With the recent wave of shootings, Stephen King took it upon himself to tackle the issue in an e-essay that was released a couple of days ago for the Kindle. This piece stands as a deviation from the previous singles that have been discussed as this isn’t a work of short fiction.
The fact that King wanted to discuss the issue or throw in his own two cents doesn’t surprise me, but what really perplexed me was the choice of distribution. If the guy wanted to write an article about gun control, why not just post it on “The Daily Beast” or “The Huffington Post”? Or maybe he could submit it to a magazine like “Rolling Stone”. Releasing it as a single perplexed me because I wasn’t (and to some extent I’m still not) sure who would buy this.
True, it only costs $0.99, but at the same time, you can’t be blamed for being dismissive of it. A guy who leans towards liberalism disagrees with pro-gun advocates and wants comprehensive gun reform? Shocking!
Fortunately, the piece isn’t quite that heavy handed. He does make his opinions known, but he also discusses several peripheral issues that often come up when a major shooting takes place. I have to admit, I enjoyed seeing him denounce the idea that we have a “culture of violence”. The whole “violence is caused by tv/movies/video games” argument has been debunked so many times by this point that it’s a wonder that it still comes up.
The section where King talks about the history of “Rage” is also a highlight. It’s more reflective and introspective, as such it comes off less as someone getting on a soapbox to pontificate, but more like a guy conversing about why he thinks the way he does.
One issue that I’m surprised got ignored was the “let’s arm the teachers” suggestion. He chooses, instead, to talk about how he doesn’t think that having police officers or some other form of armed security would do anything. I don’t necessarily agree with some of his points, but that’s a discussion for some other venue.
Is this worth buying? Maybe. Part of me feels like this is only going to preach to the choir. It’s well written enough, and it does provide some food for thought, but I don’t know if it will have the same appeal that a short story or novella would have.
If you are politically inclined, you might enjoy the read. Heck, even if you disagree on King’s viewpoint, it might still be worth checking out just to challenge yourself, expose yourself to an opposing viewpoint, and broaden your mental horizons.