Unintended Consequences

Unintended Consequences

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Unintended Consequences is a novel by John Ross
John Ross (author)
John Franklin Ross is the author of the underground bestselling novel Unintended Consequences, author of a regular column on the Internet, and was the Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in 1998 in Missouri's 2nd congressional district...

, first published in 1996 by Accurate Press. The story chronicles the history of the gun culture
Gun culture
The gun culture is a culture shared by people in the gun politics debate, generally those who advocate preserving gun rights and who are generally against more gun control...

, gun rights and gun control
Gun control
Gun control is any law, policy, practice, or proposal designed to restrict or limit the possession, production, importation, shipment, sale, and/or use of guns or other firearms by private citizens...

 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 from the early 1900s through the late 1990s. Although clearly a work of fiction
Fiction
Fiction is the form of any narrative or informative work that deals, in part or in whole, with information or events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary—that is, invented by the author. Although fiction describes a major branch of literary work, it may also refer to theatrical,...

, the story is heavily laced with historical information, including real-life historical figures who play minor supporting roles. The novel also features unusually detailed and intricate facts, figures and explanations of many firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

s-related topics. The cover has a picture of Lady Justice
Lady Justice
Lady Justice |Dike]]) is an allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems.-Depiction:The personification of justice balancing the scales of truth and fairness dates back to the Goddess Maat, and later Isis, of ancient Egypt. The Hellenic deities Themis and Dike were later...

 being assaulted by an ATF
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a federal law enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice...

 agent.

The novel is currently out of print
Out of print
Out of print refers to an item, typically a book , but can include any print or visual media or sound recording, that is in the state of no longer being published....

 but is widely available on the Internet via downloading torrents.

Background


The story hinges upon the enactment and subsequent unintended consequence
Unintended consequence
In the social sciences, unintended consequences are outcomes that are not the outcomes intended by a purposeful action. The concept has long existed but was named and popularised in the 20th century by American sociologist Robert K. Merton...

s of several important pieces of U.S. gun control legislation and regulation: the National Firearms Act
National Firearms Act
The National Firearms Act , 73rd Congress, Sess. 2, ch. 757, , enacted on June 26, 1934, currently codified as amended as , is an Act of Congress that, in general, imposes a statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain firearms and mandates the registration of those firearms. The...

 of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968
Gun Control Act of 1968
The Gun Control Act of 1968 , by president Lyndon Johnson, is a federal law in the United States that broadly regulates the firearms industry and firearms owners...

, the Firearm Owners Protection Act
Firearm Owners Protection Act
The Firearm Owners' Protection Act , , codified at et seq., is a United States federal law that revised many statutes in the Gun Control Act of 1968.-Federal Firearms License regulatory reform:...

 of 1986, the Assault Weapons Importation Ban enacted by Presidential executive order in 1989 and the Federal Assault Weapons Ban
Federal assault weapons ban
The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was a subtitle of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a federal law in the United States that included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms, so called "assault weapons"...

 of 1994.

Its thesis, as discussed in the Author's Note - A Warning and Disclaimer in the beginning of the book, is that enough bullying by what is widely perceived as a hostile occupation government will inevitably end in revolt if the occupied area is large enough and has a culture that is significantly different from the occupying state, and that this revolt will be undefeatable if the rebels use very low-tech "leaderless resistance
Leaderless resistance
Leaderless resistance, or phantom cell structure, is a political resistance strategy in which small, independent groups , including individuals , challenge an established adversary such as a government. Leaderless resistance can encompass anything from non-violent disruption and civil disobedience...

."

Major characters


Henry Bowman is the principal character, although the story begins in 1906, long before Bowman's birth on January 10, 1953. The story is told primarily from his perspective when he is in his early forties. Bowman grows up in the St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 area, where much of the story takes place. He is a trained geologist
Geologist
A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid and liquid matter that constitutes the Earth as well as the processes and history that has shaped it. Geologists usually engage in studying geology. Geologists, studying more of an applied science than a theoretical one, must approach Geology using...

