By Tracy Kiely
“So shoot me now!”
Given the breaking news from the Senate that a proposed ban on semi-automatic firearms modeled after military assault weapons has no chance of passing the chamber, perhaps it’s apropos that our topic this week is our own views on guns.
While I do not own a gun, I did grow up in a house where there was a gun. Well, sort of. My grandmother owned a BB gun. In the summer, we’d visit her house in Connecticut and inevitably she’d bring out the gun, and we’d all take turns trying to hit a battered tin can hanging from a huge oak tree in her backyard. My father would always boast that he was by far the best marksman of us all, which wasn’t too big of an accomplishment as I was seven and my mom had terrible aim. One year, right before my father took his turn, my grandmother crept into the house and went to the upstairs porch. Right when my father took his shot, she tossed a rubber chicken out at him. I had to run and hide because I couldn’t stop laughing.
Later, when she moved down to Virginia to live with us, she brought the gun. Our back deck faced a kind of wooded area and so another tin can was brought out for target practice. My father and I would shoot at it from time to time. My grandmother did not. She preferred to take pot shots at our obnoxious neighbor’s mailbox. After that, my mom took away the BB gun. While I understood my mom’s reasoning, I missed watching her take aim at his mailbox. He really was an ass.
Anyway, as I said, we don’t own a gun. For one thing, statistically there’s a greater chance of you killing a loved one than an intruder, and for another, I have too much of my grandmother in me.
My books, obviously, deal with death and murder. So far, only one of my victims has been killed with a gun. Not out of any preconceived plan – it was just that the plot flowed better with a different kind of murder. In the book I’m writing now, I was going to have the victim shot, but then I realized that she was three months pregnant. (I love how I “realized” something that I created. I sound like an idiot right now. Reason three for no gun, I guess. I suspect there are more reasons.) I had a problem with shooting a pregnant woman. Instead she’s whacked over the head with a large frying pan.
Which, I think we can all agree, is sooooo much more humane.
The fact is, we write about death and murder. To do so while holding a self-righteous banner proclaiming, “Guns Don’t Kill People; People Kill People” is not only asinine, it makes it nearly impossible to accurately type.
And besides, in our case anyway, the banner would read, “Guns Don’t Kill People; Authors Kill People.”