Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dissecting Stephen King

Recently, Stephen King (author of It, Cujo, and that book about the dead cats that starred Herman Munster in the movie adaptation) wrote an essay railing against the culture of gun ownership in America. It was titled, simply, GUNS.

In reading it, there are a few statements I feel the need to make here.

  1. First and foremost, I'm going to mention this because it irritates the living shit out of me and just about everyone else I know that is into shooting, collecting, or hobby gunsmithing. All clips are magazines, not all magazines are clips. “Clips” are used to hold ammunition in place, and do not contain a spring to aid in the feeding of ammunition. Box-type magazines, the type used in the majority of semi-automatic firearms, contain at least two components besides the ammunition and box. These are the spring and the follower. The follower sits between the spring and the ammo, the spring provides force from the floorplate of the magazine to aid in feeding ammo to the action of the firearm. A “clip” merely holds the ammunition together, and a spring inside the firearm itself guides ammunition from the internal magazine into the action. 
  2. You referred to Adam Lanza's Glock handgun as a “Glock .10”. As the owner of several Glocks, and having read the Gun Digest unofficial history of the Glock firearm (as well as having some basic knowledge of mathematics), I know that Glock has never made a “Glock .10”. The model you are referring to would be a Glock 20, chambered in 10mm Auto. Interestingly, it is amongst the rarest of all mass-produced semi-auto Glocks in America, because the cartridge never took off. You claim that the cartridge is “so large that it is used for hunting”, but it is actually smaller than that used by the standard-issue M1911A1 issued to the US military prior to the adoption of the 9mm. It is, in reality, no more than a .40-caliber handgun with slightly more velocity than a .40S&W currently issued to most modern police departments as a standard service pistol. Surprisingly, Lanza was able to wield it, considering that the FBI turned it down because the frame was too large for most grown men.
  3. You speak of how one Jeff Cox of San Gabriel CA was able to purchase a Korean-made .223 rifle for $400 at a gun shop, and referred to this as “easy-peasy”. Well, good sir, either Mr. Cox had quite a hefty allowance, or he had one hell of a job. $400 today isn't much, but minimum wage in California was $3.35/hour at the time...before tax withholding. Not including taxation on the labor (or the actual purchase), that's three weeks' worth of wages for the average recent drop-out. I'd also like to add that Mr. Cox was above the age of 18, and had no prior history that would have prevented him from enlisting in the military of these United States, where he would have had access to full-auto rifles.
  4. You cite the fact that over 8k guns have been purchased by the LAPD as part of their “buy-back” program. You do not, however, mention that there are over THREE MILLION PEOPLE in Los Angeles. You also didn't bother to mention how many of these “guns” were stolen, how many of them were non-functional, or even how many of them were simply air-powered pellet rifles bought with tax money and used as photo props to convince the unknowing such as yourself about the “success” of these gun buy-back programs.
  5. You claim that media such as video games, televison, and movies do not have any impact upon the impressionable youth and the mentally disturbed within our society, and yet, you still pulled your novel “Rage” from publication because you didn't want to leave “gasoline near a firebug” or some such drivel. That's just a bit contradictory, especially when you cite the numerous violent criminals who either cited your story as inspiration, or made direct quotes from it.
  6. I found your mention of America's first PG-13 movie “Red Dawn” particularly peculiar, as you state that it portrays gun violence as “wholesome fun” while failing to show the effects upon a human being as he or she is killed with a firearm. Maybe you missed the “death scene” of Jennifer Grey? Or when Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen argued over the prospect of executing a traitor? What about when Swayze had to pull his bleeding and wounded brother, portrayed by Sheen, into the playground? Did you ever actually SEE this movie, or are you simply following a script of your own here?
