These Three Photos Sum Up Gun Violence in America

The complexity of the gun debate in this country is something many outside America cannot fully comprehend. It divides America along cultural, political and regional lines. All too often public discourse about regulation of the nation’s more than 350 million guns—or more than one per person—is reduced to fruitless shouting contests. As a gun owner myself, I understand the complexity of the issue, but I must admit, when photographing the funeral of yet another child taken by gun violence, it doesn’t seem that complex anymore. At what point do we say enough is enough and find compromise?

Britta McNeal cries as she sees her son for the first time after he was shot to death. Chaise Sherrors, 17, was shot and killed on Detroit's East Side just weeks after his good friend JeíRean Nobles was shot to death in the same neighborhood. McNeal lost her 14-year-old son a year earlier, also shot. Detroit's East Side is the poorest, most violent part of the nationís poorest, most violent big city. Chaise Sherrors was giving a haircut on a porch when he was shot. Summary: A Detroit Requiem DetroitÖthe word alone incites many emotions within Americaís conscience.† Detroit was the epicenter for financial equality in the U.S., the home front for the ideal of well-paying jobs for the masses and a political force behind a strong middle class.† Henry Ford made Detroit a boomtown.† Five decades after he started, the boom began to bust.† Many reasons are at the heart of Detroitís decline: postwar industrial policies, urban planning, the 1967 race riots, UAW and auto industry management, Detroitís political cronyism, Clinton era trade deals, and quite possibly the mobility of the automobile itself.† It was the 1950ís when Detroit began the long decay that has brought the city to its present state, a time when Detroit, and America, was at its peak. Today, Detroit is Americaís poorest large city.† To avoid being the nationís perpetual murder capital, the police began cooking stats.† In 2008, they claimed 306 homicides ñ until The Detroit News discovered that there were actually 375.† In more than 70 percent of murders in Detroit, the killer got away with it.† Detroitís East Side is now the poorest, most violent quarter of Americaís poorest, most violent big city.† The illiteracy, child poverty, and unemployment rates hover around 50 percent.† The shooting death of seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones by police on Detroitís East Side brought national attention to this quarter over the summer of 2010.† But as the spotlight

Britta McNeal cries as she sees her son for the first time after he was shot to death. Chaise Sherrors, 17, was shot and killed on Detroit’s East Side just weeks after his good friend JeíRean Nobles was shot to death in the same neighborhood. McNeal lost her 14-year-old son a year earlier, also shot. Detroit’s East Side is the poorest, most violent part of the nation’s poorest, most violent big city.  Photo: Danny Wilcox Frazier/VII Photo

X-Ray of gunshot victims: shotgun blast to chest and throat, bullet to head, Detroit, Michigan. Summary: A Detroit Requiem DetroitÖthe word alone incites many emotions within Americaís conscience.† Detroit was the epicenter for financial equality in the U.S., the home front for the ideal of well-paying jobs for the masses and a political force behind a strong middle class.† Henry Ford made Detroit a boomtown.† Five decades after he started, the boom began to bust.† Many reasons are at the heart of Detroitís decline: postwar industrial policies, urban planning, the 1967 race riots, UAW and auto industry management, Detroitís political cronyism, Clinton era trade deals, and quite possibly the mobility of the automobile itself.† It was the 1950ís when Detroit began the long decay that has brought the city to its present state, a time when Detroit, and America, was at its peak. Today, Detroit is Americaís poorest large city.† To avoid being the nationís perpetual murder capital, the police began cooking stats.† In 2008, they claimed 306 homicides ñ until The Detroit News discovered that there were actually 375.† In more than 70 percent of murders in Detroit, the killer got away with it.† Detroitís East Side is now the poorest, most violent quarter of Americaís poorest, most violent big city.† The illiteracy, child poverty, and unemployment rates hover around 50 percent.† The shooting death of seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones by police on Detroitís East Side brought national attention to this quarter over the summer of 2010.† But as the spotlight faded, the killings continued. With 103 kids and teens murdered in Detroit between January of 2009 and July of 2010, I was sent to cover the failure of political and civil leaders in Detroit, the failure of industry in Detroit, the failure of the federal government in Detroit, the failure of America in Detroit.

X-Ray of gunshot victims: shotgun blast to chest and throat, bullet to head, Detroit, Michigan.  Photo: Danny Wilcox Frazier/VII Photo

Body bags fill a cooler at the Wayne County morgue; the deceased unclaimed, often due to relativeís inability to pay for a loved oneís burial. Summary: A Detroit Requiem      DetroitÖthe word alone incites many emotions within Americaís conscience.† Detroit was the epicenter for financial equality in the U.S., the home front for the ideal of well-paying jobs for the masses and a political force behind a strong middle class.† Henry Ford made Detroit a boomtown.† Five decades after he started, the boom began to bust.† Many reasons are at the heart of Detroitís decline: postwar industrial policies, urban planning, the 1967 race riots, UAW and auto industry management, Detroitís political cronyism, Clinton era trade deals, and quite possibly the mobility of the automobile itself.† It was the 1950ís when Detroit began the long decay that has brought the city to its present state, a time when Detroit, and America, was at its peak.      Today, Detroit is Americaís poorest large city.† To avoid being the nationís perpetual murder capital, the police began cooking stats.† In 2008, they claimed 306 homicides ñ until The Detroit News discovered that there were actually 375.† In more than 70 percent of murders in Detroit, the killer got away with it.† Detroitís East Side is now the poorest, most violent quarter of Americaís poorest, most violent big city.† The illiteracy, child poverty, and unemployment rates hover around 50 percent.† The shooting death of seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones by police on Detroitís East Side brought national attention to this quarter over the summer of 2010.† But as the spotlight faded, the killings continued.      With 103 kids and teens murdered in Detroit between January of 2009 and July of 2010, I was sent to cover the failure of political and civil leaders in Detroit, the failure of industry in Detroit, the failure of the federal government in Detroit, the failure of America in Detroit.

Body bags fill a cooler at the Wayne County morgue; the deceased unclaimed, often due to relative’s inability to pay for a loved one’s burial.  Photo: Danny Wilcox Frazier/VII Photo

These Three Photos Sum Up Gun Violence in America