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Posts tagged ‘magazines’

A Little Common Sense

From Nation of Change
26 July 2012

U.S. Gun Laws: Guilty by Reason of Insanity
by Amy Goodman

James Holmes, the alleged shooter in the massacre in Aurora, Colo., reportedly amassed his huge arsenal with relative ease. Some of these weapons were illegal as recently as eight years ago. Legislation now before Congress would once again make illegal, if not the guns themselves, at least the high-capacity magazines that allow bullets to be fired rapidly without stopping to reload. Holmes bought most of his weaponry within recent months, we are told. Perhaps, if sane laws on gun control, including the ban on high- capacity magazines, were in place, many in Aurora who are now dead or seriously injured would be alive and well today.

The facts of the assault are generally well-known. Holmes allegedly burst into the packed theater during the 12:30 am premier of the Batman sequel “The Dark Knight Rises,” threw one or two canisters of some gas or irritant, which exploded, then began to methodically shoot people, killing 12 and wounding 58.

“Everybody sort of started screaming, and that’s when the gunman opened fire on the crowd, and pandemonium just broke out,” Omar Esparza told me. He was in the third row, with five friends out for a birthday celebration: “He started opening fire on the audience pretty freely, just started shooting in every direction, that’s when everybody started screaming, started panicking. A lot of people had been hit at that point at those initial few rounds, and that’s when everybody sort of hit the floor and started to exit.”

Esparza continued: “It sounded like the bullets had stopped, and it sounded like he was either switching guns or reloading his rifle. At that very second when we sort of heard the silence, we realized that that was our only opportunity of getting out or of dying. So, at that split second, we had to react and had to exit as quickly as possible. And we barely made it, too, because approximately a second after we had exited, we heard him starting to shoot again.”

That moment of silence may have been when one of the weapons jammed. CNN reported that “the semiautomatic rifle used in the Colorado theater killings jammed during the rampage … a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the investigation said Sunday.”

Holmes allegedly had an AR-15, equipped with a 100-round drum magazine, as well as one or two Glock pistols with 40-round extended magazines and a Remington 870 shotgun that can fire up to seven shells without reloading. The AR-15 can fire from 50 to 60 rounds per minute. Holmes had a massive arsenal, easily acquired at retail stores and online.

Carolyn McCarthy is a member of Congress from Long Island, N.Y. Her husband was shot in the head and among the six killed in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road massacre. Her son also was shot in the head, but survived and remains partially paralyzed. She was a nurse back then, but when her congressman voted against the assault-weapons ban, she ran against him. She won and has been in Congress ever since.

McCarthy has introduced H.R. 308, the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act. It would ban the sale or transfer of these large-capacity clips that enabled the massive casualties in Aurora, and in Tucson, Ariz., in January 2011 when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot and six were killed. McCarthy told me: “The problem is, politicians, legislators across this country are intimidated by the NRA and the gun manufacturers who put so much money out there to say that ‘we will take you down in an election if you go against us.’ Common sense will say we can take prudent gun-safety legislation and try to save people’s lives. That is the bottom line.”

Read entire story at Nation of Change.

As Rich As J. K. Rowling.

If I got paid for every rejection I’ve received from past queries I’ve sent to magazines, newspapers, journals and book publishers, I’d be as rich as J. K. Rowling.

When I started taking writing seriously (again) about twenty-five years ago, I sent out a column to the local weekly magazine and had a nice reply saying they would like to print it. I was ecstatic and literally jumped up and hit my head on the door frame. Luckily, for my head, I was able to eventually contain myself and start on the next project. “Hell,” I thought, “If getting published is this easy I’ll be a successful writer in a few months.”

Reality soon set in and I received at least fifty rejection slips in a row. Most were quasi-sincere apologies. “Please excuse this form letter, but we get so many submissions it is not possible to personally reply to them all. Your submission has been carefully reviewed. Our decision to not use it at this time is based on numerous factors and is no reflection on your writing.” Some were more personal, yet just as maddening.

“Thank you for thinking of us. We liked your story, but it wasn’t quite right for our focus.”

“The focus of your idea was well done, but the writing lacked clarity.”

“Your presentation of the material is very good, but we recently did a similar piece.”

“You are a gifted writer. Good luck.”

“You write well, but your book doesn’t fit our plans. You may want to try a smaller publisher who specializes in your genre.”

“We appreciate your finely written story, but we are a small publisher and have to be very selective. You may want to consider a larger, more diverse publishing company.”

Within months I had gone from the ecstasy of my first published piece to a continuous stream of rejections. I became a manic-depressive insomniac who was willing to walk on hot burning coals to have my writing accepted, let alone occasionally paid for.

Slowly, year after year, as my writing improved and my ability to ascertain which markets were more appropriate for my nonfiction and fiction, I began to make the great leap forward having only ninety-eight out of a hundred queries rejected instead of the previous hundred and ninety-nine out of two-hundred! My odds were increasing by one to two-percent annually. At that rate I would soon have a hundred percent success by the time I was one thousand years old!

A transforming and sanity-saving moment occurred while writing late one night, when I realized that I had to write because I LOVE writing MORE than getting what I write published. This attitudinal shift turned me away from the self-defeating behavior of a masochist scribe, into a peaceful warrior who writes for the joy of the creative process.

Yes, it is always a thrill when someone accepts something I have written, but luckily I was graced with the insight that I AM a writer, whether others acknowledge that fact or not and the more I practice, the better it gets. Rejection letters come and go, but I no longer take them to heart. I wouldn’t shy away from a six-figure advance for my next best seller, but I don’t live my life waiting for it to happen.

If you can’t live without writing, then write. Write every day, as if your life depended on it. Write, write and rewrite. Be open to constructive editing and commentary from others, but never disregard what you want to say and how you want to say it.

Writing for publication is like preparing a good meal. Even if what you cook is meticulously prepared it may not suit someone else’s tastes. Keep trying new recipes and spices. Sooner or later someone will savor the dish you’ve concocted and you’ll get to enjoy the main course of a writing life and the delicious dessert of publication and pay.

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