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Let It Bang by RJ Young
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Let It Bang

A Young Black Man’s Reluctant Odyssey into Guns

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Narrator RJ Young
Length 4 hours 17 minutes
Language English
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The most RJ Young knew about guns was that they could get him killed. Until, recently married to a white woman and in desperate need of a way to relate to his gun-loving father-in-law, Charles, Young does the unimaginable: he accepts Charles's gift of a Glock.

Despite, or because of, the racial rage and fear he experiences among white gun owners ("Ain't you supposed to be shooting a basketball?"), Young determines to get good, really good, with a gun. Let It Bang is the compelling story of the author's unexpected obsession—he eventually becomes an NRA-certified pistol instructor—and of his deep dive into the heart of America's gun culture: what he sees as the domino effect of white fear, white violence, black fear, rinse, repeat. Young’s original reporting on shadow industries like US Law Shield, which insures and defends people who report having shot someone in self-defense, and on the newly formed National African American Gun Association, gives powerful insight into the dynamic. Through indelible profiles, Young brings us up to the current rocketing rise in gun ownership among black Americans, most notably women.

RJ Young is a black writer whose work has appeared in Grantland, Racialicious, Reuters, the Oklahoman, This Land Press, Knoxville News Sentinel, Tulsa World, SB Nation Longform and USA Today, among other publications. He is a graduate of the Sports Journalism Institute and received a 2013 Diversity Fellowship from Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. He was a finalist in the sports reporting category in the 2014 Great Plains Journalism Awards. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Tulsa and a master's degree in professional writing from the University of Oklahoma.

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