Authenticity vs. Reality vs. Story

A friend of mine just ran up against the fact that the research questions he was asking for an Unconventional Warfare story may or may not have run up against the brick wall labeled “Classified.”  As in, “You’re not supposed to know the answers to those questions, let alone put them in a book.  Stop asking.”  This got me thinking about a few things I’ve run up against as an author over the last few years.

“Do-Something-ism” and Societal Childishness

“Jack,” Trent said, “When I was fourteen I was a man.  Had to be.  Well, it looks like your father dying has made you a man, too. “I’m giving you this Sharps.  She’s an old gun, but she shoots straight.  I’m not giving this gun to a boy, but to a man, and a man doesn’t ever use a gun unless he has to.  He never wastes lead shooting carelessly.  He shoots only when he has to, and when he can see what it is he’s shootin’ at. “This gun is a present with no strings attached except that any man who takes up a gun accepts responsibility for what he does with it.  Use it to hunt game, for target practice, or in defense of your home or those you love. “Keep it loaded always.  A gun’s no good to a man when it’s empty, and if it is settin’ around, people aren’t liable to handle it carelessly.  They’ll say, ‘That’s Jack Moffit’s gun, and it’s always loaded.’  It is the guns people think are unloaded that cause accidents.” Louis L’Amour, The Mountain Valley War This isn’t just about guns or the current uproar over the reaction to the