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Thread: Is Stephen King At Fault For Terror Attacks?

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    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Is Stephen King At Fault For Terror Attacks?



    One reason Stephen King is so wildly successful is, some of his horror books touch a deep anxiety in our collective minds that we haven't yet been able to fully articulate. For example, in Cell, he has an invasion of the body snatchers/zombie apocalypse that is set off in every human that is at a particular moment, using their cell phones.

    (Great movie, and for once, the movie is better than the book IMO.)

    Anyway, King has also written a book about a school shooting, published in 1977, called Rage. He asked his publisher to stop publishing it after Columbine, and it is out of print as of 2007. He felt so guilty about it, he wrote a nonfiction book called Guns, and donated all the profits to the Brady Campaign To End Gun Violence.

    But I can list several other books of his that arguably could have inspired real-life crimes, chief among them Mr. Mercedes in which a psychopath uses a big car to run over as many people standing on line at a jobs fair as possible. The sequel, Finders Keepers, features the same psychopath using a wheelchair to avoid being searched so he can get a bomb in to a very crowded boy band concert full of tweeny girls and their parents.

    Creepy, huh, given what has happened just recently?

    I don't mean King has any more responsibility than anyone else writing thrillers; I would think more than a few real psychopaths have picked up tips from books and movies about crimes, real or fictional. The whole point of the genre of Thrillers and True Crime is to allow the reader the literary equivalent of a roller coaster ride. Fun fear, so to speak.

    But, ethically, is there any limit on the authors and filmmakers at all, IYO, where they might should say "no, this could too easily inspire a real nutter"?

    I don't have an opinion, and it's certainly not a pressing matter....but I thought it might be interesting to convo about, if anyone chooses to reply.

    Your thoughts?
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    told you so Amelia's Avatar
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    Criminal Minds outdoes itself trying to create creepier and creepier serial murder MO's.

    I wonder how many deranged people they are giving ideas to.


    What if even one person is subjected to more twisted torture before their death than they would have been if CM never portrayed that type of torture on television?
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    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    Criminal Minds outdoes itself trying to create creepier and creepier serial murder MO's.

    I wonder how many deranged people they are giving ideas to.


    What if even one person is subjected to more twisted torture before their death than they would have been if CM never portrayed that type of torture on television?
    Well, I agree, except.....by European standards, Criminal Minds is meh. Nordic and Italian shows, etc. are far more gruesome and the UK is truly out there (or maybe I just get more UK programming.)

    Not to say that if this is a problem, only the very worst authors and filmmakers should shoulder the burden. But, there is no outbreak of bizarre and hideously sadistic crimes in Europe to support the contention that there's a corellary, direct or not.

    So....maybe King is wrong, or just supersensitive? God knows, Columbine was horrifying for any human in America.

    All I know is, I would be struggling now if I had written Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers. Right or wrong, I think I'd feel I had let a terrible idea loose into the world (which is silly, as neither plot is unique.)
    Last edited by Madeline; 24th May 2017 at 08:11 AM.

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    ~Standing My Ground~ Sassy's Avatar
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    A Jack Reacher novel unleashed something in my head I wish I could erase and I can see where some sickos would want to emulate it.

    A company promises to help you commit suicide but instead traps you into torture porn/snuff film. so they deliver eventually on the 'suicide' part but first they are tortured on film for profit. Customers get to pick the method of death and on what kind of person.
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    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    Anyway, King has also written a book about a school shooting, published in 1977, called Rage. He asked his publisher to stop publishing it after Columbine, and it is out of print as of 2007.
    Wow, I didn't realize it was out of print. I have a copy of the Bachman Books, and that was the best of the four, IMO.
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    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    Wow, I didn't realize it was out of print. I have a copy of the Bachman Books, and that was the best of the four, IMO.
    It's probably got collector value now. Was it a good book?

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    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassy View Post
    A Jack Reacher novel unleashed something in my head I wish I could erase and I can see where some sickos would want to emulate it.

    A company promises to help you commit suicide but instead traps you into torture porn/snuff film. so they deliver eventually on the 'suicide' part but first they are tortured on film for profit. Customers get to pick the method of death and on what kind of person.
    I read that one. I like Jack Reacher novels, read all of them

    Anyway, I seriously doubt those ISIS guys read Western books Most of them don't even speak English.
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    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man View Post
    I read that one. I like Jack Reacher novels, read all of them

    Anyway, I seriously doubt those ISIS guys read Western books Most of them don't even speak English.
    How gently can I say this? The US has probably the most violent, sadistic and inventive psychopaths on the planet. This has nothing to do with inspiring fear in others or having a scary reputation, as a criminal gang or terror group would seek.

    This is about reveling in another person's fear and pain, for pure pleasure. Usually in private.

    Have you seen the movie SE7EN?

    The FBI estimates there are 35 or more active serial killers in the US at any time.
    Last edited by Madeline; 24th May 2017 at 01:25 PM.
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    ~Standing My Ground~ Sassy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man View Post
    I read that one. I like Jack Reacher novels, read all of them

    Anyway, I seriously doubt those ISIS guys read Western books Most of them don't even speak English.
    I love all Jack Reacher novels but at the end of a few there are things I would have preferred not to read. Like the one I mentioned and another one where the bed guys ended up being just as awful.
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    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    It's probably got collector value now. Was it a good book?
    It's a collection of four novelettes: Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork and The Running Man. Roadwork kinda sucked, IIRC, but the other three were good. The Running Man was made into a very bad film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987, but the film was only loosely based on the story.
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