As of three hours ago there is not a single famous person in all of North America, the United Kingdom and the Rock of Gibraltar who has not weighed in with a screeching demand that the United States outlaw all guns and apologize for having them in its Bill of Rights.
Stephen King popped up with another one of his “publishing experiments”, an essay entitled Guns, in which in his patented “Crazy Uncle” style he discourses at length about why guns are evil, despite owning three of them. But it’s okay, he’s a celebrity.
If anyone should keep his mouth shut about school shootings, it’s Stephen King who is to school shootings what J.D. Salinger is to shooting famous people. And indeed King references his book, Rage, which was associated with a number of school shootings, arguing that just as he pulled it from publication, the NRA should agree to ban all assault rifles.
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 responsilibity 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.
This analogy is as broken as King’s sentence structure. And he misses the point of his own essay. Owners of rifles are free to make the same choice that King did. But that’s not what Stephen King is suggesting. He’s not suggesting that individual gun owners make the same voluntary choice that he did with their own property. He wants the equivalent of a law that would ban books like Rage. And is that something he would support?
Right next to the HuffPo puff piece on King is a news story about the confession of a teenager who claims that the Rob Zombie movie Halloween inspired him to kill his family.
King had earlier stated that, “A novel such as Rage may act as an accelerant on a troubled mind; one cannot divorce the presence of my book in that kid’s locker from what he did any more than one can divorce the gruesome sex-murders committed by Ted Bundy from his extensive collection of bondage-oriented porno magazines. To argue free speech in the face of such an obvious linkage (or to suggest that others may obtain a catharsis from such material which allows them to be atrocious only in their fantasies) seems to me immoral.”
That’s an argument for locking up free speech, but King doesn’t go that far. He wants to lock up the Second Amendment, but not the First Amendment. And that’s hypocrisy.
“My book did not break (them) or turn them into killers,” King wrote in his essay. “They found something in my book that spoke to them because they were already broken.”
That’s Stephen King’s version of books don’t kill people, people kill people. And that’s true. Ultimate responsibility for a murder lies with the killer. But while King is willing to make that concession for his own industry, a civil rights group that protects the second amendment is just a bunch of killer-enablers. Even though that civil rights group is why he retains the right to own guns (aside from his celebrity status.)
Like most liberals, Stephen King believes that there should be two different standards for the two amendments. Free speech is an absolute right and King would be outraged if PEN or the ACLU were being described as “murder enablers” or told to go scrape blood and fluids from the scene of the latest school shooting or terrorist attack. But the right to bear arms is not absolute, even though King makes use of it. The second amendment is not one that King profits from. The first amendment is. And using his first amendment right he writes an essay calling for the abolition of the second and profits from his hypocrisy.