What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones?

One of the books Erika Meitner lists as recommended reading for Copia is a CNF book that’s part investigative journalism, part memoir, by journalist Charlie LeDuff called Detorit: An American AutopsyI have a copy of this book sitting on my desk right now, and it’s a fantastic read–if you’re interested at all in learning about the economic downfall of Detroit, or sociologically breaking down all of the individual issues behind that downfall, definitely check it out.

Before LeDuff published Detroit, he came out with an extended article in Mother Jones about the death of a little girl named Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who was killed during a police raid on her home. The article, “What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones?”, is basically a preview of all the issues he discusses in his book, except that the story is centered around this little girl. Here’s one of my favorite quotes (in which LeDuff is discussing the tragic death of another teenager–not Aiyana) from the essay:

“It would be easy to lay the blame on McNeal for the circumstances in which she raised her sons. But is she responsible for police officers with broken computers in their squad cars, firefighters with holes in their boots, ambulances that arrive late, a city that can’t keep its lights on and leaves its vacant buildings to the arsonist’s match, a state government that allows corpses to stack up in the morgue, multinational corporations that move away and leave poisoned fields behind, judges who let violent criminals walk the streets, school stewards who steal the children’s milk money, elected officials who loot the city, automobile executives who couldn’t manage a grocery store, or Wall Street grifters who destroyed the economy and left the nation’s children with a burden of debt? Can she be blamed for that?”

It’s a long read, but definitely worth it–especially if you want a better context for understanding the third section of Copia. 

2 Replies to “What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones?”

  1. I’m going to steal this book from your room. It’s not stealing because I just told you. But actually, I wanted to read more of LeDuff’s work anyway and I, too, was really excited when his name was listed in the recommended reading.

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