Friday, November 29, 2013

PROPAGANDA REVIEW: “Unintended Consequences” by John Ross (1996)

It’s considered the Holy Bible of the U.S. “Gun Culture” movement, and yeah, it’s every bit as crazy as you’d imagine it to be. 

“In recent years we have witnessed violent attacks on people in the gun culture. These attacks amount to genocide. It is my hope that this book will cause those who blindly seek to destroy the gun culture to pause for a moment and recognize that their random actions are in error, and to reconsider their evil ways. This could come from an intellectual conversion and a new appreciation of the culture's values. It could also result from a pragmatic concern for the inevitable consequences of continuously attacking a cultural group who wishes to be left alone and whose overriding philosophy is one of freedom. Either way, it doesn't matter. The goal is to stop the attacks and prevent a violent confrontation which could prove harmful for all parties concerned.”

-- Timothy Mullin, author of "The Fighting Submachine Gun, Machine Pistol, and Shotgun" in the foreword for “Unintended Consequences”

“It might have changed my whole plan of operation if I’d read that one first.”

-- Timothy McVeigh, murderer of 168 people, on “Unintended Consequences” 

The cover of “Unintended Consequences” is the veritable “Guernica” of blunt political figurativeness; with the United States Constitution burning to embers in the background, an ATF agent pummels Lady Justice with a truncheon stick. Just gawking at the image on John Ross’s book -- a pre-Photoshop eye-bleach exemplar if there ever was one -- you just know you’re in store for a real literary treat.

Ross, a Missouri-based pro-gunner and one-time U.S. congress also-ran, is something of an underground folk hero to the nation’s Second Amendment enthusiasts. That’s largely due to this 1996 magnum opus, an 800 page half social fiction/half political screed that is rivaled only by “Atlas Shrugged” in terms of unabashed preachiness and self-righteousness. The book -- about a fringe guerrilla group that uses terror to repeal the nation’s firearm laws -- is considered the “Moby Dick” of gun-fetish manifestos, a treatise praised by such unbiased sorts as exclamation-mark happy Dr. Edgar Sutar, Free-State supporter Vin Suprynowicz and, of course, Oklahoma City bomber Timmy McVeigh, who once declared “Unintended Consequences” to be his “New Testament.”

Hardcover copies of the book fetch a pretty penny on the Internet, and even soft cover editions are a little pricey. As such, it took me quite a while to track the book down, but I have to say, the wait was worth it: in terms of neo-conservative, NRA agitprop, this thing is utterly unsurpassed in both its grandiosity and amateurishness. It’s both the “Ben Hur” and “Birdemic” of the militia movement, and it is, in every sense of the term, freaking astounding.

The book itself is rather interesting in terms of structure. For the most part, it’s a fictionalized (really, “fantastical” is a better term for it) account of a group of characters deeply embedded in the nation’s “gun culture” uniting to overthrow what they see as the shackles of governmental oppression. However, some segments of the book segue off into these brief anecdotes about real world incidents, which, in some manifestation or another, are supposed to serve as antecedents for the fictionalized aspects of the book. Of course, all of those historical anecdotes are highly fictionalized themselves (and tilted towards the pro-gun ideologues), so the entire tome has this peculiar narrative that’s constantly weaving in and out of rants, main story and historical reconstructions. Needless to say, this is a daring literary technique that even folks like Heller and Tolstoy would've found challenging, and regarding the storytelling prowess of this Ross fellow? Well, this guy is no Orwell, that’s for damned sure.

The first 100 pages of the book aren’t all that bad. We get a fictionalized account of how the Browning Automatic Rifle came to be, a brief passage about the Bonus Army marches on Washington and even a fairly decent -- well, decent, except for the parts where Ross paints lawyer Gordon Dean as a gun-hating lie-teller who (textually) cons the U.S. Supreme Court about the Second Amendment, anyway -- write-up about the 1939 United States vs. Miller ruling, which  found  provisions of the National Firearms Act of 1934 to be constitutional.

