January 28, 2013
Stephen King’s new ebook about gun violence
by Nick Davies
In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, Stephen King has written a new ebook short about gun violence in the United States. The essay, titled Guns, was released last week on the Kindle Singles platform, a format specifically intended for long-form journalism and novella-length books.
The Huffington Post reports that King writes in Guns that while he is a gun owner himself, he believes that “strict gun control would save thousands of lives.” He also brings up Rage, a short novel he wrote in 1977 under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, which depicts a high school student who holds his classmates hostage with a pistol. King pulled that book from publication in 1996, after several teen shooters had cited it or were found to have a copy of it:
My book did not break (them) or turn them into killers; they found something in my book that spoke to them because they were already broken. Yet I did see Rage as a possible accelerant which is why I pulled it from sale. You don’t leave a can of gasoline where a boy with firebug tendencies can lay hands on it.
In Guns, King takes both the media and politicians to task for their response to school shootings, ultimately calling for common sense and decency from gun owners themselves:
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 responsibility is not the same as culpability. They need to say, “we support these measures not because the law demands we support them, but because it’s the sensible thing.”
Until that happens, shooting sprees will continue.
Guns is available exclusively as a Kindle Single on Amazon for 99 cents.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.