Edel Rodriguez
Guns in America - NY Times

Having worked at a newsmagazine for many years, I grew accustomed to concentrating on work even when covering some of the worst news imaginable, there was always a magazine to get out and we had to focus on telling the story.  I have never had as difficult a time creating an image for a news story as I did yesterday.

I don't have a television in my studio as I've found it to be a distraction over the years.  At around 2pm I got a call from Erich Nagler at The New York Times and he gave me the horrible news of what had been going on in Newtown, Connecticut that morning.  I know Newtown well, the diner we stop at every time we go see family in New Hampshire is located there.  A good friend lives there and my first concern was for his family.

Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times had just started work on his story, so there was nothing concrete wo work with.  The column was to be about gun control and gun violence in America, and how we can and should make legislation to regulate guns.  I jotted some notes down from the art director, started watching the news coverage, and got to work.  The deep sadness of the story got to me a few times, and, to be honest, almost called back the art director to turn down the assignment, first time I've had that happen.  It was hard to work on this with all that was going on.  I knew Kristof would write an important article, so I decided to keep going with it.  Below are all the drawings and process from the time I got the phone call to the published image.

"IN the harrowing aftermath of the school shooting in Connecticut, one thought wells in my mind: Why can’t we regulate guns as seriously as we do cars?
The fundamental reason kids are dying in massacres like this one is not that we have lunatics or criminals — all countries have them — but that we suffer from a political failure to regulate guns.

Children ages 5 to 14 in America are 13 times as likely to be murdered with guns as children in other industrialized countries, according to David Hemenway, a public health specialist at Harvard who has written an excellent book on gun violence.

So let’s treat firearms rationally as the center of a public health crisis that claims one life every 20 minutes. The United States realistically isn’t going to ban guns, but we can take steps to reduce the carnage.

American schoolchildren are protected by building codes that govern stairways and windows. School buses must meet safety standards, and the bus drivers have to pass tests. Cafeteria food is regulated for safety. The only things we seem lax about are the things most likely to kill.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has five pages of regulations about ladders, while federal authorities shrug at serious curbs on firearms. Ladders kill around 300 Americans a year, and guns 30,000.

We even regulate toy guns, by requiring orange tips — but lawmakers don’t have the gumption to stand up to National Rifle Association extremists and regulate real guns as carefully as we do toys. What do we make of the contrast between heroic teachers who stand up to a gunman and craven, feckless politicians who won’t stand up to the N.R.A.?"



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