a lot more credibility to the pro-gun side than there is to the anti-gun side because we're standing up for something that's written clearly within the Constitution, while the anti-gun side is trying to slowly change the meaning of that." Lonnie Washington "One difference that I see from when I was growing up is, if you had a problem, you knuckled up and put your gun on the cement and went at it. It was more of a respect thing. But now, it's shoot first ask questions later. Kids really don't know the damage that guns can do. If they get a chance to see that you don't get back up after you get shot, then I think they start to understand." Gunstories Life-Changing Experiences with Guns . Copyright © by S. Atkin. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Gunstories: Life-Changing Experiences with Guns by S. Beth Atkin All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

David KennedyMerry BriskiAdam GalvanDanielle NuzomLupe Ornelas and Elizabeth TomasSarah DavisAushayla BrownMaggie Heil and Rosie HeilNiko Milonopoulos and Theo MilonopoulosCori MillerJaime CondeTodd EndsleyLuz SantiagoJackie BriskiVictor SalgadoSarah Downing and Shea DowningVeronica LopezJeff NaswadiGilbert Salinas and Lonnie Washington
Forewordp. vii
Introductionp. 3
1 Shooting Has Empowered Mep. 10
2 My Scarp. 22
3 AKA Deerslayerp. 32
4 Everything Changedp. 42
Lead Bullet Studyp. 50
Recent School Shootingsp. 56
5 Both Sidesp. 60
6 A Gun Took Away My Momp. 74
7 Pro-gun Momp. 82
Take an Extended Holiday from Gun Violencep. 92
8 Ban Them Altogetherp. 94
The Brady Billp. 107
9 GunGirlp. 108
10 When It Happens in Front of Youp. 118
Gun Suicidesp. 123
11 A Very Good Way of Growing Upp. 128
12 For Everyone I Love That Can't Be Herep. 138
13 Always Interested in Gunsp. 152
Jackie's Wordsp. 161
Salinas Police Department News Releasesp. 166
14 A Bullet Doesn't Have a Namep. 170
15 In the Middlep. 182
16 Guns Ain't Right-They Can Ruin Your Lifep. 188
17 Perfection Is the Keyp. 198
The Second Amendmentp. 209
18 Then and Nowp. 210
Suggested Reading Listp. 223
List of Organizationsp. 228
Acknowledgmentsp. 238
Photo Captionsp. 243