, a self-taught expert marksman
Marksman
A marksman is a person who is skilled in precision, or a sharpshooter shooting, using projectile weapons, such as with a rifle but most commonly with a sniper rifle, to shoot at long range targets...

, a firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

s, ammunition
Ammunition
Ammunition is a generic term derived from the French language la munition which embraced all material used for war , but which in time came to refer specifically to gunpowder and artillery. The collective term for all types of ammunition is munitions...

, and self-defense
Self-defense
Self-defense, self-defence or private defense is a countermeasure that involves defending oneself, one's property or the well-being of another from physical harm. The use of the right of self-defense as a legal justification for the use of force in times of danger is available in many...

 authority, and a pilot. Bowman lives on a rural acreage near the St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 metropolitan area. There is an abandoned stone quarry
Quarry
A quarry is a type of open-pit mine from which rock or minerals are extracted. Quarries are generally used for extracting building materials, such as dimension stone, construction aggregate, riprap, sand, and gravel. They are often collocated with concrete and asphalt plants due to the requirement...

 on his land which Bowman uses for recreational shooting. Bowman, in the novel, enjoys owning performance automobiles and driving at high rates of speed on interstate highways. In one part of the novel, he races his hot-rodded GMC truck against a rival Porsche
Porsche
Porsche Automobil Holding SE, usually shortened to Porsche SE a Societas Europaea or European Public Company, is a German based holding company with investments in the automotive industry....

, with Bowman winning, driving in excess of 140MPH to win. Bowman also has several forged identities
Identity theft
Identity theft is a form of stealing another person's identity in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name...

 that he uses for various purposes in the novel. Bowman is a proficient skydiver.

Walter (Blackout) Bowman is Henry's father. A skilled pilot and U.S. Navy officer, who trained naval aviators during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant. He represents the studious, responsible and thoughtful side of the younger Bowman. The author has stated that the elder Bowman is based on his own father.

Max Collins is Bowman's uncle. He is portrayed as a larger-than life character who is an expert marksman, professional gambler and accomplished ladies' man. He served in the airborne troops of D-Day, and killed a German army officer in combat with his sniper rifle
Sniper rifle
In military and law enforcement terminology, a sniper rifle is a precision-rifle used to ensure more accurate placement of bullets at longer ranges than other small arms. A typical sniper rifle is built for optimal levels of accuracy, fitted with a telescopic sight and chambered for a military...

. In the novel, at a 1960's Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

 shooting competition, he bets on his nephew Henry's shooting, winning $10,000. He represents the adventurous, spontaneous and aggressive side of Henry Bowman. The author has stated that Collins is based on his own uncle.

Irwin Mann is a survivor of The Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 and the Warsaw Ghetto
Warsaw Ghetto
The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all Jewish Ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. It was established in the Polish capital between October and November 15, 1940, in the territory of General Government of the German-occupied Poland, with over 400,000 Jews from the vicinity...

, and a key participant in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the Jewish resistance that arose within the Warsaw Ghetto in German occupied Poland during World War II, and which opposed Nazi Germany's effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to Treblinka extermination camp....

. His inclusion in the story permits a study of the use of firearms by average citizens to repel an oppressive government, and connects Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 gun control measures to U.S. gun control efforts.

Ray Johnson is a New York attorney, originally from Aspen, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, who moves to Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 in 1963 and becomes a big-game safari guide. His return to the U.S. in 1994 serves to illustrate how much U.S. gun owners' freedoms have been eroded, due to legislation and an executive order enacted during his absence. At the airport, the customs officials attempt to confiscate an English double rifle
Double rifle
A double-barreled rifle or double rifle is a type of sporting rifle with two barrels instead of one, available in eitherside-by-side or over-and-under barrel configurations. Double rifles are one of the family of combination guns...

 worth some US$40,000, a Belgian FN FAL
FN FAL
The Fusil Automatique Léger or FAL is a self-loading, selective fire battle rifle produced by the Belgian armaments manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de Herstal . During the Cold War it was adopted by many North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries, with the notable exception of the United States...

 semi-automatic rifle, a Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson is the largest manufacturer of handguns in the United States. The corporate headquarters is in Springfield, Massachusetts. Founded in 1852, Smith & Wesson's pistols and revolvers have become standard issue to police and armed forces throughout the world...

