The author Stephen King released an essay on Friday calling for “a trio of reasonable measures to curb gun violence” in response to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., and other mass shootings.
King released the essay entitled simply “Guns” exclusively through Amazon’s digital Kindle platform, where it is for sale for 99 cents.
The essay begins with King’s acerbic, step-by-step summary of the way mass shootings are covered by the media and play out in the public debate: the initial scramble for details – often later proven incorrect – and footage, the ensuing non-stop coverage of funerals and community grieving, the “talking head” analyses and the political rhetoric as calls for gun control are met with staunch opposition from pro-gun groups.
But eventually, King writes, the shooting story gets displaced in the news and “any bills to change existing gun laws, including those that make it possible for almost anyone in America to purchase a high-capacity assault weapon, quietly disappear into the legislative swamp.”
And then, he adds, “it happens again and the whole thing starts over.”
But King also recounts his personal experience with his little-noticed novel “Rage” – written under the pen name Richard Bachman – that tells the story of a troubled teenager who brings a gun to school, kills a teacher and holds a class hostage. King later pulled the book from publication after several teenage shooters quoted it or were found with copies.
The author draws comparisons between his decision and the questions he said gun owners’ rights groups should be asking in the current debate over gun control.
“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,” he writes. “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...