November 16, 2017

Some idiot shot a bookstore, for reasons currently unknown and presumptively stupid


Gun violence isn’t just one of America’s biggest problems: it’s a whole tangle of problems. Guns make communities less safedomestic violence worse, suicide attempts more deadly, and… bookstores more likely to be riddled with bullet holes.

As our own Peter Manseau, author of Melancholy Accidentswrote last month after the shooting in Las Vegas, “With every shooting we’re reminded—again, again, again—that we live only at the mercy of our neighbors’ fragile sanity and capacity to control their rage.” It looks like the fine employees of Gottwals Books in Warner Robins, Georgia experienced that firsthand on Monday.

The store had closed for the night, and was already locked. A man came to the door and started pulling on it. Employees asked him to leave. Seemingly frustrated by his inability to get inside, the man pulled out a handgun and shot at least one round through a glass window.

Yvonne Thomas at local news station 13MMAZ reported that “Jennifer Parson with Warner Robins Police says, no one was hurt. She says after shots were fired, a man wearing dark clothing drove away in a silver Chevy Trailblazer.”

Shane Gottwals, the store’s owner, said the shooting “was just within ten feet of where our employees were standing.” He went on to say, “There’s a lot of confusion about who this person is. It just shows the evil in this world… It’s not going to stop us from opening back up. He’s not going to have any influence on our business.”

The store’s Facebook page was defiant the next morning. A post read, “We are open for business as if everything is normal… because it is.”

Just another day in the book business.



Peter Clark is a former Melville House sales manager.