7 episodes

Philadelphia experienced a tragic surge in gun violence in 2020, with 499 of our fellow residents killed and another 2,200 shot.

In February of last year, The Citizen started trying to understand the causes, effects and fixes for gun violence in Philadelphia and around the country. We spent the year reporting on the issue, while both Covid-19 and shootings devastated neighborhoods around the city.

The resulting seven-episode podcast is part of that reporting. In it we tell the stories of Philadelphians intimately affected by the city’s gun violence, those working to end it, those who have found solutions here and elsewhere—and those who have failed to step up to this moment when we most need them.

Philly Under Fire The Philadelphia Citizen

    • News
    • 5.0 • 23 Ratings

Philadelphia experienced a tragic surge in gun violence in 2020, with 499 of our fellow residents killed and another 2,200 shot.

In February of last year, The Citizen started trying to understand the causes, effects and fixes for gun violence in Philadelphia and around the country. We spent the year reporting on the issue, while both Covid-19 and shootings devastated neighborhoods around the city.

The resulting seven-episode podcast is part of that reporting. In it we tell the stories of Philadelphians intimately affected by the city’s gun violence, those working to end it, those who have found solutions here and elsewhere—and those who have failed to step up to this moment when we most need them.

    Roadmap to Nowhere

    Roadmap to Nowhere

    Philadelphia experienced a tragic surge in gun violence in 2020, with 499 of our fellow residents killed and another 2,200 shot. Like other cities across the country, there were several factors for the uptick in violence, including the Covid-19 pandemic, which devastated some neighborhoods and many residents physically and economically. But Philadelphia was already experiencing an uptick in shootings, even before the pandemic hit. And that violence continues unabated today.
    In February 2020, The Citizen commissioned bestselling author/journalist/podcaster Jo Piazza to try to understand the causes, effects and fixes for gun violence. A month later, Covid-19 came to Philly. Piazza spent the ensuing months navigating the twin epidemics, recognizing the parallels in who was affected and how the afflictions manifested in certain neighborhoods—and the differences in how we as a city reacted. Her seven-episode podcast tells the stories of Philadelphians intimately affected by the city’s gun violence, those working to end it, those who have found solutions here and elsewhere—and those who have failed to step up to this moment when we most need them.
    Philly Under Fire is a podcast of stories and solutions. You can’t solve a problem you can’t see. This first episode takes us behind the scenes of the city's ongoing meetings to address the current gun violence crisis. We highlight the work of the Philadelphia Obituary Project, a nonprofit organization that seeks to memorialize the lives of Philadelphians killed by gun violence. We also speak to Kimberly Kamara, an activist, a mother and a children’s book author who published a children’s book called “Where’s My Daddy?” to explain her son’s death by gun violence to the little boy he left behind.

    • 31 min
    Ep. 2: The Other Epidemic

    Ep. 2: The Other Epidemic

    On an average night Penn Presbyterian trauma nurse Rhonda Browning will see one or two shooting victims, usually young black men who are getting younger and younger each year. 
    When Browning began working as a trauma nurse nearly twenty years ago the shooting victims were adults in their twenties and thirties and now they’re mostly teenagers. A lot of them are still in braces and the first thing they all do is ask for their mom.
    A single mother of five boys, Browning becomes a de facto parent to countless teenagers in her trauma bay, until their real family arrives. She holds their hands and whispers in their ear that they need to hold on. Browning recorded an audio diary for Philly Under Fire as she tried to save the life of one gunshot victim. As someone who bears witness to the effects of violence nearly every night, Browning has her own scars and wonders how she can help to solve this epidemic. Because make no mistake, the explosion of gun violence in Philadelphia in 2020 was absolutely a public health crisis. 
    As our reporting makes clear in this episode, calling out the crisis as a public health issue only gets cities so far—to really move the needle, we need the kind of urgency that accompanies an epidemic, the kind we have seen mobilized for COVID-19 this year. We need more data, a sustained investment in programs with proven effectiveness and a true willingness from city officials to regularly bring all stakeholders to the table and cooperate across agencies. 

    • 36 min
    Episode 3: Get in Front of the Beef

    Episode 3: Get in Front of the Beef

    So, are there any proven solutions to gun violence? In this episode, Jo introduces listeners to organizations in Philly and elsewhere—Chicago, Oakland—that have made meaningful progress even if it isn’t easy. Underlying these programs are strategies like using data to identify who’s most likely to be shot—and to shoot; talking to shooters; mediating and de-escalating “beefs” before they get too hot.

    • 58 min
    Episode 4: A Fresh 24

    Episode 4: A Fresh 24

    A recent Temple study found that gun violence surged as the Covid-19 pandemic worsened poverty, unemployment, and structural racism.  Poverty and a lack of jobs leads to desperation; desperation can lead to gun violence.
    Over the course of our reporting, we heard this over and over again, that a key part of driving down gun violence is increasing job opportunities for the men most likely to fall into the illegal economy. We spent the past year talking to one organization that is trying to do exactly that.

    • 28 min
    Episode 5: Killadelphia

    Episode 5: Killadelphia

    One of the quotes that stayed with us the most while reporting Philly Under Fire came from Melany Nelson of Northwest Victim Services. “I've spoken to many youth and they said to me, ‘Ms. Nelson, either you're going to be the predator or the prey. So you have to pick one.’ So nine times out of 10, they're going to be the predator. They told me that they expect to die young.”
    But as we'll hear in this episode, Philadelphia’s youth are also choosing to fight back against the violence.

    • 44 min
    Episode 6: The Golden Hour

    Episode 6: The Golden Hour

    The hours and days after a shooting are often called the golden hour for survivors of gun violence and for their families. This is a time when support, outreach and services can redirect anger and potentially stop a retaliatory shooting. 
    In this podcast we have talked a lot about the number of homicides caused by gun violence. The number of people murdered by guns makes headlines. What isn’t talked about nearly as often are the survivors of violent crime and what happens to them.

    • 37 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

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