 2" Chief's Special revolver, and his hat which wears a leopard skin hat band. Ray calls his friend Henry, and Henry calls in a favor with a friend who is a high-ranking agent of Customs. Ray is allowed to keep his firearms and enter the United States.

Allen Kane is a major machine gun dealer who is Henry's lifelong friend. A major shift in the novel's plot occurs when Henry finds corrupt ATF agents framing Allen, himself, and another firearms dealer. Allen aids and accompanies Henry in much of the novel.

Cindy Caswell is a victim of childhood abuse
Child abuse
Child abuse is the physical, sexual, emotional mistreatment, or neglect of a child. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Children And Families define child maltreatment as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or...

 and organized crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

 who becomes important in the freedom struggle as it develops. She is from Rolla, Missouri
Rolla, Missouri
Rolla is a city in Phelps County, Missouri, United States, midway between the larger cities of St. Louis and Springfield along I-44. The population in the 2010 United States Census was 19,559.It is the county seat of Phelps County...

. She is abducted by mafia
Mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

 thugs during a trip to Chicago, Illinois, who force her to become a sex slave for mafia bosses and leaders. After several years, she escapes and meets Henry Bowman at an Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international mutual aid movement which says its "primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety." Now claiming more than 2 million members, AA was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio...

 meeting. She assassinates many pro-gun control and big-government politicians and legislators in the novel. The author has been criticized for creating an "adolescent fantasy" with this character. Ten years after writing the novel, Ross met Tammy Chapman, whose early life shares a resemblance to that of the fictional Caswell. Ross and Chapman now live together in St. Louis.

Plot summary


The novel's protagonist, Henry Bowman, shows an early proficiency with firearms, practicing whenever he can find the time. Encouraged by his father, he gathers an impressive firearms collection and gains extensive experience in piloting small aircraft. During college, Bowman is robbed, beaten, and sodomized by a rural gang
Gang
A gang is a group of people who, through the organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage, share a common identity. In current usage it typically denotes a criminal organization or else a criminal affiliation. In early usage, the word gang referred to a group of workmen...

. The incident nearly destroys him and causes him to become an alcoholic for a period.

While at a gun show
Gun show
A gun show is a temporary exhibition or gathering in the United States where firearms, firearm accessories, ammunition, literature, knives, jerky, militaria, and miscellaneous collectibles are displayed, bought, sold, traded, and discussed. Gun shows also often include exhibitions related to...

 in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, with friend Allen Kane, Bowman publicly embarrasses an agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a federal law enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice...

 (ATF), Wilson Blair. One of Blair's men was trying to trick and entrap a fellow firearms dealer. Blair takes the offense personally, and with the support of the ATF's director, begins to plan revenge. Several years later, Blair and subordinate agents of the ATF plan to frame Henry and his friends as terrorists, smugglers, and counterfeiters. They plan to plant "evidence" when the men are away on vacation. Unbeknownst to Blair, Bowman delays his departure at the last minute due to a work commitment, and is on a friends' property when the agents arrive. Bowman assumes the agents are burglars and engages in a gun battle with them, killing or capturing all and in the process discovering the truth about the raid.

Bowman realizes that his life has been irrevocably changed. He makes Blair record a video taped confession of his illegal actions, then kills Blair and disposes of all forensic evidence of the agents' presence. Afterwards, he hunts down and kills Blair's remaining subordinates. Bowman and his closest friends begin to systematically kill ATF agents around the nation - whom Bowman views as supporting the infringement of citizen's constitutional rights, and abusing government powers - as well as politicians who had supported unconstitutional gun control legislation. Simultaneously Bowman releases the video tape of Blair to CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, which claims that Blair and his companions have had a change of heart, realize what they are doing is wrong, and are now dedicated to killing other ATF agents. Amidst the national search for Blair and company, Bowman continues to rack up the body count.

