Humans in the Wild: Reactions to a Gun Loving Country is a collection of flash fiction, poetry, art, personal essays and short stories about the many faces of gun violence, and how Americans grapple with over 15,000 deaths recorded by the Gun Violence Archive last year (2019) alone.
In the advent of Coronavirus, the number of mass shootings have sharply fallen; however, the pandemic has escalated racial tension, mental health issues, poverty and other systemic problems that create a perfect storm for either needing or running from guns.
A collection of over 30 works explore that tension from the point of view of teachers, soldiers, suburbanites, boys and girls, and sometimes the shooters themselves. They duck and cover in stories with titles like “Thoughts and Prayers” and “Balancing the Scales of Justice”.
Readers will identify with gut wrenching tales of parents, numb as they watch their child’s school fall into mayhem on T.V. They will identify with a protagonist rotting in jail for self-defense, a grief stricken man holding hostages at gunpoint, or the scared lady who frightens off a shooter by throwing a jar of loose change.
There are heroes, snipers, thieves and innocent bystanders — all demanding to know, in their own unique way, why the world is so messed up, and if it can ever be repaired.
And while some may pick up this book, thinking it’s an indictment of firearms, they are proved wrong by some of the poems and essays that acknowledge just how seductive guns can be.
Behind the smell of gun powder in these pages, are human admonitions of guilt over feeling the last mass shooting is just another Tuesday. The stories include those of reluctant, shell shocked teachers venting about the next active shooter drill — and not without droll humor.
This anthology was sponsored by MythicPicnic, an indispensable writers resource on Twitter. Friends of the “Twitterary” magazine include the author Kathy Fish, whose flash fiction, “Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild” is the backbone of this book, and motivated many other talented writers and artists to answer Mythic Picnic/Swallow Publishing’s call for submissions.