While writing Body and Soul (Death and Destruction book 7) an evil man broke out two windows at the Mandalay Hotel in Las Vegas and began shooting hundreds of innocent people attending a country music concert in a parking lot. At last count, he managed to take 59 innocent lives, wounding 527 in total. He managed to forever change our lives and force us to once again stop and take inventory of ourselves.
The Death and Destruction series is all about the ATF, men and women who go to work every day to enforce laws and regulations with regard to firearms in this country (USA). I cannot begin to imagine how frustrating it must be for real-life agents to have to watch killers like the one in Las Vegas (who I will not dignify with a name), and perhaps think that they might have been able to do something to stop him or at least stop him from obtaining that much firepower.
This isn’t a statement about my feelings on the gun control issue in the United States but more my personal hope. We clearly need to keep firearms out of the hands of people with mental illness who either might injure others without even knowing it or willfully carry out a mass shooting like this. Our Senate passed a law to allow just that. Can you even imagine passing a law to allow mentally ill people to purchase guns? I can’t but then again, that’s what these politicians do because the National Rifle Association (NRA) funnels tens—maybe hundreds—of millions of dollars into their re-election campaigns every year. That should be criminal… but it’s not. Perhaps this gun nut wasn’t clinically diagnosed as mentally unstable but he clearly was. We’ll probably never know what was going through the mind of the killer… unless we uncover some writings of his somewhere.
We clearly need harsher penalties for people caught with illegal firearms. We clearly need to intensify background checks in this country. In my opinion, we clearly need to federalize the background check system to make it just as tough to purchase a firearm in Arizona as it is to purchase one in California. We clearly need to make it just as tough to purchase a firearm from a private party as it is to purchase it in a gun store. We clearly need to limit the purchase of a high volume of ammunition or bulk sales of the same.
Just the idea that we should pass a law allowing silencers is ludicrous but it’s being voted on in congress this week. Just the idea that we have legalized bump stock devices to increase the speed that bullets can be fired from a semi-automatic rifle is ludicrous, but the killer in Vegas had two of those along with as many as 23 guns in his hotel at the time of the shooting with another 18 at home. How on earth did we allow this to happen? How on earth was this killer allowed to buy that quantity of guns legally? How about the tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition he owned? All purchased legally.
I’ll just say this about being an author of this kind of series. Every time one of these tragedies happens, I have to stop writing for a few days until I can get my head back around my story. It’s hard to see the tragedy unfold, staunch my own tears, and swallow my emotions in order to get myself back into the right headspace to write about Jarrett and Thayne and their friends who fight these kind of fanatical gun nuts like the killers in this series. But, here I am. I can only promise to do my best by these characters for these books. Most of all, I can only hope that I can continue to engage readers with the stories I tell of the ATF and FBI in these books and keep them honest. I promise to do my best.