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Kimberly Ellis – ‘Pushed, A Short Story.’

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It was early in the evening and she was just doing some much-needed house chores, when the doorbell rang. But being she had no roommates; it was a lot easier to keep track of what went where. She hurried from the other end of the house to answer the door when she HEARD who it was.

“Rachel? Open the goddamned door already!” the man at the door yelled. She shuddered at just the sound of HIS voice. Just the sound. But it wasn’t only his words that caused pain, it was him. She knew this. “Jesus Christ, Charlie! Hold on a minute will yah?!?” she said in quite an aggravated tone.

“Who the hell you got in there this time huh Rachel?” … “Jake? or maybe Alex? You are such a WHORE, Rachel, do you know this? I knew I never should have trusted you… you fuckin bitch”

Charlie then started kicking at the door, pounding it harder and harder, yelling some more obvious obscenities. She could hear the threats he launched, the threats he always followed through on. The threats that she knew had to come to an end.

“Shut up! Shut up! Just shut UP, will you!?” she screamed as she dropped to the floor on all fours and crawled into the nearest closet and shut the door.

Rocking back and forth with her head between her knees, she tightly cupped her hands over her ears, trying to forget everything he ever said. And everything that ever happened. Just trying to forget it all. EVERYTHING. But something had clicked in her head, and this time it was different. This time she had to do something. Something drastic.

Completely outraged and blinded by hysterical tears she kept mumbling. “Can’t take it anymore, can’t take it, must do something to stop it. Just STOP it all now. Stop him.” Gritting her teeth, she repetitively chanted these words in a complete and total rage. Always feeling helpless and incredibly angered at the same painful words she’s been hearing for the past six months. She knew it was a bad idea to get involved with him, his temper, and just the way he “handled” her in public. Handled. She knew she didn’t deserve this and she tried to stop it, she talked to him, she pleaded, she yelled, she SCREAMED for God’s sake. Nothing worked. But a bullet? Hey, it works on television, right? This was her philosophy. One sided thought it might have seemed it was the only alternative she could think of besides TAKING it from him… again and again and again. She despised guns or any other type of weapons, but she wasn’t about to let him batter her and degrade her as a person or as a woman ANYMORE or ever again for that matter. Ever.

She wiped the mass of ocean from her face and as she was pulling herself up off the floor, she opened the closet door and let herself out. As hard as she tried not too, she could still hear him shouting things at her behind the steel door, the steel door in which she was very thankful for right about then. She stood still for a moment and tried to get control of herself, then she moved quickly, walking into the same closet that she had just stepped out of, her eyes searched the closet rapidly. Then, after removing some boxes, she lifted the carpeting up off the closet floor and pulled it back, putting her foot over it, holding it down. “Oh Charles, would you please hush!” she whispered with a quite amused tone as she lifted the latch of the metal box that lays between the floor boards. “I’ll be there in a minute; I have to take care of something first!” More like ‘someone’ she thought to herself, cackling obnoxiously, knowing he couldn’t hear a damn word she was saying.

She then reached for the case that lays in the box, unzipped it and pulled out the loaded gun her father gave her for protection. And even though guns were totally against everything she ever believed in; she took his advice. She never wanted to use it and she never thought she would have to use it and apparently neither did her father because it occurred to her that she was never actually taught how to use the weapon. But then she realized it didn’t matter and that she really didn’t care either. Just as long as it took care of him once and for all. “Have to” she thought out loud. “Have to end this” she whispered, chanting once again. She then moved towards the front room and stood in front of the door, holding the gun straight in front of her, a ’38 special. She then unlocked the door and backing up a few feet, she INVITED him in. “Charles, dear? Would you like to come in?” she said sarcastically while laughing loudly, hoping the ‘bastard’ would hear her. Her shoes dug into the carpet, she stood straight, with her entire body in line. Solid.

Hello Again.

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After I ran yesterday’s column saying that I was closing down this site, I received a great number of emails from readers who wished me all the best but also stated that they were less than happy that MiketheGunGuy was coming to an end. I was actually quite overwhelmed by the response.

So I have decided to keep the blog alive but will contribute only an occasional column because I don’t want my writing to interfere with the promise I made to Katy Palfrey and the Conservation Centers to help them move ahead. In fact, I will probably post some columns about that remarkable effort as well.

Once again I want to ask everyone to consider contributing their thoughts to this blog. I make no editorial requirements of any kind (topic, content, length) as long as you refrain from profanity and personal insults of any kind. And I’m not even concerned about whether you send me a post about something other than guns.

Again, I want to thank everyone who sent me a note asking that I remain active in this space. It’s nice to know that I have built an audience which enjoys what I say, in agreement or not.

A Great Gun Story From Joyce Carol Oates

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If you want to read a remarkable piece of writing which really captures what guns are all about, see if you can pick up a collection of stories by Joyce Carol Oates, Faithless, and read ‘Gunlove,’ which I read again last night. If there’s another piece of fiction out there which brought home to me why guns are such a problematic issue in American life, I haven’t seen it yet. And when all is really said and done, the ability of someone with this writer’s remarkable talents to capture the most profound dimensions of what guns represent, goes far beyond what we get from even the most authoritative scholarly research.

The story is narrated in first-person by a young woman who is recalling certain events and people over the course of her life, all of which involve the use of guns. A gun is brandished, a guns is used for self-defense, a gun is played with, a gun is taken to a shooting range, a gun is carried around for protection, a gun figures in a suicide or maybe it was an accident. In other words, every vignette which together creates the story’s text, gives us a quick portrait of all the different ways that Americans think about using guns.