Eventually, as the ATF and FBI are unable to effectively track down those responsible for the killings, the President of the United States is forced to give an address to the nation relating his intent to repeal the unconstitutional laws including the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968.

Fictionalized accounts of historical events


The story contains several fictionalized accounts of real-life historical events. The author inserts fictional characters, dialog and the unspoken thoughts of real persons into these events. These events are not merely used as settings or backdrops for the action in the novel; instead, detailed treatments of some of these events occupy dozens of pages. In particular, the following events are featured prominently:
  • Bonus Army March
    Bonus Army
    The Bonus Army was the popular name of an assemblage of some 43,000 marchers—17,000 World War I veterans, their families, and affiliated groups—who gathered in Washington, D.C., in the spring and summer of 1932 to demand immediate cash-payment redemption of their service certificates...

     on Washington, DC (1932)
  • Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
    Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
    The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the Jewish resistance that arose within the Warsaw Ghetto in German occupied Poland during World War II, and which opposed Nazi Germany's effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to Treblinka extermination camp....

     (1943)
  • Ken Ballew raid
    Ken Ballew raid
    The Ken Ballew raid was a June 7, 1971 federal raid on the home of Kenyon F. Ballew which became a cause célèbre in the debates between advocates of gun control and advocates of gun owner rights in the United States.-Investigation:...

     (1971)
  • MOVE
    MOVE
    MOVE or the MOVE Organization is a Philadelphia-based black liberation group founded by John Africa. MOVE was described by CNN as "a loose-knit, mostly black group whose members all adopted the surname Africa, advocated a "back-to-nature" lifestyle and preached against technology." The group...

     raid in Philadelphia
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Philadelphia County, with which it is coterminous. The city is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. It is the fifth-most-populous city in the United States,...

     (1985)
  • FBI shootout
    FBI Miami shootout, 1986
    The 1986 FBI Miami shootout was a gun battle that occurred on April 11, 1986 in an unincorporated region of Miami-Dade County in south Florida between eight Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and two serial bank robbers. During the firefight, Special Agents Jerry L. Dove and Benjamin P. Grogan...

     in Miami
    Miami, Florida
    Miami is a city located on the Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida and the county seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida and the eighth-most populous county in the United States with a population of 2,500,625...

     (1986)
  • John Lawmaster raid in Tulsa (ATF) (1991)
  • Ruby Ridge
    Ruby Ridge
    Ruby Ridge was the site of a violent confrontation and siege in northern Idaho in 1992. It involved Randy Weaver, his family, Weaver's friend Kevin Harris, and agents of the United States Marshals Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation...

     incident in Idaho
    Idaho
    Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

     (1992)
  • Waco Siege
    Waco Siege
    The Waco siege began on February 28, 1993, and ended violently 50 days later on April 19. The siege began when the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch at Mount Carmel, a property located east-northeast of Waco,...

     (1993)
  • Oklahoma City bombing
    Oklahoma City bombing
    The Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. It was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Oklahoma blast claimed 168 lives, including 19...

     (1995)

Publication and reception


The book is out of print in its hardcover
Hardcover
A hardcover, hardback or hardbound is a book bound with rigid protective covers...

 form. The hardcover
Hardcover
A hardcover, hardback or hardbound is a book bound with rigid protective covers...

 edition is available for used purchase. The novel has sold over 60,000 copies over four printings. The author's web site states that he is working on a shorter sequel that was originally scheduled for publication in 2006. However, this sequel has not yet been released.

Timothy McVeigh Controversy


Timothy McVeigh
Timothy McVeigh
Timothy James McVeigh was a United States Army veteran and security guard who detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995...

 read the novel while awaiting his trial for the Oklahoma City bombing
Oklahoma City bombing
The Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. It was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Oklahoma blast claimed 168 lives, including 19...

. He loved the book, and noted that if it had come out a few years earlier, he would have given serious consideration to using sniper attacks in a war of attrition
Attrition warfare
Attrition warfare is a military strategy in which a belligerent side attempts to win a war by wearing down its enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and matériel....

 against the government instead of bombing a federal building:

John Ross has posted a response to Timothy McVeigh's comments on his website:

Sources


External links