  7. I found the section in Chapter 5 insinuating that people are more likely to kill an innocent than a criminal, with a firearm owned for home defense, laughably absurd. Yes, tragic accidents do happen, but these are not the end result of the majority of shots fired by people defending their homes. “Burglar alarms” are a valuable tool, and I have one. He's brown, about 60lbs, and goes absolutely apeshit crazy when anyone or anything walks through our un-gated front lawn. He scares mailmen, meter-readers, and hood rats. To get to me, you must get through two locked doors and a barking dog. That will give me more than enough time to wake up and start yelling “who's there?”, and I know this from experience. An alarm system, on the other hand, will beep. I may or may not hear it. It will dial 911 for me. I can pay a hundred bucks for installation plus a monthly monitor fee and a yearly permit fee for the alarm, and have a plastic box that brings a man with a gun to my house, or I can pay a few hundred bucks for a gun and buy dog food every month...and have a security system that doubles as a family pet, as well as a “man with a gun” that shows up in seconds instead of several minutes. What makes more sense?
  8. No one wants to take away your revolvers, and no one wants to take away your automatic pistols, as long as said pistols hold no more than ten rounds.” Bullshit, I say. Even though no legit military has used revolvers since the Nagant of the Soviet Union during WWII, the United Nations' HQ in New York City still displays a Colt Python revolver with its barrel twisted into a knot as a display of what “common-sense gun control” is about. Recently, the state of New York has outlawed any magazine holding more than SEVEN rounds, which effectively criminalizes even previously “Assault Weapon Ban”-compliant 10rd magazines. Essentially, nothing aside from old-school 1911 .45s and “pocket pistols” are legal without a permission slip from the government.
  9. If you can’t kill a home invader (or your wife, up in the middle of the night to get a snack from the fridge) with ten shots, you need to go back to the local shooting range.” Sorry, Steve-O. On average, police officers across America land only one round for every five rounds fired during officer-involved justifiable shootings. These are the “trained professionals” you want us to call upon, instead of keeping our own guns at the house...the same “professionals” who recently shot up a bunch of innocents outside the Empire State building, because they didn't spend enough time at the range.
  10. You mentioned Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, as having 19 “clips” holding 15 rounds. I'm assuming you meant “19 magazines”, but I'll let that slide for now. Just a bit farther up the page, you stated that such pistols were okay if they only carried 10 rounds. You also noted that he killed 32 and wounded 17, for a total of 49. The magazines only carried 15 rounds. Assuming it takes one round to kill and/or wound, that's 49 rounds. With 15rd mags, he would have started with one mag and reloaded three times. With 10rd mags, he would have reloaded four times. Or maybe he missed a bunch, and reloaded a bunch...which goes even further to illustrate how asinine your call for limiting a handgun designed for 15rd magazines to 10 rounds really is.
  11. I have nothing against gun owners, sport shooters, or hunters (as long as it’s varmints they’re after, or, in the case of bigger game, they eat what they kill), but the weapons noted above are not used to shoot skeet or kill deer. If you used a Bushmaster on a deer in anything but single-shot mode, you’d turn the poor thing into hair-covered meatloaf. Semi-automatics have only two purposes. One is so owners can take them to the shooting range once in awhile, yell yeehaw, and get all horny at the rapid fire and the burning vapor spurting from the end of the barrel. Their other use — their only other use — is to kill people.” Mr. King, I am a hunter. I do not own a “Bushmaster”, as that is but one brand of AR15 rifle, and both of mine were home-builds on receivers manufactured by the Rock River Arms corporation...who, ironically, is also a major contract supplier for the Drug Enforcement Agency! That said, you made it abundantly clear that you know absolutely nothing about firearms. Your common “deer rifle” was not designed to kill deer, it is invariably based on the Mauser '98 action, which was designed as a weapon of war. The AR15 rifle, likewise, was designed as a weapon of war. Aside from those lucky enough to be able to spend over $20,000.00USD on a legal transferrable “machine gun” as defined by the ATF, we have no choice but to use our semi-automatic rifles in anything but “single-shot mode” pull of the trigger, one round expended. A semi-automatic has no other “modes”, other than “safe” and “fire”, just like your grandpa's bolt-action deer rifle. And yes, I killed my first deer with an AR15. One single round to the head with pinpoint accuracy, and not a single ounce of his meat was wasted.
