Even a guy who’s spent a career writing fiction ought to be a little more in touch with reality.
Stephen King, the master of modern horror, was apparently so horrified by a shooting in the parking lot of a rap concert in Colorado on Thursday that he blasted a bizarre Twitter post demanding the regulation of firearms in the United States.
Multiple gunshot wounds last night at Red Rocks. We regulator booze and tobacco; it’s time to regulate firearms.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) June 20, 2014
Forget the “regulator” typo (that’s a glass house no publication should be throwing stones at) and look at the content. As a gun-owner who wrote a non-fiction essay demanding more gun control last year, King knows how much firearms are already regulated in this country — that alcohol and tobacco are basically free for the taking compared to the laws that govern firearms. (Check out a National Review response to that essay here.)
Regulate guns the way we regulate firearms? Second Amendment supporters on Twitter could only wish.
@StephenKing they are regulated. There are about 30x as many laws about firearms thanbthere are about booze
— Jeffrey Holst (@Jeffreyholst) June 20, 2014
@StephenKing I’m pretty sure firearms are regulated, more than just by age, which is the only limit on buying booze & tobacco.
— Brandt Anderson (@Desert_Racer) June 20, 2014
@StephenKing It’s easier to buy booze and tobacco than guns. Much easier. And booze kills more people than guns.
— Myke (@madmo453) June 20, 2014
King tweets as though he’s forgotten there’s even a federal agency that’s specifically tasked with regulating firearms along with alcohol and tobacco. Since booze, tobacco and guns are in the national DNA, the agency’s been around in various incarnations since the founding of the Republic. But just to make it easy to remember, it’s called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms these days (ATF to those in the know).
Twitter users were quick to point that out, too.
@StephenKing ATF, we regulate: Alcohol, Tobacco, F… Wait, what does the F stand for?
— imacopyouidiot9 (@imacopyouidiot9) June 20, 2014
He’s probably even noticed that shootings outside rap concerts are not exactly unheard of.
@StephenKing I’m pretty sure they are quite regulated. We need to regulate rappers
— Mark Fitzpatrick (@mrkfitz) June 20, 2014
Some Twitter users tried to tweak King that the content of his novels wouldn’t pass muster in a gun-free society.
@StephenKing Wouldn’t this interfere with the plot of some of your great books?
— David D. (@TOFilmReview) June 20, 2014
True enough, but not always. King hasn’t always been gun shy — “Rage” (which he had pulled from publication because of his anti-gun feelings) and “The Dark Tower” series are basically built on guns, for instance. But his career of mayhem has included as much exotically efficient means of destruction — like, say, telekinesis, Tommyknockers or old-fashioned axes — as simple Smith & Wesson shooting.
Some of the more clever of the Twitter responses acknowledged that.
@StephenKing Besides, firearms are useless against the undead, werewolves, ghosts, and so on. Save the living humans! Even the telepaths.
— Jim Snider (@jesnider) June 20, 2014
And the best response of all?
@StephenKing To get their arsenal, you will have to pry it from their cold, dead, slimy and innumerable tentacles.
— atsugi (@atsugi) June 20, 2014
Somewhere, Charlton Heston is smiling at that one — and giving King chills.
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