Early on, Ross makes plenty of vague statements about the U.S. “gun culture,“ but of course, he makes us wait a couple of hundred more pages before giving a full definition of what that is, precisely. Additionally, he writes this with an almost “Rain Man”-esque attention to detail, often spending paragraphs at a time explaining the physics behind how revolvers work. He’s prone to the exact same logorrhea when he describes the avionics exploits of a World War II fighter pilot, so I hope you dig lots of jargon and mechanic-speak about everything.

It’s not until we get to a passage about Irwin Mann - a fictitious Ghetto Warsaw Uprising survivor -- that the book begins to show its slimy underbelly. Ross writes about Mann’s first experience handling a revolver as if he was penning an op-ed for Penthouse; when I say the guy pens some solid “gun pornography,” I mean that’s exactly what he does. At one point, he even describes, graphically, how the shattered skull of a Nazi reminds him of a pair of areolas. This overly cherry, fictionalized account of the uprising -- what, with Mann becoming a master sharpshooter literally overnight, and some extremely clunky dialogue about how the Redcoats were the S.S. of their time and how Hitler chose to go after England instead of Switzerland because the latter was more heavily armed -- is perhaps your first indication that this thing is soon to fly off into Crazy-Land, and spectacularly.

Early on, the technical-speak just bombards you, with several sections loaded with math terminology (bet you didn’t expect to see the word “parabola” in this one, did you?) and characters thinking with the mindsets of seasoned physicists. Ross never just writes about an airplane, he has to tell you what the ailerons of the plane looked like, and nobody just gets “shot” and falls over dead: instead, the author likes to labor over the (literally) gory details, sometimes rambling on for sentences at a time to tell you which organs got eviscerated and how big the bullet holes on victims were -- strangely, he seems to describe many a lethal wound as being “cantaloupe” sized in appearance.

And from there, it’s CHARACTER OVERLOAD time! Irwin Mann moves into America and drives around Las Vegas at 110 miles per hour while mocking federal highway laws and a Colorado farm boy graduates from an Ivy League school and this one pilot talks about his airplane for a couple of pages and we’re ultimately introduced to the book’s primary character -- Henry -- who at the age of 6, becomes indoctrinated into the “gun culture” by reading the Guinness Book of World Records, picking up a copy of Gun Digest and buying a couple of Swiss army knives at an ammo shop.

After that, we get a couple more pages with idle gun shop chatter, and a subplot bubbles up about a personal injury lawyer taking up a case for a Hispanic janitor, whose wife was exposed to volatile chemicals while she was pregnant. I’ll give the author some bonus points for being able to turn the entire segment into an extended swipe at the “unfairness” of minimum wage laws, however.

So, Henry and his uncle Max go skeet shooting, and Max lets Henry drive his car, and they talk about how much they hate cops and what dropping ball bearings in a carburetor does to somebody’s ride. Then, there’s a lengthy diatribe about how gun policies in America were, largely, the result of Jim Crow legislation. Henry ends up getting his hands on a Mauser, some characters talk about silencers and then Irwin and Henry talk about the Holocaust. If there had been more kids into trick shooting in Poland instead of medicine and music, Irwin tells him, there’s a pretty good chance the Krauts never would’ve enslaved them. And then everybody goes on a camping tip and talk about the Bonus Army Marches and the pros of the Free Market and how the Second Amendment EXPLICITLY means that all Americans are entitled to ownership of the same kind of weaponry that the military has. Then, the lawyer wins his personal injury case, he dispenses some portfolio diversification advice (no, really), and then he goes on a safari in Africa. I probably don’t need to tell you this, but guns are literally the focal point of every character’s every waking moment in this novel, with the cast unable to go more than a few paragraphs WITHOUT rambling on and on about their highly specific, technical love of certain firearms. Case in point: when JFK dies, the main character’s primary reaction is thinking about seeing the President firing some AR-15s on his boat once. The characters then praise Jack Ruby for his marksmanship and dissect Lee Harvey Oswald’s firearm selection. Improbable Zionist-Nazi conspiracy chatter follows suit:

"And may I also point out that this strip-club owner happens to be Jewish, and the head of the family this Jewish strip-club owner professes to respect so much is old Joe Kennedy, who never made any secret of his admiration for the Nazi regime." Max Collins laughed without humor. "Don't expect this deal to make sense any time soon." 

