A Morenci Area High School student was a semifinalist in the Letters about Literature writing contest sponsored by the National Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.
Sophomore Becca Heinze was selected as a Michigan semifinalist in the annual program in which students write a letter to an author to explain how a book influenced their thoughts about a topic.
Heinze wrote to author Todd Strasser about his book “Give a Boy a Gun” as part of an assignment from English teacher Sally Kruger.
Mrs. Kruger assigned her students to write a letter to an individual who influenced them. Many of the students chose parents or relatives and gave the letters as Christmas gifts. Mrs. Kruger also spoke about the contest and four students—Heinze, Emily Schmidt, Aaron Elarton and Coleton Barkway —opted to choose an author.
Heinze’s letter follows:
Dear Mr. Strasser,
I am writing just so you will be aware of how your book affected the way I have thought about school violence.
In some ways, I felt the book was thought provoking and made me think of how it could be related to my schoolmates/teachers. In other ways, I felt a quick turn with your notations at the bottom of each page when the shooting scene was happening. All notations cited and pointed fingers at companies that manufacture firearms. It was not until I read “the final thought” that I realized that was the entire motivation behind the writing of this book.
I completely disagree with the idea that the true life incidents of school shootings should be used as a tool to make all gun owners look evil. What is evil in this book is the bullying, and the reactions of the boys who turn to violence because of the bullying.
I was also disturbed at the scene that describes Brandon losing his gun. His enemies from the football team beat him with their own bare hands into a coma! These kids also wanted to murder and this is equally as bad as what Brandon and Gary did, in my opinion. They should have let the police handle him.
After reading this book, in my opinion, it makes just as much sense to blame the high school football program as it does to blame guns for the shootings. The fact is, it doesn’t make sense. I do not believe banning either one would change violence in schools. I feel that innocent victims were unjustly used in order to relay your own personal opinion about guns.