L. Neil Smith's

Number 4, January 1996

Finally, a Novel of Liberty to Rival 'Atlas Shrugged'

By Vin Suprynowicz

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

         John Ross is an investment broker and financial adviser from St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Ross fires 20,000 rounds of ammunition per year. He is "by his own admission, a member of the gun culture."
         Missouri is one of the last states that still bans handguns for personal protection for anyone except policemen. Mr. Ross, understanding that this exposes his wife and daughter, and the spouses and children of all Missourians, to the tender mercies of armed felons, has contributed thousands of dollars to lobby the legislature to repeal that handgun ban.
         Since that hasn't yet worked, Ross, who earned degrees in both English and Economics from Amherst College, decided to write a novel. The book dramatizes the history of our government's war on the gun culture. As Mr. Ross says in his author's note, "Today in America, honest, successful, talented, productive, motivated people are ... being stripped of their freedom and dignity and having their noses rubbed in it. The conflict has been building for over half a century, and once again warning flags are frantically waving, while the instigators rush headlong towards the abyss, and their doom."
         The first two-thirds of "Unintended Consequences" comprise a fictionalized chronology of various characters on three continents experiencing the effects of being armed -- and being disarmed -- from 1906 to the present. Characters are built with solid, credible personal histories. That takes some ink -- 860 pages in trade paperback.
         By the time Warsaw ghetto uprising survivor Irwin Mann shows his young American nephew pictures of naked Jews being herded to their deaths in the Nazi camps, only to have the lad point out to him that none of the soldiers' weapons have bullets in their chambers, you'll be hanging on every revelation.
         "Would many people notice this fact, as you have?" the stunned Irwin Mann finally asks, after the lad demonstrates how you can tell whether each of the weapons in question has been loaded and cocked.
         "Anyone with any knowledge of guns," replies young Henry Bowman.
         But the Jews of Europe, of course, had no knowledge of guns. They had no gun culture. And so they died.
         In the final third of the book, set after Waco and Ruby Ridge, our own gun-grabbers finally go too far. The members of the gun culture find themselves pushed to the point where they realize it's either give up all their weapons, bend over, and hope they use some lubricant ... or fight back.
         Individually, without getting together to form any giant conspiracy, they start killing their oppressors. A few at first ... then by the hundreds.
         As one of the characters in "Unintended Consequences" says, "When the United States government suspects a citizen has failed to pay a five dollar federal tax and then spends more manpower and more money spying on that citizen then it spent on surveillance before the invasion of Haiti, there is something wrong. When government tax agents carry guns and wear black ski masks to hide their faces, the evil has become institutionalized. And when those government agents shoot nursing mothers and burn women and children alive over $200 tax matters, then you have a government that is out of control."
         "Unintended Consequence" is published by little Accurate Press of St. Louis -- the firm's first novel.
         "Greg (Pugh) saw the first few chapters, and said he wanted it, that he hoped it would do for him what 'The Hunt for Red October' did for the Naval Institute Press," Ross says.
         John Ross and Greg Pugh don't know the half of it. I doubt this magnificent novel will be an overnight best-seller, without the kind of PR campaign it would get from a major publisher. But neither was "Atlas Shrugged." Sales of Ayn Rand's masterpiece just kept growing by word of mouth, until it became this century's classic novel of liberty, never out of print in 40 years.
         Now it has company.
         "Unintended Consequences" will terrify and appall jackbooted stormtroopers everywhere, and even more so the whimpering media geeks who squat to lick those boots. "Unintended Consequences" has characters you will care for, and a sense of proportion and scale that firmly resists the temptation to go overboard with superhuman feats more suited to the likes of Stallone and Schwarzenegger.
         Does Ross worry about accusations that the book's "too political"?
         "In the review that's scheduled to run in the publication of the JPFO (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership), the Firearms Sentinel, they liken this book to Harriet Beecher Stowe's 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' in 1853. A lot of northerners had considered slavery as a guaranteed three square meals a day and a roof over your head; it didn't seem logical to them that a slave owner with $3,000 invested in a slave would beat or torture or kill him.
         "But 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' a work of fiction, sensitized people to the realities of slavery in a way that a bunch of people standing around on stumps making speeches never could have done. ... Yeah, I've written a political novel. People who don't have any connection with the gun culture need to be made aware that our government is shooting people in the head and burning them alive because they didn't pay a $200 tax. I make no apologies for writing a political novel."
         I have rarely been as moved by any work of fiction as I was by John Ross' "Unintended Consequences." It is a masterwork. (And mind you, I'm saying this about the work of an Amherst man.) Anyone who cares about the Second Amendment -- or any of the Bill of Rights -- must read it.
         "Unintended Consequences" will be ready to ship to bookstores nationwide in January, through wholesaler Baker & Taylor. Individual copies are $28.95 from Accurate Press, 7188 Manchester Road, St. Louis, Mo. 63143; phone 314-645-1700.
         Order several. You have friends.

Buy this book from Amazon.com

Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Readers may reach him via e-mail at vin@terminus.intermind.net. His column is syndicated in the United States and Canada via Mountain Media Syndications, P.O. Box 4422, Las Vegas, Nevada 89127.

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