Then, we get some more gun porn filler (complete with some vintage catalog photos!), which culminates with Henry receiving a goddamn CANNON for his birthday. Then, MLK dies, and the mayor talks about putting a LARGER turret on the top of city hall to prevent riots. Then Bobby Kennedy dies, and conspiracy chatter about additional gunmen abounds. And then there’s a 20 page long description of a clay pigeon shooting competition. You really don’t need any details there, I reckon. Then Henry -- who is described as having a somewhat Freudian obsession with really, comically over-sized guns -- goes to Reno and hangs out with a group that’s really into cannons, who are called "BALLS." And no, I SWEAR I am not making that last bit up, either.

There’s another camping scene, and a couple of more pages about shooting fowls, and Henry and one of his older buddies talk about girls. Then, we get to the point in the novel where things go from innocuously paranoid to terrifyingly self-righteous. Henry is ambling through the wilderness, and he encounters a young woman being raped by four boys. In graphic detail, Ross paints a picture of not only the girl being brutalized, but a highly-technical, emotionally-frigid account of how Henry (who, by the way, is just 13) guns down three of the attackers in cold blood. You can almost feel the ominous dark clouds rolling overhead when Ross pens the following line: “Killing someone was not an emotionally devastating experience when the person you killed was evil.”

The characters discuss the Gun Control Act of 1968 (surprise, they don’t view it favorably!) and then we get a lengthy passage about the dude still on safari and Henry shooting some stuff in Idaho and visiting Amherst and talking about how all the Dems in Missouri are corrupt and socialism is bullshit. By the way, John Ross graduated from Amherst, so if you’re looking for any sock puppets here…

Henry, now in college, flies his buddies around in a plane for awhile, and he talks to his lecturer about research papers on Smith & Wesson. Then, Ross provides a fictionalized account of the Ken Ballew Raid, and we’re introduced to a character named Tom Fleming, who thinks the ATF are a bunch of Nazis. And then, Henry gets gang-raped(!) and develops an alcohol addiction and thanks his lucky stars that he wasn’t brutalized during the AIDS era. So he joins AA and starts a women’s self defense class at school and talks about “a warrior’s mentality” for a couple of pages. Then he flies a plane some more, and talks about totalitarianism and then he gets a massage from a classmate and starts selling fake identification documents to his peers and he writes a term paper where he compares the National Firearms Act to the Stamp Act and says the Gun Control Act of ‘68 creates a “three-tiered status for identically-manufactured goods.” And yes, the book includes the research paper, in its entirety. Here are my two favorite snippets from the little rant, which condensed to just one sentence, could probably be summarized as “federal gun laws are bullshit, and if you want to tax me, I may just shoot you in the face.”

“The Gun Control Act of 1968, with its amendments to the National Firearms Act of 1934, is a recent continuation of the trend started during the Roosevelt Administration towards more government and less freedom. Recent and current Administrations show no sign of reversing this trend. When freedom is at odds with government policy, one of two things eventually happens: Either freedom is crushed, or political leaders are forced out in disgrace and replaced with guardians of individual liberty."

“The 1968 amendments to the 1934 Act are bad law because these amendments actually prohibit those people who want to pay the tax on their guns from doing so. These 1968 amendments have made criminals out of people with no criminal intent, and give these citizens no option other than to surrender their property without compensation. These are the kinds of laws which led to the American Revolution.”

Henry graduates from college, becomes a federally-recognized weapons dealer, bitches about estate taxes and gives us a history lesson about how Fabian socialists wound up creating England’s Labour Party. Then he goes elephant hunting, and we’re introduced to two more characters; a girl named Cindy that’s always getting beat up at home, and Dick Gaines, an “evil” liberal Senator from Missouri. The characters praise Reagan-era policies, and they discuss a 1982 Subcommittee on the Constitution report in a gun shop. Then there’s a suspiciously detailed passage about ammonium nitrate, an introduction to the Weaver clan, a brief overview of the 1985 MOVE bombing in Philadelphia and some bullshit about the Volkmer-McClure Act

Then, we get a pretty detailed description of the infamous Platt and Matix 1986 FBI shootout in Miami; and at about 400 pages into the novel, we finally get to the book’s big, ominous central message: “If this is what happens when the feds go after a couple of bank robbers who know they're in the wrong, what's going to happen to the feds when they go after a couple million trained, motivated, heavily armed citizens who haven't done anything worse than exercise their Constitutional rights?” 

