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Imagine a Future Free from Gun Violence

Stay Informed

Imagine a Future Free from Gun Violence

Disarming Discoveries: How I Wrote a Book and Joined a Cause

[The following is a guest blog post by author Seth Kaufman]

Nuns with Guns CoverIf you had asked me two weeks ago, I’d have said I was an author, not an activist.

But with the recent publication of my novel, “Nuns with Guns,” the lines have become a bit blurred.

Let me start with the book. “Nuns with Guns” tells the story of a foul-mouthed Hollywood producer Rick Salter, who, incensed by gun violence, launches a reality TV show—called “Nuns with Guns,” of course—that follows four Catholic sisters as they compete to collect the most firearm donations. The show becomes an instant smash hit. As Rick says, “Who doesn’t love nuns?”

It turns out, though, a slew of pro-gun organizations don’t love these nuns one bit. There’s a right-wing backlash, a boycott and, eventually, death threats. Despite all that, the ratings climb higher, driven by the charismatic nuns—and the chilling specter of death that looms over every episode.

I had written about Rick Salter in a previous book about a hit reality show that featured contestants being tortured, “The King of Pain.” But I never expected to write about him again.

A few months after the horrifying and senseless Sandy Hook tragedy, it became clear Congress would not ban semiautomatic assault weapons. Upset and depressed, I asked myself, what would crazy Rick Salter do to publicize the need for increased gun safety? How would he battle the proliferation of guns and stop the madness? The three-word answer came to me in an instant. I put two other book projects on hold and started Nuns with Guns’ long journey into print.

The day before Nuns with Guns came out, Radaronline, an entertainment news site that covers a lot of reality TV, posted an article about the book. “The year’s best new reality show concept is actually a book!” the headline proclaimed.

The accompanying article called Nuns “as hilarious as it sounds…a hysterical yet timely book.”

That’s the kind of rave writers dream of getting. One day later, a friend sent me a link to gun-loving website, “The Truth About Guns,” that had spotted the same article. That site didn’t love Nuns with Guns at all, and criticized the very title of book. I violated my rule about never reading user comments and was greeted by scoffing and snarky attacks, and one truly vile anti-Semitic rant.

I’m not going to repeat that hate speech. But those posts reminded me that with Nuns with Guns I set out to write an entertaining, funny, disturbing novel that exposes the insanity, danger, delusion and greed surrounding gun sales in America, and that there’s clearly a long way to go until common sense prevails.

It also made me think one other thing.

Maybe I am an activist.

Add your opinion

The Discussion

  • Helen: June 8, 2016 8:14 pm

    I will definitely read you book. Most of my family (cousins, my mother, my sister and two brothers were taught by nuns and we all understand the truth about not being able to say no to a nun. I had two aunts who were nuns and still find the nuns I meet some of the most effective activists in their own way.

    I agree with Tim regarding the increase of extremism of the negative and violent kind. And then there is the focus on math and science in our school rather than ethics, sound logic, and the arts.


  • Tim: March 14, 2016 10:29 am

    I will check out your book. It sounds very funny! I think there has been an increase in extremism lately.



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