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Updated: Jan 27, 2013 04:11 AM EST
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Stephen King

Stephen King
(Photo : Stephen King official website)

Author Stephan King made an unexpected charge into the national debate on gun violence on Friday with a passionate, angry essay pleading for reform.

"Autos and semi-autos are weapons of mass destruction. When lunatics want to make war on the unarmed and unprepared, these are the weapons they use," King wrote.

He said blanket opposition to gun control was less about defending the second amendment of the US constitution than "a stubborn desire to hold onto what they have, and to hell with the collateral damage". He added: "If that's the case, let me suggest that 'fuck you, Jack, I'm okay' is not a tenable position, morally speaking."

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The novelist, who has sold more than 350 million books, last year issued a call for the rich, such as himself, to pay more tax. In his latest foray into politics, he acknowledges his liberal inclinations but stresses that he is an unapologetic gun-owner with at least half a foot in the conservative camp of the US divide.

"Here's how it shakes out," the essay begins, before describing 22 ritual steps in which the US experiences a school massacre. Excoriating the media and television voyeurism, he writes: "Sixteenth, what cable news does best now begins, and will continue for the next seventy-two hours: the slow and luxurious licking of tears from the faces of the bereaved."

King recalls that the fictional schoolboy killer in his 1977 novel Rage, which was published under a pen name, Richard Bachman, resonated with several boys who subsequently rampaged at their own schools. One, Barry Loukaitis, shot dead a teacher and two students in Moses Lake, Washington in 1996, then quoted a line from the novel: "This sure beats algebra, doesn't it?"

The essay was published as a Kindle Single, a format launched in 2011 for pieces too long for magazines but too short to be books. In a statement following publication, King said every citizen needed to ponder the fact the US was awash with guns. "If this helps provoke constructive debate," he said, "I've done my job."

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