Then the guys at the gun shop complain about Bush the First’s policies and Cindy gets sold into a white slavery ring and Henry goes down to a gun show and makes an FBI informant pee his pants (surprisingly, even though he pulls a gun on a federal agent, he isn’t reprimanded in the least) and then there’s another lengthy passage describing Cindy’s sexual humiliation and then an account of the Ruby Ridge raid. So Cindy and Henry meet at an AA meeting, and her captors “mysteriously” end up dead shortly thereafter. Then Henry outraces a Porsche in his pick-up truck and he gives “a presidential speech” where he repeals every single gun law in the nation to some of his pals at the ammo shop. 

After that, Waco goes down and Cindy bitches about her independent contractor status so Henry takes her to audition at a strip club instead. The characters get all pissy about a state-level law that forbids concealed weapon carry in Missouri, and Raymond (the dude that’s been on safari since basically the JFK assassination) returns to America and his all his weapons confiscated at LaGuradia. So he calls up Henry and he helps his pal out and they proceed to complain about ALL of the following for the next 50 or so pages:

- Magnetic money strips in U.S. currency
- DUI checkpoints
- Automotive safety features (seat belt requirements are a statist imposition on individual freedom, after all)
- The outlawing of “cop-killer” bullets
- EVERY single drug law in the nation
- “Clipper chips” on personal computers
- The corporate tax rates for John Deere 

At this point (nearly two-thirds of the way into the book, no less) Ross finally gives us a somewhat satisfying response to the question of what “gun culture” is in America: it’s a bunch of mostly middle-aged white men, with higher than average incomes, who really, really hate the state, don’t watch sports, and enjoy shooting stuff. Sort of giving away the ending of the book, one of the characters says if their demands aren’t met (basically, the complete and utter disappearance of federal regulations on everything, but ESPECIALLY firearms) another “civil war” is guaranteed. 

In the follow-up scene, there’s a description of a “gun rally” in D.C., with this one guy laying out a blueprint of sort for new-wave pro-gunners. He tells them to be on the offense and stop trusting the po-po, adding that only guns serve as an “utmost guaranteer of freedom” and that under the Second Amendment, 16-year-olds should have legal access to military-grade weaponry. 

Now we’re at the 500 page point of the novel. Henry takes Cindy shooting, and what do you know, she enjoys it. 

Then, the Oklahoma City bombing transpires, there’s some more target shooting, more idle talk about JFK conspiracies, more bellyaching about concealed weapons carry laws and a three page passage about an ATF “drone” plane. Then, the plot leaps to “present day,” and the story spirals into the blood-curdling madness you’ve been dreading for the last 600 pages. 

So Irwin Mann has been appointed head of some national Holocaust advisory board, and Henry and his pals make some extra dough selling guns as movie props. They eat burgers and make fun of “Rambo 3,” and uh-oh! As it turns out, the ATF has been spying on them, but Henry has been spying on them back, and I guess you figure what’s coming up ahead, right?

Well, we’ve waited the entire book to see things get downright stomach churning, and when the proverbial shit hits the fan, I assure you it’s a TREMENDOUS amount of feces getting splattered before your very eyes. The ATF recon crew sent to check out Henry’s pal are described as being multicultural, and at one point, the narrator mocks African-Americans for their unique names. Then Ross quotes Mencken about hoisting black flags and slitting throats, and Henry decides to torture two ATF agents -- one of whom is an African-American woman named, I swear to God folks, “Gonorrhea” -- with Habanera peppers and duct tape, and then he shoots the black federal agent in cold blood and forces the other agent to record a false confession before decapitating him. 

Yeah, a disgusted chill went down my spine too, kids. 

So Henry burns the ATF van in East St. Louis (yet another excuse for the author to mock black culture, I suppose) and he shoots three helicopters out of the sky and meets up with his buddy Allen Kane and they talk about NFA dealers that have been arrested for not filling out the proper paperwork. 

