Thursday, May 6, 2010

Question of the Day #45: Do you feel that 'Rage' was the catalyst for some actual school shootings?

Was Rage the only catalyst?  No, I don't believe it was the only catalyst.  Any
"slasher-type" movie, book, short story or video game in the hands of someone with a problem distinguishing reality from fantasy could be the catalyst.  IMO, I am sure that the shooters, mentioned in Wiki, had many other influences besides
Rage.  (This is a topic that I could write about all day but I am going to try to keep it short.  I have so many thoughts and opinions on this subject.)  My other thought on Rage is that this is a book for mature readers only. Weren't the parents/guardians of these young people paying attention to what they were doing at all?  There had to be some sort of red flag or sign that these troubled teens exhibited. The parents/guardians could have probably prevented these incidents from  happening at all.  To hold Rage fully responsible for these shootings is unreasonable.

Here's another question:  Do you feel that stopping publication will prevent it from possibly getting into the wrong hands in the future?  No, probably not because anyone wanting to read all of Stephen King's work will find a way to get it and read it.  Will I let my 12-13 year old read Rage anytime soon?  No, I will explain to him that he must wait until he is old enough to handle the themes in this novel.  This is a case of a few bad apples spoiling the bunch.  On a scale of 1-10, I give this novel an (8.5).

Stephen King's Keynote Address  

Reader feedback on this topic is greatly appreciated.  The question about Rage is one I have wanted to pose for weeks now but finally thought it over before writing about it.  (I may add more to this post in the future as I continue to mull over this topic.)

*Please post your thoughts or opinions on this or any other topic in comments.


  1. I understand why King decided to remove the book from print, even if I do not agree with the decision entirely. If I were an author and someone suggested that my work was even partially responsible for someones death, I'm not sure that I would act any different that King.

    That being said... will it make a difference? No. There are at least 8 English editions of The Bachman Books that I am aware of - many of which are currently selling for $10 and less on Amazon, a couple of the mass-markets are even lower at $0.01. This of course does not even include the original printing of Rage which is now commanding some insane prices. I think taking it out of print was more a symbolic gesture on King's part.

    Anyway, I thought the novel was amazing. Typical of King's work, the main plot points (the teacher getting shot, the students held hostage) are only the canvas on which he paints a realistic - if a bit chilling - study of group-think, Stockholm Syndrome, and the behavior of people under pressure. Every time I read it (along with The Long Walk I get goosebumps. It's brilliant and I find something new that I had missed, or a new way to look at a line in the story each time.

    I agree with the decision to hold off having a younger child read this book. Even in the later teenage years, it would take a mature kid and parent who read the book with them to be able to understand the deeper themes of the book and what King was trying to accomplish by writing it.

    I could write about this a bunch too... Good topic for the day.

  2. Some call me Tim:
    Thanks for contributing, your posts really add so much personal insight that get my wheels turning. I've been wanting to get back to this post, sorry it took me so long, there has been a lot going on here lately. I just wanted to add that'Rage' is one story that I plan to read over and over. SK's stories never let me down when it comes to shock value. This book had so much "weight" for such a short novel. Since you said that you get so much more after reading it again, I can't wait for the next read. Now I'm trying to come up with another question of the day. :)


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