Orlando: The Day After

“It keeps happening, at an unpredictable frequency and with its own malevolent rhythm, because June 12 isn’t when it happened. That’s just when the shooting stopped.” Sean Flynn explores what happened in the days, weeks, and months after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Author: Sean Flynn
Source: GQ
Published: Nov 22, 2016
Length: 18 minutes (4,722 words)

The Tamir Rice Story: How to Make a Police Shooting Disappear

How the grand jury process, and decisions by prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty, allowed government officials to ensure there would be no indictment against police officers in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

Author: Sean Flynn
Source: GQ
Published: Jul 14, 2016
Length: 29 minutes (7,483 words)

Mainline Street

How heroin grabbed hold in the small town of Laramie, Wyoming, thanks to a drug dealer named Ory Joe Johnson, who started selling after getting addicted to prescription pain medication.

Author: Sean Flynn
Source: GQ
Published: Jan 7, 2015
Length: 22 minutes (5,523 words)

Murder of an Idealist

The life and last days of Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed during a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya:

“It’s curious that a kid from California who grew up knowing nothing about the Arab world would come to devote his career to the Middle East and North Africa—as opposed to, say, Asia or Scandinavia or even no particular place. A European woman named Henriette, who met Stevens in Jerusalem in 2003 and had a ‘fantastic, turbulent’ on-and-off romance with him for nine years, tried to explain it to me.

“‘After we had become a couple,’ she said, ‘I asked Chris when was the first time he noticed me with interest. He told me that it was at the dinner party where we first met. He said that he had liked the way I smelled. Chris was a sensualist—he applied all his senses in experiencing the world. For people like us, the Middle East is tantalizing. The smell of coffee with cardamom, and of apple tobacco burning in water pipes; the color and touch of carpets and fabrics; the sounds of the muezzin call to prayers and the energy of crazy urban traffic and large desert landscapes. The warmth of its people and the sound of their music and language. If you combine that with analytical curiosity invested in understanding the long history of the region and the complex dynamics of its current politics, the Middle East is a place you can’t resist. It is not only an intellectual endeavor—it makes you feel fully alive.'”

Author: Sean Flynn
Source: GQ
Published: Nov 6, 2012
Length: 18 minutes (4,605 words)

‘Is he coming? Is he? Oh God, I think he is.’

[Not single-page] One year later, the survivors of the 2011 massacre in Norway recount what happened:

“At a pub across the street from the courthouse, he is seated at a sidewalk table with Anita, drinking beer and hand-rolling cigarettes. He has sad eyes and stubble and a gold hoop in his ear. On his right wrist is a black rubber bracelet embossed in white letters with a thought that a young woman active in the AUF named Helle Gannestad tweeted eight hours after Breivik’s arrest. ‘If one man can cause so much pain,’ it reads, ‘imagine how much love we can create together.’ It’s become sort of a national sentiment.

“Freddy also has a copy of Dagbladet, which in that day’s edition has a story about Elisabeth and Cathrine, and there is a large photograph of both girls spread across a page, their heads tilted together, both of them smiling. Elisabeth’s family didn’t want her to be remembered as victim number nineteen on the seventh page of an indictment.

“‘Elisabeth,’ Freddy says, ‘she was the perfect one. She was pretty, she had a lot of friends. If one of her friends had a problem, they came to her.’

“And Cathrine? She still gets winded climbing stairs, but Freddy says she’s doing better, physically. ‘Cathrine, she says, “Why me? Elisabeth was the pretty one. She had all the friends. Why did she die? Why not me?” ‘ Freddy looks away for a moment, then turns back. ‘What do you say to that? Speechless.'”

Author: Sean Flynn
Source: GQ
Published: Jul 1, 2012
Length: 40 minutes (10,214 words)

Papa

A look at the complicated afterlife of James Brown, and the battle over his estate among children he did, and did not, acknowledge:

“Yet Mr. Brown was not wholly unprepared to die, either. Several years earlier, in August 2000, he’d drawn up a will in which he bequeathed his ‘personal and household effects’—his linens and china and such—to six adult children from two ex-wives and two other women. He was very clear, too, that those were the only heirs he intended to favor. ‘I have intentionally failed to provide for any other relatives or other persons,’ he wrote in the will. ‘Such failure is intentional and not occasioned by accident or mistake.'”

Author: Sean Flynn
Source: GQ
Published: Apr 1, 2009
Length: 48 minutes (12,205 words)

Three at Last!

They landed in Memphis, Tennessee, and drove across the Mississippi River to West Memphis. A local reporter showed them around and explained the case in terms of certain guilt. So did everyone else they met. “Absolutely, without exception, every person we met: rotten teens,” Berlinger says. He and Sinofsky decided to embed themselves for the duration of the trials. They would film the families of the victims and the accused, the prosecutors and the defense attorneys, and they would film inside the courtroom. When it was all over, they expected to have footage they could sift and splice into a narrative of murderous, misbegotten youths. “A real-life River’s Edge,” Berlinger says now. “That’s the irony in this whole thing: We went down to do a story about rotten teens.”

That was not the point of the film they released three years later. Rather, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills is a chronicle of fear and hysteria in the aftermath of a terrible crime. But mainly it is about three innocent kids and the persecution of misfits masquerading as a prosecution.

Author: Sean Flynn
Source: GQ
Published: Dec 1, 2011
Length: 31 minutes (7,816 words)

Boom

Lost in the catastrophic aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the gripping tale of the rig workers and the Coast Guard crewmen who rescued them. Sean Flynn re-creates their long, harrowing, heart-pounding night

Author: Sean Flynn
Source: GQ
Published: Jul 1, 2010
Length: 31 minutes (7,892 words)