Jun 2, 2022 4 min read

#346: What Bullets Do To Bodies

#346: What Bullets Do To Bodies

Dear Loyal Readers, More than 30 of you reached out with kind, thoughtful words after last week’s issue . Thank you. I’ll keep what you said private, but please know that I’m grateful for your messages of care. I’m proud and appreciative of the reading community we have built here over the last seve

Dear Loyal Readers,

More than 30 of you reached out with kind, thoughtful words after last week’s issue. Thank you. I’ll keep what you said private, but please know that I’m grateful for your messages of care. I’m proud and appreciative of the reading community we have built here over the last seven years, and I look forward to continuing to grow alongside you.

Choosing this week’s articles was challenging. Should I look for pieces on gun violence or steer clear of the topic? Besides offering the best articles on race, education, and culture, what’s the deeper purpose of the newsletter in the first place? After some reflection, I did what I do: Read, and then read some more, seeking to find pieces that are well written, thought provoking, from a range of publications, and generous in spirit.

Today’s lead article, “What Bullets Do To Bodies,” profiles Dr. Amy Goldberg, a heroic trauma surgeon who bluntly states that the only way our country will change its mind on guns is if we are shown the autopsy photos of dead children. The second piece offers evidence to the claim that a “good guy with a gun” is not going to stop a “bad guy with a gun.” If the idea of reading those articles is too upsetting, skip to the last two selections – one about the vitriolic reading wars and the other about a woman who wanted an abortion before Roe v. Wade.

My hope is that you’ll find at least one article worthy of your time and attention. Thank you for reading The Highlighter. Please have a good week.

Thank you,


P.S. Tonight’s Highlighter Happy Hour is sold out! If you didn’t get your free ticket this time, join us at our next one on Thursday, Aug. 4.

What Bullets Do To Bodies

From 2017, but still very relevant: Dr. Amy Goldberg has been a surgeon in the trauma unit at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia for the past 30 years. Her life’s work is to save people from dying from gun violence. If we knew what bullets do to bodies, Dr. Goldberg says, we would change our minds about our right to bear arms. The problem, of course, is that many people, even after Uvalde, have decided that gun violence is not a real problem, that it affects only people of color in cities.

+ I originally featured this article in Issue #91. Investigative reporter Jason Fagone, who has written about lotteries and artificial intelligence and white supremacists, joined us at Article Club in 2020 and is one of my favorite writers.

During Parkland, One Of The Deadliest School Shootings, Armed Officer Scot Peterson Stood Outside. Why?

I read this article the weekend before the Uvalde massacre and expected a measured profile that offered the subject empathy with his decision not to engage the shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Not so. Author Eric Barton doesn’t directly accuse deputy sheriff Scot Peterson of negligence but allows him to condemn himself with extended rationalizations and general gobbledygook. Mr. Peterson talks and talks but makes very little sense. (25 min)

Charles Blow on the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, and how the protests for change have retreated. hltr.co/charlesblow

A Reading Guru Defers To The Science Of Reading

Several of you sent me this article (thank you!) asking for my two cents. Here they are: By all means, let’s teach reading according to what the research says is right. And let’s make sure all teachers have access to best practices. But there’s no need to trash Lucy Calkins or other experts who have devoted their careers to support young people’s reading development. Saying “the science of reading” again and again to attack your opponents (and capitalizing it, and abbreviating it SoR) won’t magically make our students read better. It’s doing the work with students that makes the difference. (10 min)

+ Listen to my 2018 interview with Emily Hanford, the journalist who first attacked Ms. Calkins and whose documentaries popularized the science of reading movement.

Before Roe, A Florida Woman Was Prosecuted For Getting An Abortion. Her Story Sparked A Movement.

It’s June, which means the Supreme Court’s monumental decision to ban abortion is just a few weeks away. Yesterday I listened to the first episode of this season’s Slow Burn podcast, which focuses on the story of Shirley Wheeler, a 22-year-old woman who was convicted of manslaughter for obtaining an illegal abortion in 1970.

+ This month at Article Club, we’re reading and discussing “The Roe Baby,” featured in Issue #311. Our conversation will be on Sunday, June 26. Let me know if you’d like to participate.

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