Lock and Load:Armed Fiction
Contributed by Lisa Bishop
Gun violence is a distressing reality in American society and school shootings seem increasingly in the news. But suicides, say writers Deirda McAfee and BettyJoyce Nash, editors of Lock and Load: Armed Fiction, are the most common occurrence. Suicides happen every day while school and other mass shootings are really quite rare.
In a presentation of the Around the World through Books series on Thursday, November 15, at the Parham Campus, McAfee and Nash discussed how literature can help us discuss the problem of violence without resorting to the extremes of rhetoric so prevalent in the media. They note that nobody believes shootings and other forms of violence are an appropriate use of firearms. Between the concepts of “all guns should be banned” and cries of second amendment protections is a reasonable middle ground. Stories can help us realize the causes of violence and also acknowledge the deep integration of guns in American society and history.
McAfee and Nash invited the twenty-four people attending to write down their first experience with guns, real or imagined. One audience member spoke of great water gun battles when she was a child. A visitor from the community told of being in an outhouse as a child when his father and uncle began using the chinks in the tiny building for target practice. They turned pale when he came out. Everybody had a story or memory to show how guns have affected their lives, sometimes with violence, but often not. The conversation moved from there to questions and answers about how to approach discussions and problem solving. The authors ended the evening by autographing copies of their book, which were given as door prizes.
Around the World through Books is sponsored by the Reynolds Multicultural Enrichment Council.