Author Stephen King’s gun control essay, simply titled Guns, has been released as a “Kindle single” (low-priced, short works designed for instant consumption), and the author has delved into a different sort of horror in the novel piece.
Stephen King’s gun control essay is no less arresting than some of his scariest fiction, but the words used reflect a reality many have come to protest in the wake of the Newtown school shootings last month.
King is not a stranger to examining the impetus behind school shootings, having authored a piece in the 70s about such an event. When the horrible trend began to increase, and despite high sales across the board for the author’s work, he demanded his book Rage be pulled from print and worried the fiction was a “possible accelerant” to the rising number of school massacres.
But in the essay, sold for 99 cents on Amazon, King confronts the issue head on, unafraid to use his skillful descriptions to drive home the brutal reality of gunshot deaths in America. Already, Facebook users are spreading excerpts of the piece, in which the bestselling writer laments:
“I have nothing against gun owners, sport shooters, or hunters … [but] how many have to die before we will give up these dangerous toys? Do the murders have to be in the mall where you shop? In your own neighborhood? In your own family?”
King is a handgun owner himself, but he believes that high-capacity clips and assault weapons are a large part of the issue, and strikes out at the gun rights lobby and its adherents as delusional. He says of the paranoia:
“These guys and gals actually believe that dictatorship will follow disarmament, with tanks in the streets of Topeka.”
King recognizes that the Second Amendment does complicate matters, and indicates that with Rage, ultimately he had to forgo the personal gain of novel sales not of legal obligation, but because it was the right thing to do:
“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 judgement 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 responsilibity is not the same asculpability. They need to say, ‘we support these measures not because the law demands we support them, but because it’s the sensible thing.’”
And of those who fight reasonable gun reforms, Stephen King explains that distance from the actual horror of what combat weapons do to human bodies is part of what he believes allows the cognitive dissonance to continue. The author adds:
“One only wishes Wayne LaPierre and his NRA board of directors could be drafted to some of these [violent] scenes, where they would be required to put on booties and rubber gloves and help clean up the blood, the brains, and the chunks of intestine still containing the poor wads of half-digested food that were some innocent bystander’s last meal.”
Stephen King’s gun control essay Guns is available for purchase on Amazon, free to Kindle owners with Prime membership.