Bang! Bang! Bang!

Blog: What's the Big Idea?

Bang! Bang! Bang!

On May 16, 2017, at half past one in the afternoon, I held a loaded pistol in my hand for the first time ever.

This may come as a surprise to those who are aware of the fact that I have occasionally featured guns in my novels, some of them pistols.

In Primacy (2011), guns do not figure prominently, but they do appear. The first gun is an unspecified pistol in the hand of a security guard on page 62. The last gun is an Uzi on page 369, wielded by a good guy, Special Agent Henley Pulsipher.

Confession: To this day, I have never set eyes on an Uzi in real life, let alone held one.

In Cadaver Blues (2012), the first appearance of a gun comes when Phu Goldberg’s friend Brad produces an unspecified pistol as a demonstration of his bravado. This inspires Phu to acquire his own Walther P99, which he eventually shoots to little effect in the climax.

Confession: I wrote that book without ever having seen a Walther P99 in real life, let alone shot one.

There are handguns all over the Bomb Squad NYC series (2014-??), even though I wrote the published books without ever having held a handgun. In that endeavor, however, I at least had the advice of Lt. Mark Torre of the NYPD, who wouldn’t let me go wrong.

Confession: Other than consulting the internet and running everything by Mark, I only used my imagination in describing those handguns.

But this spring — largely due to my conviction that we might be witnessing the beginning of the end of civilization — I decided to learn to shoot a pistol and, eventually, to purchase one.

I found an instructor at an indoor range. After some preliminaries, she handed me her Springfield XOM and I loaded a magazine with 9mm rounds and I aimed at an orange 2-inch bullseye sticker stuck to a paper plate at 21 feet.

I posted the shot-up targets on Facebook over the course of three lessons, prompting comments from friends that ran the gamut from “Isn’t it fun?” to “Why?”

The why is: When civilized society breaks down and they come for my women and my food, I plan to tell them to look elsewhere.

The second why is: If I’m going to continue to write handguns into my novels, it seemed a good idea for me to have some first-hand experience. (Ironically, my most recent novel, The Prisoner of Hell Gate, written under the pen name Dana I. Wolff, has no guns of any kind.)

To the question of whether it’s fun to shoot a gun, my answer is: No, it isn’t; not for me.

To hold a gun and pull the trigger is to perpetrate an act of violence against the world that seems to me irrevocable — even when the target is only a paper plate. To rest one’s finger on a pistol trigger is to contemplate (at least) initiating an explosion that would drive a hot spinning plug of metal through the carefully calibrated flesh of another living thing — possibly another human being. That’s not fun and, for me, it never will be.

I say this, by the way, having used shotguns to pulverize (when I didn’t miss) clay pigeons and — on two occasions (when I didn’t miss) — having killed a goose and a couple of quails.

Shooting at clays is fun. The birds, not so much, even when you go on to eat them. I don’t say so to judge anyone. It just doesn’t feel sporting, deep in my soul, to employ overwhelming technological force to take down a creature whose only defense is to flee.

In the unfortunate event that I need to fire a handgun in self defense — if I survive the event — I will be irrevocably changed, and not for the better.

The best-case scenario is never to need a gun in the first place, but, alas, we are a violent species. We do violence to every living creature and, too often, we do violence to one another.

The second-best scenario is to own the gun as a deterrent and never have to fire it at a living organism until I expire in my sleep at some ripe old age.

There is no third-best scenario. To point a loaded gun at another person is already to commit an act I’d rather leave to my imagination.

This entry was posted in Bomb Squad NYC, Cadaver Blues, fiction, guns, J.E. Fishman, Primacy, prisoner of hell gate and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Newsletter

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Other Works

  • Dark Pool Image

    The Dark Pool Book Cover
  • Cadaver Blues Book Image

    Cadaver Blues Book Cover
  • Primacy Book Image

    Primacy Book Cover
  • The Dead Field Book Image

    The Dead Field Book Cover