Reality Check

Robert B. Parker is an absolutely terrific mystery writer (hell, he’s an absolutely terrific writer, period) whose long-running Spenser series has no greater fan than I. However, like most all the detective writers I’ve read, Mr. Parker’s knowledge of guns is, to put it kindly, limited.

In a recent book, Cold Service, one of the principal characters is ambushed. I quote:
"Somebody…shoots me three times with a big rifle. Good shooter, grouped all three shots between my shoulder blades. Missed the spine, missed the heart, plowed up pretty much of the rest."

And this character not only survives, but after some time in rehab, is back as good as new.

Now we’ve all seen what rifle bullets do, and I don’t have to tell you what a load this is. The movies and video games do it too—reduce gunshots to the status of stubbed toes. This in turn makes gun violence glamorous, since the messy consequences are ignored.

So I suggest to Senators Hillary, Chuckie, Barbara, and Diane that they propose a bill that would require all creative enterprises to realistically depict gunshot wounds--what they really look like, what they do, and their consequences.

As a ridge-running redneck who liked to shoot revenue officers once said of his victims, “They may get better, but they never get well.”