I’ve been asking myself a question lately, and I’m not really coming up with an answer. So I’ll put it out there and see what you all think.
I am a pacifist by nature. Perhaps this is because I came of age during the Vietnam War era, or perhaps that would have been my nature anyway. Regardless I believe people should avoid violence as much as possible.
However, as someone who has been the victim of violence in the past I also feel strongly that we have the right to stand up for ourselves. And the reality is that there are lots of people out there who are violent. They may have no qualms about doing me harm to get what they want. Therefore, I have no qualms about defending myself against a physical attack.
But I truly am a pacifist by nature. I’ve come to terms with this seeming contradiction in real life. I’ve taken self-defense classes. I own a gun and I know how to use it properly. I would never, ever start a violent confrontation, and I believe that I would only use whatever force necessary to protect myself (or other innocents present). But I would protect myself, and I don’t think I’d feel guilty about it afterwards.
So what exactly am I feeling angst about?
Most of my fictional characters carry guns these days!
My series didn’t start out that way. In Book 1, Kate Huntington and her friends are ordinary people forced to face an extraordinary situation when someone develops a murderous grudge against them. They are so unused to physically defending themselves that they have to hire bodyguards to keep them safe as they attempt to solve the mystery. For the most part, the cops and bodyguards are the only people with guns in that story.
(photo by Nevit Dilmen CC-BY-SA 3.0)
(This is how I originally envisioned Kate!)
I started writing mysteries because that’s the genre I like to read and therefore know best. I didn’t really stop to think about the implications for me as a pacifist. I also didn’t realize back then, when I was a novice author, that stories and characters have a tendency to take on a life of their own. They don’t always go in the direction you think they will.
The last few weeks, as I’ve been putting the final polish on Zero Hero, Book 6 in my series, I’ve been contemplating this reality. Most of my characters now carry guns! Kate and her friends, the Franklins, are the only ones who are rarely if ever armed. And Kate’s now sick and tired of being attacked by bad guys and having to depend on others to protect her. So she’s taken up martial arts and has become a good bit more kickass herself.
I started out saying I don’t have the answer. Now I’m not real sure what the question is.
I guess I’m wondering why a pacifist is attracted to good guys with guns? So much so that I’ve populated my books with them (plus a couple of gun-toting gals) — books that were originally supposed to be mysteries solved by an unarmed amateur sleuth.
I know I’m not alone. If I were I’d have no readers. 🙂 Why are we attracted to good guys with guns?
Is it about empowerment? Balance? Fairness? We humans need to believe that good will eventually triumph over evil. Ask any producer of a super-hero movie if that ain’t so!
There is certainly plenty of evil in the world. And the good guys don’t always win in real life. So I guess I’ll let my fictional good guys keep their guns. I just wish there was another way.
What do you think? Are you attracted to good guys with guns?
Let’s try to avoid the issue of gun control, please. I want to hear how you all feel about violence in self-defense. How far would you go to defend yourself or others? Would you feel guilty about it afterwards?
P.S. The new book will be officially launched on Thursday, but it is live on Amazon already, so I’ll give you all a sneak preview.
On the 10th anniversary of 9/11 the media replays the videos of that day’s devastation, and a national hero’s life begins to unravel.
When the first responder, already struggling with delayed PTSD and addiction, is accused of murdering his former drug dealer, psychotherapist Kate Huntington finds herself going above and beyond to help him. As she and her P.I. husband set out to clear him of the charges, they are thrust into a deadly world of drugs, prostitutes and hired killers, and end up questioning who they are and what it means to be brave.
On AMAZON now!! Introductory sale price ~ just $1.99
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.
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