And since the ATF agents -- painted as inept and hopelessly corrupt individuals, through and through -- have (allegedly) put 3,000 gun dealers behind bars by the mid 1990s, the characters figure they’re no different than the Nazis or the Klan and decide to declare a formal jihad against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Here’s perhaps the choicest cut from the section:

“There are at least five or six million serious Bill of Rights advocates in this country who understand the importance of the Second Amendment. There are at most—what?—ten or twelve thousand people in the government trying to dismantle the Bill of Rights. That's a 500-to-l advantage. And you, one person, have managed to kill twenty-two of those enemies. There'll be no contest." 

The protagonists decide to use the false confession of the one agent Henry killed as a “false flag” of sorts to galvanize the nation’s hardcore gun proponents, and they decide to start posting messages on the Internet to rile up the militia folk. They post the names of all the ATF agents online, and then, the mass killings doth begins; at one point, the author cheerily describes the ice pick murder of an obese agent in his own home. 

And from there, the protagonists of the book lay out their next course of actions. I think it’s best if they just speak for themselves, no?

"'From now on, any ATF employee with a Government Service classification of GS-7 or higher is a party to the treason the ATF has committed and is now subject to execution, as are all ATF informants. No exceptions. 

"'Second, any judge who upholds any gun law shall also be guilty of treason and subject to execution. No exceptions. From now on, guns will be treated the same as books. 

"'Third, since elected officials and law enforcement entities have a duty to defend the Constitution, any elected official or police agent who supports or enforces any measure, past or present, which violates the Second Amendment shall be subject to execution. Private citizens may freely advocate any policies or ideas that they want, as per the First Amendment.'"

A presidential task force is assembled to address the wave of shootings, and Cindy kills a Senator after needlessly prostituting herself to him -- I suppose it’s an opportune time to bring up the fact that Ross seems to REALLY like writing about the graphic sex acts she’s forced to perform throughout the novel.

Then we get a passage about the demographics of militantly political gun owners, with Ross stating that even the really, really racist types -- your Christian Identity folks, namely -- aren’t really THAT racist, even though they support segregation and stuff. Then, there’s some anecdotes about Hell’s Angels sex initiation rituals and training protocols for the IRA, and a brief run down of all the hyper-political NRA alternatives out there, like Gun Owners of America and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. This section is immediately followed up by a sequence in which some proud, liberty-loving gun owners batter a congressman to death with a hammer.

After that, there’s a long passage, allegedly written by the sock puppet ATF turncoat, which compares gun regulation to book regulations, because fuck, those two are so similar in utility. Some more ATF agents get whacked, and then Ross said that slavery in the South would’ve stopped on its own eventually because of “free market forces.” Then the characters trudge up “The Battle of Athens, Tennessee” and a former SCOTUS judge starts communicating with some of the patriot-terrorists. Pulling a page out of “Hellraiser,” the militants use Cindy to lure several senators in favor of gun control policies into deadly trysts, and tapes of Blair (the ATF scapegoat) are mailed to CNN. Then we get a primer on how to make sexually explicit, pre-Photoshop Polaroids (which, by itself, is a felony) and then there’s a twenty page passage where some pro-gunners lure some ATF agents out into some woodlands and systematically massacre them. Then an ATF agent and his children are incinerated in a house fire in San Antonio, and another congressman has his skull bashed in by a set of hand weights. THEN an FAA official gets gunned down, and the (fictitious) governor of Missouri is found dead of a heroin overdose, with manufactured XXX photos stuffed into his pocket…the entire sequence existing, it appears, just so Ross can make a crude joke about Ted Kennedy.

We have some shit about Vince Foster and a brief list of “false flag” incidents prior to the signing of gun-control legislation, and a suspiciously characteristic-less President of the U.S. begins negotiating with the “heroes” of the book. So the President finally meets with the patriot-murderers, and he’s forced -- at gunpoint -- to read an executive order that repeals every single gun law on the nation’s books. And then the director of the ATF gets shot, and this thing is…thankfully…fin.


Before I give a final critique of “Unintended Consequences,” I would like to say just a few positive things about the book. 

