Amazon Kindle has a new format out called Kindle Single. It is a way that authors can respond quickly to current events in a format that is a little longer than what a newspaper, magazine, or blog can accommodate. Stephen King finished his essay entitled, “Guns” last Friday late morning and submitted it. By Friday night, Amazon had accepted it and had it ready to publish today.
Determined and at times profane, the 8,000-word essay confronts NRA members straight on: “In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings,” King writes, “gun advocates have to ask themselves if their zeal to protect even the outer limits of gun ownership have anything to do with preserving the Second Amendment as a whole, or if it’s just a stubborn desire to hold onto what they have, and to hell with the collateral damage.”
“I have nothing against gun owners, sport shooters, or hunters,” King writes, but “how many have to die before we will give up these dangerous toys? Do the murders have to be in the mall where you shop? In your own neighborhood? In your own family?
He concludes with what he calls “a trio of reasonable measures to curb gun violence”:
1. Comprehensive and universal background checks.
2. Ban the sale of clips and magazines containing more than ten rounds.
3. Ban the sale of assault weapons such as the Bushmaster and the AR-15.
As one of the most popular authors in the world, King is immediately a powerful new presence in the gun control debate. But he repeatedly emphasizes the need for all sides to work together. Acknowledging the political difficulty of getting new restrictions passed, he notes that meaningful change will only happen “if gun advocates get behind it.”
King himself has censored his own work. Many years ago he wrote under the name of Richard Bachman. “Bachman had written a short story called “Rage.” It was the story of a young man on a rampage who took a gun to school, killed his algebra teacher and held his classmates hostage. I read the book back in the day. It was terrifying. King said the book didn’t sell that many copies, but after many years he got wind of the fact that teenage boys were holding up this book as a model of sorts. King had the book pulled from publication.
Stephen King is one of the most prolific and popular authors in America. He is inarguably the king of the macabre. He deals with things that go bump in the night, from Carrie to Tommy knockers to The Stand and the Shining and on. There is really no area that King has not taken his artful story telling to.
King calls for an end to violence. I think I will download his essay and see what the old boy has to say. The King of Horror has spoken.