I tucked my notebook under my arm and leaned over, guiding him to fasten his top button and slide the metal clip behind it. He snapped it on, then stuffed a matching handkerchief in the vest pocket. His ensemble complete, Tyshaun glanced down, contemplating why he had to wear what he was wearing.
“Whoever invented guns needs to stop,” he told me. That moment would eventually appear in my book, “Children Under Fire: An American Crisis.” In more than five years of reporting on this subject, I have interviewed or written about children who survived the shootings at Columbine High, Parkland High and Sandy Hook Elementary.
Six teenage girls who narrowly escaped the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas. Four first-graders who were standing on a South Carolina playground when a teenager started shooting. A 4-year-old from Cleveland who was shot in the head during a road rage incident. An 11-year-old from South Carolina who took his own life with his dad’s unsecured revolver. A 12-year-old from Minnesota who opened fire at a middle school. A 7-year-old from D.C. who shot his 4-year-old relative with a gun he thought was a toy, leaving her paralyzed. An 11-year-old and her 13-year-old brother, from Baltimore, who lost their father in one shooting and their mother in another.