Although Ross is certainly no master wordsmith, his writing approach -- when he isn’t spending nineteen pages at a time describing what firing pins smell like -- isn’t too horrendous. His characters may be paper characterizations, and the entire plot is carried along by an undercurrent of awkward politics, but yeah, in terms of pure literary experiences, I’ve probably incurred worse. 

I’m not really sure if I would consider the book reliable historical treatise, but there is quite a bit of information throughout the book, and if nothing else, it serves as something of a compendium of about a million billion other resources. “Unintended Consequences,” as such, is really a much better reference guide than it is a work of fiction/propaganda. 

Regarding the pace of the book, it flows fairly well, but be advised; this is a treatise that takes FOREVER before it actually gets into the meat of the proverbial matter. And although you probably shouldn’t have to be told this, if you’re not a fan of heavy-handed preachiness…well, this colossal cinder block of a book probably ain’t going to be your bag, no matter your personal take on firearms. 

And now, onto the negatives…which are VERY, VERY negative, I am afraid. 

One of the huge problems with Ross’s central tenet of the book -- that members of the “gun culture” are a misunderstood, legally marginalized minority unjustly punished by a totalitarian government -- is something that he completely contradicts over the course of the novel. He spends 500 pages reiterating that gun owners are non-violent individuals, yet the finale of the book is littered with more bullet-riddled corpses than all three ‘Missing in Action’ movies put together. These individuals are not a threat to civility, Ross reassures us. And in the next scene, his heroes are blowing away federales left and right, pushing hot lead through agents with all the glee of an Adderall-fed “Doom 2” player. 

Perhaps the biggest slight against “Unintended Consequences” is also the biggest slight you can have against the vague “gun culture” Ross fails to fully describe throughout his own screed. In Ross’s eyes, it is ONLY the members of the “gun culture” that stand between American life as we know it and federal tyranny -- only THEY know that freedom is being usurped, and only THEY can prevent that hypothetical totalitarianism from taking over. Ross literally posits the “gun culture” dissenters as the self-ordained defenders of liberty, a proposal made a thousand times scarier when he makes it a focal point of the manifesto to establish that, yes, these same individuals would KILL for what they consider their God-given entitlements. It’s a small sliver of a small portion of the general American populace (shit, just 34 percent of American households have guns, and Ross says that most of them aren’t actual members of the enigmatic “gun culture” he vaunts like a religious sect) that he considers the nation’s true protectorates.  For all the anti-Nazi diatribes Ross hurls about in the book, he never seems to detect the irony that his self-righteous, politically-motivated vigilantes are every bit the bloodthirsty, undemocratic tyrants the goose steppers were. Ross’s “gun culture” seeks to impose their martial values on a nation where an overwhelming majority of the peoples don’t even bother owning firearms -- through the barrel of a rifle, Ross’s “heroes” enforce their ideology of freedom, on a general public whose own freedom is less likely to be curtailed by federalists than they are the trigger-happy antics of a crazed gunman, a pistol-packing gangbanger or a paranoid NRA member who would rather shoot at sounds than let others enjoy their own freedoms

Oddly, Ross never picks up on the fact that his definition of freedom -- your typical neoconservative wet dream -- is inherently fascistic; a hyper-free market, hands-off federal system (which, really, sounds more like a confederation) where the well-off are granted more personal power while the downtrodden are continually degraded. This “anti-statist” fantasy becomes very intriguing, in the fact that in the absence of federal oversight, who becomes the forceful in culture? State powers? Local powers? The armed elites? The hyper-capitalists with their private police forces? This is an issue that Ross never explores in “Unintended Consequences” -- naively, or blinded by his own shortsightedness, he never mulls the possibility that suppression can come about by state agencies and local actors just as easily -- if not more aggressively -- than the Federals. And of course, that’s leaving out the most glaring implication of the novel: do most Americans TRULY want to live in a cultural milieu where a self-ordained militia rules the roost via constant threat of force? As shitty as the IRS may be, I think I’d much prefer a nation where Eric Holder and Ben Bernanke are in charge, as opposed to Randy Weaver and David Koresh. 

