I’ve written once before about ST Joshi. You can read my thoughts here.
For the uninitiated, ST Joshi makes a living writing about other writers. He used to write mostly about H.P. Lovecraft. These days, he writes mostly about me. Some say this is the desperate bid of an obscure academic flailing about for whatever notoriety and mention he can still claim. I don’t know about any of that. I just find his antics amusing.
I haven’t read the many Blog entries he’s devoted to me, but I’m told that in his most recent, he excoriates me for having the audacity to write an article for a magazine called Prepper Survival Guide. In the quote I was given, Mr. Joshi says, “I have no idea whether Mr. Keene is himself a gun nut (I think the prospect is highly likely, since he proudly describes himself as a “‘white-trash’ Appalachian”) or is merely being a crass opportunist in writing for such a vile rag. Whatever the case, it does not speak well of the social morality of Brian Keene…”
It should be noted that my article is called “Beginning Beekeeping for Preppers: Don’t Get Stung”, with the a sub-description, “Maintaining a bee colony provides many benefits, from honey to increased crop pollination and more”.
So, in Mr. Joshi’s estimation, literary beekeepers such as myself, Neil Gaiman, and Patrick Freivald are “gun nuts” and if we write about our hobby, we are “crass opportunists”.
Mr. Joshi’s addled antics aside, this does give me an opportunity to set the record straight on where I stand regarding the politics of guns, and thus, Mr. Joshi’s most recent rant is, as a result, far more productive than anything he’s written on his Blog in recent memory.
I wrote a lengthy essay about guns several years ago for Battle Royale Slam Book: Essays on the Cult Classic by Koushun Takami (edited by Nick Mamatas, another author whom Mr. Joshi enjoys writing about and living vicariously through). If you’d like to read it, click here to purchase. Mr. Joshi, despite his vaunted research skills, apparently didn’t. (Of course, this is the same braintrust with half a PhD who decreed that John Goodrich, despite having two degrees from land grant colleges, didn’t know the difference between “breach” and “broach” in his story for The Children of Gla’aki — an assertation which anyone with rudimentary reading comprehension skills could see was ludicrous).
So, for the curious, here is where I stand on Prepping and Guns.
These days, prepping is seen by some as a fashion of the far-Right, with bearded camouflage-wearing loners huddling down in backwoods bunkers and practicing for the day when George Soros-bred Progressive Zombies invade on behalf of the New World Order. This is incorrect. That’s not prepping and those people are idiots. I have friends on both the Right and the Left who prep. Prepping isn’t “Let’s have 500 cases of water in case Clinton sells America to the Illuminati.” Prepping is simply about being prepared in case something bad happens — a hurricane, a blizzard, a power outage. It’s what we country folk have done for generations. Now, it’s as trendy as cold-brewed coffee and free range chickens.
Emergencies happen, and if you live in a rural area, you can’t rely on the authorities to help you with any expediency. Indeed, the same thing applies to suburban and metropolitan areas. Just ask the survivors of Hurricane Katrina or the residents of Puerto Rico. Prepping is about being prepared for those situations — having some extra food and clean water, having a power source, heat, etc. It’s not a political construct by any means. It’s simply about caring for your loved ones and your neighbors. It’s about sharing with your community.
Caring for my loved ones is something I enjoy doing. And thus, crass opportunist that I am, when editor Jim Cobb asked me if I’d write an article for preppers who were interested in learning the basics of beekeeping, I said yes. It took me thirty minutes to write the article. I got paid $400 for that half hour of work. That $400 bought things for my loved ones.
$400 for a half hour of work. Crass opportunism rules. Suck it, Joshi.
As for guns and the politics of guns — yes, I own several guns. Four hunting rifles (two of which are family heirlooms), three pistols, and a shotgun. I use them for target shooting — a pastime which I enjoy and am proficient at. I use them for varmint protection. I live in a very rural area, and coyotes, bears, and poisonous snakes can be encountered within a football field’s length from my backyard, and occasionally venture closer than that. I also keep them for home defense. And in the past, I used them for hunting — something I’ve never had the stomach for, and have done only in lean years when our grocery income needed supplementing.
But does owning guns make me the gun nut Mr. Joshi proclaims me to be? I don’t think so. I loathe and despise the NRA. I think it’s repugnant how they politicize national tragedies and the slaughter of innocent American citizens for the corporate gun lobby. I absolutely support better gun laws and gun restrictions. More importantly, I wish that federal, state and local law enforcement would actually ENFORCE our current gun laws and restrictions. I support licensing. I need a license to drive a car and fish and operate a ham radio. I should need a license to own a gun, as well. I don’t believe deer hunters need high capacity magazines. I don’t believe target shooting enthusiasts need bump stocks. But neither do I believe in confiscation of all firearms or doing away with the Second Amendment. I support the Second Amendment, but I don’t believe the Second Amendment gives a citizen the right to purchase Class III firearms. I support a person’s right to hunt for their family or to defend their family against someone intent on doing them harm, but we also need to remove the ability for mentally ill people or political extremists to engage in the mass murder of our family members, children, and neighbors.
If you’re at one extreme end of either side of the political aisle, I probably don’t agree with you. I suspect most Americans probably feel the same way.
In short, I support common sense.
I’m comfortable with my social morality.
And my social morality supports ST Joshi getting stung by bees.