A Response to a Reader

I received several comments on my Open Letter to Stephen King, and one of them was submitted by Jeremy, who seems to believe that I posited an imperfect analogy.

Very poor analogy. Roland carried a six shooter and was trained to use it responsibly as one of the only men in he realm to carry such a weapon. No assault weapons. He also murdered a young innocent boy in the first novel we meet him in because his way was so obsessed and misguided that he didn’t appreciate a human life to be as valuable as his own crazy obsession.
(oh and the people who won’t read his books anymore because he dated to speak his mind: good. I love when someone is so easily influenced away from something they previously enjoyed)

Admittedly, had my post been an analogy at all, it would not have been a good one. I never intended to compare the gun control debacle of our time to the storyline of Mr. King’s fictional world. But, to address the concerns as Jeremy wrote them as quoted above, let’s just see exactly what he’s stepped into…

Roland carried a six shooter and was trained to use it responsibly as one of the only men in he realm to carry such a weapon.

Are you seriously starting out with an ‘Only Ones’ argument here? So, Roland is an equivalent to a cop, with special, magical training? You may note that in the course of the story, he recruits laypeople (the same young boy that you mention, a heroin addict from Brooklyn, and a paraplegic woman with dissociative identity disorder) and subsequently trains them with the same skills, to make them as gunslingers in their own rights. Similarly, in real life, not only is police-style gun training available to any law-abiding, adult, free citizen in our wonderful nation, but the classes themselves have a substantial crossover in students between law enforcement, military personnel, and the private sector. I stood side by side in a pistol class with two young men who were in the Air Force who were in class that day simply because they didn’t feel that the handgun training they had received from the United States Air Force was sufficient enough for them to be proficient and competent in a combat situation. Indeed, much gun training that is widely available to the public is superior to the training that many law enforcement officers ever receive.

No assault weapons.

Why must you fetishists obsess over the object employed in an act of violence? In point of fact, “assault weapon” is a vacuous and dishonest term that was invented by politicians to scare people into advocating gun bans. Whenever you have a new term pop up in a contentious subject, it is best to follow the agenda (or in some cases, money) trail before accepting it offhand. Before “assault weapon”, politicians made up other terms to the same end such as “gangster gun” and “Saturday night special”. Sadly, even the tired term “assault weapon” seems to have quite a fluid definition depending on which politician you listen to. Discussions such as this would be far more honest and productive if we could cut out the scary rhetoric and discuss factually. If we are talking strictly of Evil Black Rifles, you need to understand that these are the most popular rifles in the nation today, and that there are millions of them in private possession that have never been, nor ever will be used in the commission of a crime, violent or otherwise. The word “assault” is a verb, which means:

1 a : a violent physical or verbal attack
b : a military attack usually involving direct combat with enemy forces
c : a concerted effort (as to reach a goal or defeat an adversary)
2 a : a threat or attempt to inflict offensive physical contact or bodily harm on a person (as by lifting a fist in a threatening manner) that puts the person in immediate danger of or in apprehension of such harm or contact — compare battery 1b
b : rape 2

And, the word “weapon” is defined as:

1 : something (as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy
2 : a means of contending against another

Therefore, if we ditch the agenda-driven, political definitions and stick to strict, English-language definitions, an “assault weapon” is not at all an Evil Black Rifle so much as it is any object that one utilizes to mount a physical attack against another. The black rifles with collapsible stocks, pistol grips, barrel shrouds, and bayonet lugs, with their thirty-round (standard capacity) magazines, peacefully sitting in the safes of millions of Americans are not at all “assault weapons” and it is simply bigoted, prejudiced fear-mongering to assert that they are. For an actual analogy, if your girlfriend gets mad at you for eating too many tacos and attempts to stab you with her spork, that very morphoditic eating utensil is the assault weapon, and much more so than her AR15 which she left at her house, which has never hurt anyone. Indeed, during the fictional course of The Dark Tower series, Roland assaults infinitely more people with his revolvers than the overwhelming majority of all so-called “assault weapons” (as per the current, politically expedient “definition”) ever have or ever will, by a margin of some to nothing. This is primarily why the gun rights advocates find the
“high-velocity-assault-clip-shoulder-thing-that-goes-up” rhetoric so insultingly stupid. What I have found is that there are two types of people who argue for more gun control: Those who are motivated out of ill-intent (i.e. politicians who incite fear to tow the line to ultimately disarm the populace for greater power) and those who are motivated out of ignorance (the masses who simply repeat the talking points that have been fed to them by their betters, because they have been told that they are “common-sense”). And, this tends to be an inclusive continuum, in which some individuals fall into both definitions.

He [Roland] also murdered a young innocent boy in the first novel we meet him in because his way was so obsessed and misguided that he didn’t appreciate a human life to be as valuable as his own crazy obsession.

