September 24th, 2017

Gun Control and a New Cover for Fifty-Third and Dorchester

Amazon has rules. I was blindsided by one of them. They will not advertise a book on Kindle if the cover has a realistic depiction of a firearm. The rule only applies to marketing books on the Kindle, not the books themselves. My latest Fifty-Third and Dorchester cover has a realistic representation of an AK-47 on the cover. I put it there because firearms have a deadly fascination for me. Like venomous snakes and open wounds, I don’t like to look at them, but in the right context, I can’t take my eyes off them.

I should say something about guns here. I have been around guns all my life. On the farm, we always had a rifle and ammunition around. Animals sometimes have to be put down, predators have to be killed or driven off. I had cousins and uncles who are gun enthusiasts and enjoy collecting, plinking, and target shooting. Guns are useful tools and fascinating devices, although they are less useful today because there so many people around now and accidents are more likely. I don’t like denying anyone a useful tool or a cool device.

Guns for personal protection, I’m not so enthusiastic about. Reggie Haskell has his Colt Python and he uses it much more freely than I ever would. I was threatened with firearms on the South Side streets several times. Never once did I feel that I would have been safer if I were armed like Reggie.  A gun is a desirable object on the rough streets. There are many dangerous people who would not hesitate to risk attacking anyone carrying a weapon for the weapon itself.  Maybe if I were trained like Reggie and had his temperament, I might want to face assailants seeking my weapon, but I don’t and I have better ways of facing off attacks than pulling a weapon.

I am not Reggie Haskell and I would rather that only the Reggies of the world were allowed to carry.  The current popular reading of the second amendment is a misreading, in my opinion. The traditional reading gives the right to regulate gun possession to the states. The amendment gives the states the right to maintain militias, which I take to mean armed and sworn police, not unqualified populace. In my opinion, very few people are as well-trained or strong-minded as Reggie, and therefore, very few should be allowed to carry a deadly weapon. Most who are qualified, are in the police or military.

The times that I was threatened by a person with a gun, I defended myself with my wits and empathy. Since I seldom carry anything of value, it has never been hard to convince my would-be assailant that I was not worth robbing and I have been lucky enough to convince them not to kill or injure me because I let them down by having  nothing to offer them. A middle-schooler with a pistol once slapped me in the jaw because my wallet was empty, but I kept my wallet and walked away. That’s a good enough outcome for me.

Although I sometimes have doubts, in general, our system of government is strong enough to control both the police and the military and therefore, I would prefer fewer people outside the military and police carried weapons. Stories about some poor gump with a gun saving lives and property are rare to non-existent, as much as some people want to see them. Stories about incompetents with guns killing people without good reason are frequent.

Fifty-Third contains lots of things that are not intended to be pleasant. That’s life, that’s what we all struggle with, and I put an AK-47 on the cover to let my readers know that Fifty-Third is a serious book about serious issues.

But I want to market Fifty-Third and I won’t argue with Amazon about their taste in book covers. That is not a significant issue for me. So Fifty-Third gets its fifth cover. I learn by doing. As always, comments are welcome. And sigh up for Vine Maple Studio Friends to get a free Lupaster and Haskell short story set some years after Fifty-Third.

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