Unread? More like shunned.
Quite the opposite of some of the comments I’ve seen, in Guns King does not advocate repealing the Second Amendment. He also does not advocate the confiscation of weapons. The owner of multiple handguns himself, King makes a powerful, lucid argument for some very sensible steps to try — try — to curb the rising toll of gun violence in America:
1. Strict and universal background checks and mandatory waiting periods; 2. ban magazines holding more than ten rounds; and 3. eliminate assault weapons.
These steps are imminently reasonable and should sound familiar as they were also proposed by President Obama and a great number of people I’ve talked to who are concerned about gun violence.
Gun advocates and the National Rifle Association have attacked these ideas, a knee-jerk reaction cloaked in phrases calling for the protection of every American’s rights and concern about the all-powerful government consolidating its power over a potentially helpless population.
To pull directly from King (and with apologies as I rarely use such language in this forum): Bullshit.
No one wants to take your guns away, no one wants to keep you from protecting your home and family, no one wants to curb your rights. But if you are concerned about something in your background raising a red flag about your capacity to own a weapon, or feel a semi-automatic assault weapon is the correct choice for hunting, or that a thirty-round clip is what you need to stop an intruder in your home — you’re not being honest with yourself or anyone else when you add your voice to the argument.
King demolishes the NRA’s oft-purported idea that a “culture of violence” is more to blame for gun violence than easy access to weapons and accessories designed with the sole purpose of killing people. Will the three proposals above eliminate mass shootings? Of course not, and anyone who claims they will is also being dishonest. Will they make it more difficult for a crazed person to enact? I think so, and if one, two, a dozen or a two dozen lives are saved as a result, that makes it worth doing.
Contrary to several comments I’ve seen, in Guns King addresses directly the novella he wrote, Rage, which many school shooters have cited as being an influence in their actions. King pulled Rage from the shelves as a result, but like the millions of guns already in circulation there are still plenty of copies out there (I own it). King points out that reading Rage was one step on the path these crazed individuals took to their “event,” but it wasn’t the only step. Many were mentally ill, bullied or abused.
“I didn’t pull Rage from publication because the law demanded it; I was protected under the First Amendment, and the law couldn’t demand it. I pulled it because in my judgment it might be hurting people, and that made it the responsible thing to do. Assault weapons will remain readily available to crazy people until the powerful pro-gun forces in this country decide to do a similar turnaround. They must accept responsibility, recognizing that responsibility is not the same as culpability.”
— King, Stephen (2013-01-25). Guns (Kindle Single) (Kindle Locations 328-332). Philtrum Press. Kindle Edition.
As I state above, the shame of it all is that many people will simply not even bother to read Guns. Like the insightful and compelling book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow, too many will shun Guns as “liberal” propaganda and ignore the fact that common sense and facts do not follow a political party or philosophy.
Yes, money from the sales of Guns goes to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and I suppose for many even $0.99 is too much to support an organization dedicated to keeping Americans “safe at home, at school, at work, and in our communities” by enacting sensible gun control laws. I would argue that you can’t buy a gallon of milk or a soda from most vending machines for less than a dollar these days, but for that amount you can get a thought-provoking essay that you can read in less than an hour and think about, ponder, for a long, long time.
Remember when we took the time to learn the other side of a complex argument and considered carefully the opinions, fears and hopes of others? If you don’t (and most days I can’t), take a first step toward reclaiming democracy by reading Guns.