As to whether or not this book will change your own stance on gun control, I highly doubt it. Whatever progress Ross may make when describing the muddled 1968 laws and the inexcusable clusterfucks that were Waco and Ruby Ridge are automatically negated by Ross’s almost fanatical vaunting of the ill-described “gun culture” -- by describing his kindred as gaggle of individuals prepared to declare jihad over an unfavorable 1939 Supreme Court ruling and $200 transportation taxes, Ross actually ends up doing more harm to his own cause than good. If you’re filled with ant-statist rancor, this book serves as exceptional masturbatory fodder, but for any impartial individual out there, this thing most certainly isn’t going to have you signing up for the Gun Owners of America newsletter anytime soon. 

And lastly, regarding the “value” of this turgid turd as free expression, I say this: “Unintended Consequences,” despite being a work of “fiction,” is no doubt an incendiary work, which if not directly inciting fringe gun folk to declare civil war, at least gives said individuals a fantasy to vicariously wank to. I’m sure there are plenty of nutcases out there that would LOVE to replicate the despicable things that occur in this book, but ever the proponent of the FIRST amendment, I fully believe that Ross has the right to shit out such contemptible materials, despite their probable negative impacts on most of the radical lunkheads that read it. 

At the end of the day, what civil enlightenment does Ross’s book bring to the world at large? Well, it’s long, and paranoid, and brutal, and likely to inspire madmen to at least MULL engaging in heinous acts of violence. It’s a detestable piece of hate literature, whose artistic merits are limited to the fact that, yes, it does contain words. As a political manifesto, it’s amateurish, as a call to arms, its among the most offensive treatises ever penned. It’s a tract that stretches the limits of free expression boundaries, and absolutely shatters one’s conceptions of what constitutes good taste.

It’s vile. It’s contemptible. It’s probably dangerous as all hell. I read it, and human nature being what it is, you may be tempted to thumb through it yourself. I can’t stop you, but be forewarned: “Unintended Consequences” is a carnival ride to a dark, dark place…which, I assure you, is a place you almost certainly do not want to visit if you can avoid it.


  1. hmmm...i wonder why nobody bothered to respond to this guy...oh, of course...why would you debate a balloon wienie ?!?

  2. I normally avoid commenting on reviews from people who hated my book, but several of my admirers have pointed me to this specific one, often for the same reason. They sent me to this diatribe because all of them thought it was hilarious that this guy kept ranting about my ludicrous, over-the-top fantasies without realizing that almost all of the things he was ranting about were not products of my imagination, but rather events and facts from real life. As one good friend of mine put it, "You exhibited less creativity writing UC than any novelist I've ever read, because all the fictional aspects in your book have already happened before, somewhere." Kind of like the people who think deporting illegal aliens is laughably unrealistic, and not knowing about our post-WWII "Operation wetback"...

    The reviewer also says "One of the huge problems with Ross’s central tenet of the book -- that members of the “gun culture” are a misunderstood, legally marginalized minority unjustly punished by a totalitarian government -- is something that he completely contradicts over the course of the novel. He spends 500 pages reiterating that gun owners are non-violent individuals, yet the finale of the book is littered with more bullet-riddled corpses than all three ‘Missing in Action’ movies put together. These individuals are not a threat to civility, Ross reassures us. And in the next scene, his heroes are blowing away federales left and right, pushing hot lead through agents with all the glee of an Adderall-fed “Doom 2” player."

    Yes, I spend 500 (or more) pages reiterating that gun owners are non-violent individuals. THAT IS CURRENTLY TRUE. The NRA is often portrayed in the media as a bunch of knuckle-dragging illiterates prone to violence, but if that were true, with 4 million members, if even 1/10 of one percent were that way (4000 people) we'd be seeing WEEKLY assassination attempts on Charles Schumer, Dianne Feinstein et al. Thus far, we haven't seen even one, but in the time since I wrote my novel in 1996, we HAVE seen the number of states that recognize people's right to carry a firearm for defense go from 35 in 1995 to all 50 today. That's pretty good evidence that the gun culture is comprised of people who get things done using the proper legal processes.

    My novel uses the time-tested story line of the decent person who gets put in an intolerable situation through no fault of his own and is now faced with the choice of either fighting with all the skill and cunning he can muster, or die. A lot of folks thought it was a good read.

  3. Love that book. It's the only book I've ever read more then twice. I own a first edition signed copy. You go Mr. Ross


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