The king of the horror novel (and horror novel turned flick), has released a 99-cent e-book on gun violence in America. And, of course, any book on gun violence in America includes opinions on what can be done about it. In this case, King gives us a list of possible Congressional bills starting with the one most likely to pass and ending with the one most needed, but least likely to end up law.
But it is the first chapter of this short and astute essay that truly horrifies with its brutal, unembellished clarity. Called “The Shake,” it gives us a play by play of how each of these shootings is identical. Different names, different places, yes; but each committed by a boy or young man, with automatic weapons swiped from an adult relative, usually a parent; how the crime enters the public sphere, and then, just as quickly, fades away. And, ultimately, how none of the inherent problems that lead to the endlessly repeating scenario is ever honestly addressed.
I read it last night. It seems we take care of the problem of gun violence in America the same way we take care of the mortgage crisis, or the fact that corporations don’t pay taxes. That is to say, the public makes a lot of noise, and Congress pretends to address the problem for just as long as the tragedy remains fresh in the public mind. As the memory fades, we move on. Congress capitulates to the gun lobby as easily as it is bribed by Wall Street. Repeat as needed, ad nauseam, forever.
And the rest of the world shakes their heads and says, “What’s the deal with Americans and all their guns?”
One word: Paranoia.
Americans love guns for the same reason the Apocalypse is their favorite Bible story. The world is coming to an end, man! If it’s not God, then it’s some foreigner, or it’s the government itself! Only the people with the most guns will survive. Arm yourselves! Get into your homemade shelter!
Two words: High School
There is a new study out that says high school is the worst place you could possibly send an adolescent. It can mess with your mind in ways that are permanent. And, for the more fragile of the population, can send certain boys over the edge into violence. It’s only the boys who walk into school armed, with a machine gun stolen from their paranoid mommy or daddy or grandpa; the bullied, the weak, who suffer abuse at home as well as in the classroom. In the end, they usually turn the gun on themselves.