We recently published Andrea Marcusa’s devastating “U.S. Threat Forecast.”

Here, we ask her two questions about her story:

1) I love the “facts” of this piece — we have statistics, like the number of lightning strikes per year, but then we have lovely tidbits about the sound of frogs and cricket chirps. How did you decide on a balance between the statistical and the (almost) fantastical?

That’s just it. I was looking for a balance. I had developed a long list of weather/type facts (an interest of mine) and also a long list of stats about shootings.  I have noticed that shootings come in waves.  Usually more during warm months.  I was trying to make sense of them (although there is no way to, really.) and so I looked at the weather. Then I came up with the voice, almost childlike in its wonderment.  The contrast between the wonderment and the material heightened the impact of the narrative. I found that the contrast between the statistical and the fantastical really heightened the emotion of the piece so I continued to develop the piece this way.  I experimented with placing the shooting facts and weather facts side-by-side to see which facts worked with each other and which ones didn’t. I have one of those minds that is very associative and intuitive and so experimenting like this was fun. The result was “U.S. Threat Forecast.”

2) And of course, the most devastating statistic in the story (the speed of bullets from an AR-15) leads to the most devastating fact (that we are able to forget). Do you think there is a way for us to remember? To hold onto the pain and the rage and the fear until, finally, something is done?

I hope people who read “U.S. Threat Forecast,” will read this fact differently than if it was simply in a news story.  I felt that by inserting it into this narrative, with the childlike voice of wonderment, that it would stun the reader.  Perhaps make them see an AR-15’s destructiveness differently.  This is an attempt to try to get society to stand up and say — “Enough!”