Gun Control in the US, and the Untold Deaths

There’s been a lot of talk about gun control in the US since the recent mass-shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary school, but I always think about the other deaths that could be prevented with stronger gun control laws. These are the ones we never hear about.

In Virginia you can walk into a gun store, fill out some paperwork and walk out with a gun. There’s no “cooling off period” like many other states have – the time between when you apply to buy a gun, and you’re able to pick it up. If you’re someone who hasn’t been convicted of a crime, you’ll likely be able to get a gun in Virginia.

Three years ago a man in his early 30s walked into a Virginia gun store, filled out some papers and walked out with a gun. He wasn’t going to use it for target practice, or use it to protect himself, or rob a bank. He was going to use it to kill someone.

What the person who sold the gun didn’t know was that the man he just sold the gun to was depressed. His marriage was over; his wife had left him, and he couldn’t imagine a life without her. It was his fault. He went home with that gun and used it to kill himself, putting an end to his depression.

How many other lives like this could have been saved by stricter gun control laws? No one knows, because these are the deaths most of us never hear about. I’m almost certain that if Virginia had a cooling off period this man, my friend, would still be alive today.

When people talk about gun control in the US, I think of my friend, a victim of depression and a gun that was far too easy to obtain.

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New Series I’m Reading – The Dead Man

I remember going to the library every Wednesday as a kid, finding a new book (or comic – I loved Asterix and Tin Tin), and then devouring it before the next week when I’d go back and get a new book. I made less time for reading as I grew older, filling it with other things, like spending (wasting) time on the computer, or watching TV and movies. Well, that’s changing; I’m making more time for books, and I love it.

The Dead Man Volume 1

The Dead Man Volume 1

I’ve recently started reading a new series called “The Dead Man,” created by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin. I’ve gotten to know Lee a little bit over the years because of his work on a number of shows (SeaQuest DSV, Diagnosis Murder, and tons of others), and I’ve always been interested to read some of his work. When he announced this new series, “The Dead Man,” a few years ago, I thought it sounded like a cool premise; guy dies, but comes back to life and… well… stuff happens. What intrigued me the most was the story behind the series; they originally conceived it as a TV show and put the idea in their back pockets when the networks passed. Deciding it was too good to waste, they decided to turn it into a series of stories.

These are novellas, which I hadn’t read before. It’s longer than a short story, but shorter than a novel, and after reading the first three stories in The Dead Man series, I’d have to say it’s a lot like reading an episode of a TV show, which is pretty freakin’ awesome. I’d say the stories are about 80-90 pages in length, and they’re definitely page-turners. Kat has been making fun of me because I’ve been walking around holding my eReader in my hands reading these stories (it’s usually her doing that). They’ve also brought on a ton of other writers for the series, making it more like a TV show, since shows usually have lots of writers working on them. Yes, there’s a slightly different tone in some of the books, but it’s not a bad thing at all.

Here’s the description of the first book:

Matt Cahill is a widower leading a quiet, solitary life–cutting wood at a lumber mill in the Pacific Northwest, watching out for his trouble-prone friend Andy, and making his first, tentative attempt at a new romance with his co-worker Rachel. But a getaway to a ski resort goes tragically wrong and he is killed in an avalanche. That should be the end of his story, but for Matt, it’s only the beginning. And now finds himself taking the first step in a horrifying odyssey across a dark world that exists within our own, where he must confront a violent, supernatural entity that spreads evil among us like a plague.

It’s classified as “horror,” though this isn’t the type that will keep you up at night, worried every time you hear a strange sound. It’s more of the “oh-my-god-what’s-happening-I-have-to-keep-reading” kind, which I really enjoy.

The series has been out for a year and a half, and the 16th book comes out at the end of January. They’ve also been packaging 3 stories into one volume, which is how I’ve been buying them, and, here’s the best part, the first volume is current on sale for ONE DOLLAR! That’s right, Amazon.ca has a sale on 50 books for $1 each (I think I’ve already bought 4 or 5 of them). These are all digital books for the Kindle, though you can read them on a ton of devices; Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Kindle (obviously), or if you have a different eReader you can look around for how to convert from MOBI to ePub to use it on that.

Bottom line, if this sounds interesting to you at all, download the first volume for $1 (aka, 1/4 the price of the coffee you probably bought today), and get reading, then post your thoughts here. The sale is only good until January 6, and after that it’ll return to the $5 price I paid (still an awesome deal!).

Here are the other books I bought for the 50 for $1 sale:
The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning
The Complete Sherlock Holmes: Volumes 1-4 (The Heirloom Collection)
A Guest in the Jungle
Night Blind

What books are you reading right now, or what genre do you normally read?

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