And then there are the guns themselves, described and even named: Bauer 25-caliber pocket pistol, 12-gauge Remington shotgun, a Saturday-night special Arcadia, a Colt 45-caliber Army gun, a Winchester 22-caliber rifle, a Sterling pistol, a 44-magnum, a Colt Detective Special, even a Glock! And the fact that the Glock is actually an AMT pistol makes the whole thing even better because the ditz-brain narrator of this story, who spent her college years at Vassar continuously stoned and/or high, really didn’t know one gun from another. Which is exactly the point. It doesn’t really matter which gun is which.

These guns float through the life of the story’s narrator in the same quick and easy way that her relatives, friends and lovers come and go. At one point, she appears to be getting serious about shooting – goes to a shooting range in Staten Island but finds it difficult to actually pull the trigger and hit the target downrange. On the other hand, she has no trouble buying at last four different oils and cleaning fluids, cleaning patches and rags, various gunsmith tools and other crap. She easily spends a hundred bucks or more on this stuff, takes it back to her apartment, but never actually cleans her gun. She’s the type of customer that the gun business loves.

At the end of the story, she meets up with a sometime lover who gives her a remembrance gift because after a final embrace (in the middle of Central Park, no less) he’s evidently going to clear out of town. She goes back to her apartment, unwraps the package and of course it’s a gun – a 9mm Glock. She thinks for a minute about possibly giving it up but she can’t. She ‘loves’ her gun.

Of course the gun which she loves isn’t a Glock at all. She describes it as having a stainless steel frame but Glock never produced any guns except with polymer frames. So she has absolutely no idea what she is talking about but she’ll never get rid of this gun. Perfect.

By the end of this story, what you come to understand is that this ditz-brain has absolutely no idea why she loves her guns. But one reason for her obsessive gun infatuation which is never mentioned is any concern for her 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ She couldn’t care less about the 2nd Amendment.

And here’s the dirty, little secret about guns: Nobody else cares about the 2nd Amendment. Gun owners will tell you in no uncertain terms that they support the 2nd Amendment because otherwise they might have to admit that their decision to own this lethal consumer product has nothing to do with any kind of reality or necessity at all. They love their guns because guns are fun. And if you don’t believe me, just read this penetrating story by Joyce Carol Oates.

Download and read the story here.

Survivor Apocalypse Coming Soon To This Website!

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From Greg Gibson

This Report Is A ‘Must Read’ For Understanding Violence Caused By Guns.

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Last year the Hope and Heal Fund in California gave some dough to a media research group at Berkeley to look at how gun violence is discussed in the everyday media venues that most people view or read.  With all due respect to my friends in the gun violence prevention (GVP) public health research community, academic papers, particularly papers filled with data, statistics and charts, don’t get very far out into the average person’s daily life. The immense value of this report, on the other hand, is summed up by the report’s authors themselves who say, “the public’s understanding is significantly influenced by print, broadcast, and social media. Journalists set the agenda for the public debate about any issue by deciding which incidents they report (or don’t report) and how they choose to frame these.”

hope and healTo this end, the report looked at just about every news and opinion piece on gun violence in 41 English and Spanish newspapers published in California between October 15, 2016 and October 14 of the following year. They identified 3,815 articles about gun violence, randomly chose 128 which grouped into articles on guns an community violence (111), guns and domestic violence (64) and guns and suicide (53). You can download the entire report here.          What the Berkeley Media Studies Group found in a review of these articles and op-eds was that media coverage of this topic is most clearly driven by mass shooting events; when the Las Vegas shooting occurred on October 1, 2017 news stories that were running between 50 and 100 each day during the previous month spiked to over 300 stories on October 2nd and remained above 150 per day for the following week.

The second most common driver of media interest in gun violence is not, as you might suspect, the shooting event itself, but “because of an event in the criminal justice system, such as an arrest, a trial, or the discovery of a body by police.” This is a very significant finding because I always assumed that coverage of gun violence reflected the ‘when it bleeds it leads’ cliché which is always banded about. Not true, according to this report, with events in the criminal justice system representing the ‘trigger’ for community violence reports at least 80% of the time.

The researchers also divided an analysis of each article’ content into what they call ‘episodic’ on the one hand, ‘thematic’ on the other; the former representing a clear majority of all gun-violence reportage, the latter substantially less. What this means is that most of the gun-violence stories focus on the specifics of the event itself, whereas thematic (i.e., in-depth background discussions) are few and far between. The lack of context was, if anything, more noticeable in the Spanish-language press, whose stories focused almost entirely on describing specific events with little or no interest in explaining why something like gun violence occurs.

Because the media feels more comfortable talking about the ‘what’ rather than the ‘why’ of gun violence, the whole issue of how gun violence affects the broader community beyond the individuals involved in a specific act is rarely discussed or even mentioned as a media concern. Ditto the degree to which the gun industry comes in for any coverage about how its products and marketing may contribute to the illegal and/or inappropriate use of guns.

I have just given you the tip of the iceberg – the report is substantive, important and really needs to be read. The fact that a majority of Americans believe that a gun in the home is more of a benefit than a risk needs to be acknowledged and understood by the people and organizations who would like to see an end to the violence caused by guns.

This paper is an significant and necessary contribution to helping the gun-control community figure out how to effectively frame their narratives about gun violence.  I hope it will be read by all.

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