I've read much of Stephen King's work. He is a great craftsman and he brings that skill to this piece, a quickie Kindle Single.
The fact that he wrote...moreI've read much of Stephen King's work. He is a great craftsman and he brings that skill to this piece, a quickie Kindle Single.
The fact that he wrote the "book" fast shows. He made at least one huge mistake. He named the Newtown shooter as Ryan Lanza the first time he mentioned Newtown (he later correctly names Adam). This was after describing how the press reacts to a mass shooting including getting the shooter's name wrong. There are also irritating quirks like the use of "honey" to address readers.
Style and mistakes aside, King tries to add to the national dialog about gun violence. The last section of this short work, lists policy ideas that might cut down on gun violence. One notion is aa ban on "assault weapons" but he loses his argument when he gets too cute by half, honey.
King justifies calling for such a ban by insulting owners of semi-automatics (a gun that fires one round per trigger pull). He says that the owners only use these guns to fire as fast as they can while yelling yeehaw and getting horny. I shoot often and own what might be called an assault weapon. I have never fired as fast as I can twitch my finger. I've never yelled yeehaw while shooting and I've never seen such behavior at gun ranges. In fact, most people participating in rifle competitions today use variants of the AR-15. The platform is highly accurate, stable, and has low recoil.
Besides the assault weapon ban, King has three main policy ideas; universal background checks, bans on magazines holding more than ten rounds. King's policy ideas will not work and I'll take them one at a time.
Congress may pass some sort of enhanced background checks. Depending on details, such a law really will not affect me much. I tend to buy guns from federally licensed dealers who must check my background even if they are selling guns at a gun show. Criminals tend to buy guns on the street where there are no background checks. Some mass shooters have bought their guns legally (Cho, Holmes) and were not in the system as "nucking futs" even though Cho should have been. Others steal guns.
A magazine ban ignores the millions of magazines that already exist. A magazine is a box with a spring and anyone with a 3D printer can print one. Do we really want to try to outlaw 3D printers, springs, sheet metal, let alone the millions of magazines that people bought legally one year and become felons for owning the same box the next year?
King admits that an assault weapon ban probabaly will not happen. There is the problem of identifying just what is an assault weapon. There really is no such thing when you start getting into it. That's why the 1994 ban really did not ban much. King touts Australia's ban on them and pump action shotguns. (In other words, confiscating your grandfather's duck hunting gun.) The jury is not truly in on that gun ban. For one, there are still a lot of guns in Australia and other countries that have strong gun laws (see, http://reason.com/archives/2012/12/22...). Also, crime has risen in Australia after the ban (see, http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php...).
Finally King calls on gun owners to "urge Congress to do the right thing, and insist the NRA climb aboard...." I own guns. I am a former police officer. I first shot a gun with I was 8 years old. I was given a pump action .22 rifle for my 13th birthday. I've owned guns for over 40 years and never put a hole in anyone (not even as a cop) or anything I was not willing to shoot. I am a responsible gun owner.
There are millions of gun owners who have never abused the right to own a gun. They've never shot up a school, or stuck up a taxi driver. Gun laws will only affect these responsible people. Laws will not stop crime, and will not stop a mass shooter.
Given this fact, why should I support Congress banning my guns or making it impossible to leave them to my children? Why would I support a ban on magazines that might make me a felon? Why would I support enhanced background checks when I don't know the details and don't believe they will work anyway? Sorry Stephen, you haven't convinced this gun owner who has never once yelled "yeehaw" while shooting a semi-auto or any gun for that matter.(less)
I found this book in a used bookstore. I thought it could give me a better idea about the debates the nation is facing on gun control versus gun right...moreI found this book in a used bookstore. I thought it could give me a better idea about the debates the nation is facing on gun control versus gun rights. Instead, the author gives convoluted bromides on white males who somehow use guns to prevent economic and social justice.
Now, I believe that we should have a fair society, but how does one define economic and social justice? There is no attempt at defintion, just statements like, "How much easier it is to believe in the politics of the gun, and to fight for the right to be armed, than to step in front of the gun and build social and civil institutions that sustain our society and promote economic and political justice."
What are these "social and civil institutions," who defines economic and political justice, how do we know when we get there? These and more questions are not answered, it is just feel good aspirations that sound noble, but are ultimately hollow without definitions. (less)
I enjoyed both books in this series. The second volume is a mix of magic and Nazis. The latter did research in the occult, but with noyhing to show fo...moreI enjoyed both books in this series. The second volume is a mix of magic and Nazis. The latter did research in the occult, but with noyhing to show for their effort. The author set up the ending in a way that leads to another book in the series. I'd read it if Hambly ever publishes one.(less)