Teachers with Guns — I learned how to fire a 9mm Glock on this assignment. I might have fired a machine gun, too. In my first foray into long-form journalism, I fused literary techniques with in-depth reporting to look at the issue of educators protecting their schools with concealed weapons. Teachers like “Daisy” undergo an intense week-long training session with ex-military instructors in the Ozarks. They are criticized for wanting guns in schools, but they just want to be understood. And they’re quick to remind you about the tragedy at Sandy Hook. (Here’s the web version.)
Warbird Wrangler — In Holden, Missouri, Robert Baslee builds full-scale, flyable replicas of World War I fighter planes. He’s dominated a niche market with his airplanes, and his Fokkers and Nieuports have been featured in Hollywood films like Flyboys. I got the chance to profile Baslee, who built his first airplane as a teenager and who earned his pilot’s license before his driver’s license.
Resilience in Practice — Eric Greitens is a former Navy SEAL. Now, he’s running for governor of Missouri. He’s written multiple bestsellers. He’s founded a nonprofit and a leadership consulting firm. He’s got a Ph.D. from Oxford. Everyone seems to love the man. But is he too good to be true? (Here’s the web version.)
Salt Creek Cemetery’s Double Grave — Two Confederate guerrillas share a grave in an old church cemetery near New Franklin, Missouri. Union troops thought one of them was Bloody Bill Anderson. It was a dangerous time to be boy in Mid-Missouri.
National natural landmarks package — Missouri has a lot of natural beauty. I wrote some blurbs about Pickle Springs, Big Oak and Grand Gulf for this package.