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Horror Novelist’s New Essay On Gun Violence Surprisingly Violent, Graphic

Penguino via Flickr

Best selling novelist Stephen King has decided to weigh in on gun control in a new essay entitled “Guns.” Apparently, the author  thinks he can make a persuasive case for stronger gun control measures, as if he has some sort of unique talent for creating graphic, viscerally haunting depictions of violence? Well okay then, diva. Give it your best shot:

One only wishes [NRA Executive Vice President and CEO] Wayne LaPierre and his NRA board of directors could be drafted to some of these [school shooting] 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.

King, a gun-owning Democrat, penned the essay in response to gun activists’ claims that violent incidents such as the Sandy Hook massacre are caused by violence in the media and video games.

[Gun advocates] throw popular culture into the debate in the hopes that it’ll be distracting chum to piranhas hungry for scapegoats but reluctant to fight difficult battles to make America safer.

As he discusses in the new essay, King himself came under fire in the 1990’s after a series of separate incidents in which shooters entered their high schools with guns, held students and teachers hostage, and in some cases killed them. The shooters were later found to be in possession of Rage, one of King’s early works which revolved around a disgruntled high school student who takes his classmates hostage at gun point.

The incident provides an interesting point of comparison: King had just as much of an interest in his defending his First Amendment rights in the wake of these shootings as the NRA now has in defending the Second Amendment. If King had acted like NRA when the Rage controversy was swirling, he would have launched an aggressive campaign to convince Americans that the government was trying to take away all of their First Amendment rights. Any legislation proposing to limit the distribution of graphically violent literature to minors with a history of mentally illness, for instance, would have been labeled a fascist plot to steal our Constitutional rights. Only people kill people. There are no other premeditating factors that we should even consider, so let’s dig in our heels and refuse to have any kind of nuanced discussion about this.

But Stephen King is not the NRA, so that’s not what he did.

While he refused to apologize for Rage because he felt it offered an important, truthful perspective on high school alienation, King ordered his publisher to withdraw the book — not because the book caused the teenagers to commit their violent acts and not because King doesn’t believe strongly in his First Amendment rights (he describes in the essay how much it pained him to “[throw] a blanket” over the “unpleasant truths” the book had revealed about teenage bullying).

Rather, King did so because  he’s not an obstinate dick. Therefore, he was willing to acknowledge that the book acted “as a possible accelerant” for the mentally ill boys involved in the shootings. He recognized that the shooters may have found a “soul brother” in Decker, the bullied teenage anti-hero of his story. The Decker character may have given them “blueprints to express their hate and rage,” and for that, King decided, Decker “had to go.” “You don’t leave a can of gasoline where a boy with firebug tendencies can lay hands on it.”

King’s “Guns” essay is available on Kindle. (Why yes, that’s another Amazon link, but honestly that’s not why we wrote about this. Promise. But you should still click on the link and then go on a massive online shopping spree until your credit card is maxed out and then you should apply for more credit cards and max those out and then sell your television and household furniture and first-born child to buy even more stuff because you love The Daily Dolt so much you’ve turned into some kind of Amazon crack addict.)

All of King’s earnings from the sale of  “Guns” will go the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. 

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9 Responses to Horror Novelist’s New Essay On Gun Violence Surprisingly Violent, Graphic

  1. Rochelle

    at

    Your begging has worked. I now buy lots of stuff from your Amazon link because I love The Daily Dolt and articles like this one.

    • Linda (The Daily Dolt)

      Linda the Dolt

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      Yesssss!!!!! xoxo

  2. Barjack

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    This guy is special. I think I've read all his books and will continue to do so. This blog, too. I'm so proud you're actually from Michigan! I'm so embarassed by most posters from this state.

    • Linda (The Daily Dolt)

      Linda the Dolt

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      Oh thank you!!! You came up at my family's Christmas, by the way. My siblings were asking what the demographics were for my site and I said it was mostly male, mostly 18-34. They were like "Oh yeah, like that Barjack guy who comments. He must be a college kid, right?" (They were basing it from the name.) I set them straight: "Barjack" has nothing to with bars that serve alcohol or guys named "Jack." They were ALL completely shocked.

      • ktward

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        Your main demo is 18-34yo dudes? Holy cow. Not in a million years would I have guessed that.

        As a 51yo gal, I'm toying with the idea of having yet another existential crisis over this news. (My last EC revolved around flared vs. straight-leg jeans.)

        • Linda (The Daily Dolt)

          Linda the Dolt

          at

          That definitely doesn't seem to be the demographic for the regular commenters (or the author, for that matter), but yeah apparently the traffic tends to be 18-34 y.o. males. Weird!!

      • Barjack

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        I'm 73 and if I'd gone to college, I'd probably still be there trying to pass some class or the other.

  3. This shows that King takes responsibility for any contribution he may have made to the situation. That is more that the Porn producers game designers and gun makers do. We do not need assault weapons. My Father hunted to help feed his family of 8 and never needed an assault weapon do so. We don't need a group of people decided they know what the future holds and we should have these weapons. If you like assault weapons then join the Military.

    • Roland

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      Mrs. Taylor, I agree that Mr. King's actions, though I'm sure it killed him to do so (as stated), were probably the most helpful to the situation. However, the debate over guns has nothing to do with hunting for food. It has to do with opression, or the threat of opression. More specifically, the deterring of opression. When our founding fathers wrote the second amendment to the Constitution, they were not concerned about hunting rights being preserved. At that time, if you didn't hunt, you didn't eat. No, they wrote the second amendment so that we, as a newly liberated, free society would never again have to experience the fear of being silenced, bagered, mistreated, abused, enslaved or outright murdered by our own government. It is in that very same spirit that I must humbly disagree with your comment on not needing so-called "assault rifles", simply on the grounds that if our own military, in the name of tyranny, were ordered to begin the massacre of American people, the best and only chance of survival would be to be in possession of arms that were as equal as possible in terms of fire power. Furthermore, I would say that any American who is not at the very least mistrustful of any man or woman who would even suggest something that is a resemblance to hindering or denying a right set forth by the United States Constitution has, to coin a phrase from Mr. King himself, forgotten the face of his father.