I admit that it’s been a while since I last read these books, but I seem to recall that Jake’s first death occurred when Roland’s nemesis deliberately pushed him into traffic. After that, Jake and Roland met and continued on the adventure together until Jake’s demise, of which you speak. Roland did not actively “murder” him so much as allow him to fall when he could have made the choice to save him instead. Although cowardly and deplorable, this is not “murder” in the strictest sense any more than ignoring a drunk and brawling domestic couple makes you a wife-beater, or not stopping a shoplifter makes you a thief. If you are going to define “murder” to include the failure to save a life when you are afforded the opportunity to do so, or to put someone in a hazardous situation that ultimately plays out to their demise, that’s painting with an awfully wide brush. The argument then can easily be made that the very act of gathering children in a place with no defenses, and no means of escape, where a madman can force his way in and slaughter with impunity against no effective resistance is murder. I don’t know about you, but I’m not really prepared to call someone a murderer for dropping their kids off at school, or for being employed by the school, or even being a politician writing policies concerning schools, even if I vehemently disagree with them. As atrocious as I find gun control to be, I’m not even prepared to call gun control advocates “murderers” although they have not always afforded me the same regard. I do agree with you in that Roland’s irrational obsession caused him to make the choice to not save the child. And yet, suspension of disbelief in The Gunslinger’s world includes rampant reincarnation. As opposed to our world, where when one dies, they are ostensibly gone for good, in the world of The Dark Tower, death is easy to play off with “There are other worlds than these.” That is to say that death, being less permanent in the fictional world, and therefore, murder or even manslaughter by negligence as framed in the book series is simply not as much of a natural offense as it is in real life.

(oh and the people who won’t read his books anymore because he dated to speak his mind: good. I love when someone is so easily influenced away from something they previously enjoyed)

I will assume that was supposed to be “dared” and not “dated”. But, I’m glad to be of entertainment to you. I hope that brings you back for more, and I shall exploit the bandwidth you provide in an unrepentant and blatanty capitalistic manner. I don’t know whether you actually read Mr. King’s essay, in part or in full, but he shows that he is antagonistic towards politically-charged inanimate objects with scary nicknames and aesthetic features, as well as the NRA, which is the oldest, most effective civil rights organization in our country. It is not so much that Mr. King “dares to speak his mind” as it is the fact that he speaks down to all of the little people. He tells us that he owns three handguns “with a clear conscience” as though it’s acceptable to say, “I’m friends with lots of ni**ers.” In an attempt at taking on a leadership role over the rest of us, he shows how he courageously asked his publisher to pull Rage after collecting a mere nineteen years worth of royalties, because it was linked to some violent crimes. All of this, and he has the audacity to ask readers to pay for privilege of enduring this sermon. I don’t ask for a penny from you, Jeremy. And yet, I will freely admit to profit being a motivating factor.

Additionally, it is not so much being “easily influenced away” as it is standing up for one’s principles. To give you an analogy that actually is an analogy, if you found out that your favorite restaurant, Neighborhood Trough Buffet had a corporate policy that they did not like dogs, and actually supported animal shelters that euthanize, specifically because they wanted to kill dogs, you might just take umbrage to that. If it just so happens that you adopted your much-beloved dog, Skippers from the local no-kill shelter, it might take on personal meaning to you that Neighborhood Trough sought to destroy dogs that are so much like yours, and that violates your personal values. Skippers didn’t do anything to anyone, and he’s a great companion and he is protective of your family. You now have a choice to make. You could say, “Eff it, Neighborhood Trough is da bomb and I’m going to eat there anyway. Sure, they may support dog euthanasia, which is sad and wrong, but it’s not like I can change that on my own,” which would be well within your rights, even if it would make me question your personal convictions. Then again, you could say, “As much as I have enjoyed eating at Neighborhood Trough in the past, I am a man of my principles and I simply cannot patronize an establishment that supports activities that I find to be so reprehensible.” However, in your comment, you play it as though it is a point of weakness when in fact it is not. Just as in my analogy there are plenty of other restaurants in town that you can patronize that don’t support the wrong animal shelters, in my world there are plenty of talented authors that support my rights and freedoms. As an example, Larry Correia is a New York Times Best Seller and has written probably the most comprehensive and exhaustive argument on either side of the gun debate, that he doesn’t even charge anything to read, unlike King. In fact, he was recently invited to speak on the subject with Huckabee:

So yes, I’m remorseful that my hard earned dollars have played any part in the royalty pot of someone who holds my rights in such low regard. Indeed, Stephen King can go pound sand with his opinions unless he has been grossly misrepresented by others. The excerpts that I’ve been able to read certainly seem to be a condescending dissent to my rights as a free citizen, and it is not worth the ninety-nine cents to me to read the whole thing myself to test his defense. I hope I’ve been able to clear up a few things for you.

8 thoughts on “A Response to a Reader

  1. Good reply. Calm, reasoned, well thought out. Personally, I don’t read Stephen King because I don’t like his writing style (other than “The Stand”, which I thought was excellent). But I didn’t think one way or the other about him as a person, couldn’t have cared less. Until he jumped on the “I’m a celebrity, therefore everyone should listen to me because I’m one of the ‘animals more equal’ and my opinion carries more weight” bandwagon. Screw that.

    Much as I hated having to read Animal Farm as a kid….that book is starting to make me nervous.

    • Honestly, I’m pretty torn. I have thoroughly enjoyed The Dark Tower, which is really at the core of all his other work. But, you are right. One can certainly see the factions trying to become the upright pigs.

  2. That was very well done my friend. It’s so important now to take every chance we get to debunk the nonsense and put forth truth. I don’t read King but I found myself in the same boat with another writer who shall remain nameless. Disagreement is one thing. I respect differing opinions (as I know you do) but I simply refuse to do business with anyone who is actively trying to curtail any of my civil rights.

    • Thank you Six. That means a lot. And, I agree that we need to be vigilant in dispelling the lies and rumors whenever and wherever we can.

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