  12. Autos and semi-autos are weapons of mass destruction.” You continuously write as if both are available at the local Wal-Mart. While a great many people (including yourself) refer to semi-automatic rifles as “automatics”, that “semi-” prefix is there for a reason. There is a world of difference between the two. It is unlawful in these United States, for a person to manufacture or possess any full-auto firearm manufactured after a specific date almost THIRTY YEARS AGO, unless that person is a government agent or a licensed manufacturer or dealer selling to government agents. The M16 that fires ten rounds per second is not the same as the AR15 that fires a single round per pull of the trigger. Yes, you and I may lawfully own an M16 in this country...if we pay a $200 tax stamp, get fingerprinted, get a permission slip signed by the chief of police, and undergo an FBI background check. If you own one without these things, it is an automatic ten years. If you commit a crime with an M16, federal law provides for an automatic life sentence. You're a writer. It might help if you'd fucking read a bit more.
  13. Background checks DO NOT “entail a waiting period”...unless you count that 10-15 minutes that a federally-licensed gun dealer spends on the phone, verifying that the buyer is not a felon or mental-defective. You state that “even 48 hours” might have prevented the Aurora CO shooting. How long had he been planning it? How long had he owned the rifle? I'm guessing he didn't buy it that afternoon.
  14. Ban the sale of assault weapons such as the Bushmaster and the AR-15” In yet another case of “He didn't really just say that, did he?”, I have to ask myself why you are even offering an opinion about firearm policy in these United States when you obviously know so little about the issue. As stated earlier, Bushmaster is a manufacturer and AR15 is a model. All Bushmasters are AR15s (the modern ones, anyway...they used to produce a proprietary model of rifle 20 years ago, no longer in production), but not all AR15s are Bushmasters. 
  15. Your mention of the Australian firearm ban is quite peculiar, seeing as how you mention their ban of pump-action shotguns...while previously mentioning how AR15 rifles (or “Bushmasters”, as you call them) aren't good for shooting skeet. Call me crazy, but I don't know too many people who shoot skeet (or hunt fowl, or even hunt deer where rifle use is prohibited) with anything other than pump-action shotguns, simply because most single-shot or double-barrel shotguns are either antiques or super-expensive luxury items. The most common shotgun on the face of the earth is the Remington 870, a pump-action shotgun, and the model I own is marketed as the “Wingmaster”...specifically designed for bird hunting. Maybe you DO really want to see all firearms banned from private ownership?
  16. Getting back to Australia, you mention a ban resulting in a 60% decrease in firearm homicides. What you DON'T mention is how many of that nation's homicides were committed by weapons other than firearms. You also don't mention how the rate of robbery, rape, and violent assault happened to skyrocket after the ban went into place. But hey, we stopped selling guns, so people kill people with baseball bats and tire irons...and victims of home invasions, robberies, and rapes had better make that one shot count! We won't mention that last part, because that would get in the way of your “Arithmetic, honey”.

The fact is, Mr. King, that you know fuck-all about firearms. Yes, I'm dropping the F-bomb here, because you had no qualms in using it. Maybe if I stooped to your level, you might understand what you read. I write a blog, but I do not consider myself an “author”. My future wife (an actual published author, professional writing tutor, literature student, and former newspaper reporter) jokes about how bloggers such as myself aren't “real writers”, and we have a laugh.

What I am, sir, is an avid shooter. I own firearms. I collect them. I study their mechanics, the way some people do with muscle cars or motorcycles. I pride myself in having been able to hit a dime from one of those rifles you refer to as a “weapon of mass destruction” from the other side of a football field, after having assembled it in my bedroom using basic hand tools...on a serial-numbered receiver purchased from a federally-licensed firearm dealer, which required a background check, of course.

Just as it is my God-given right to own a proper firearm for personal defense, it is also your right to not own them. Hell, you don't even have to like them. Just do us all a favor and stop pretending to know what you're talking about, and get back to writing ghost stories about dead cats and killer clowns.

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