In the Media

Fighting guns with words in Birmingham

PUBLISHED May 16, 2005

Leroy McKoy has a novel way of getting young gang members' attention. He asks them to list the children and babies of friends whose funerals they have attended. All can write down several names. Then he asks if they are prepared to add their own children's names.

By their late teens or early 20s, most of the young men involved in Birmingham's violent gun culture are fathers. What forces them to confront their own mortality is the thought of their own offspring being left fatherless.