February 6, 2015

Gun stored in book reveals exciting new use for books: gun storage containers


via the Ellsworth American

via the Ellsworth American

Last week, we used the case of self-described asshole Tucker Max’s shift into bro-entrepreneurialism to ask an important question: what purpose do books serve?

The answer, according to Max’s enterprise, is that books are great for promoting your business. They are basically business cards, except heavier, more durable, and marginally more substantive.

But do books have other uses besides self-promotion? Why, yes, they do! After all, books make any t-shirt significantly more sophisticated, and they can enhance the credibility of any movie trailer (even if their titles are spelled wrong), and they can even, on occasion, protect people from death.

That’s already quite an impressive list, but we recently learned of yet another use for books. They provide an excellent way to store guns!

Our story takes us to coastal Maine. Before last week, the town of Ellsworth was not known for its book-shaped gun storage containers. It was, instead, far better known for the all-ages fun one can have at Timber Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack Show and the excellent antique shopping at the Big Chicken Barn.

And then there was the incident at the Ellsworth Goodwill. The Ellsworth American can tell this story much better we can. And it’s a hell of a story:

On Friday, an employee at the store called police to report that a donation of books had been received and that one of the books “didn’t feel right.”

Upon inspection, the book was found to be hollow and to contain a gun inside.

The gun is a .31-caliber, black powder pistol that was apparently made by Italian gun manufacturer Armi San Marco, which reportedly made replica period firearms in the second half of the 20th century . . .

The “book” that the gun is stored in, as it turns out, is not really a book at all. It looks like a book from the outside, and even has the title of a real book on its spine: Den of Lions, by Associated Press journalist Terry Anderson.

The book is about Anderson’s experiences being held hostage by Hezbollah in Lebanon from 1985 to 1991.

Rather than tell Anderson’s story, however, this “book” was specifically designed for storage. According to a sticker on the inside cover, it was fashioned by Knox’s Fort Box in Jonesboro, Ark.

While the employees of the Ellsworth Goodwill (and, presumably, some of the town’s citizens) may have been alarmed at this news, we at MobyLives couldn’t be more thrilled. Here, after all, is a thrilling new use for books! And indeed, as we discovered after digging around in . . . our own archives, it’s not even that new. In 2012, we wrote about a similar incident that occurred in a library in Valparaiso, Indiana, which means books have served as gun storage containers for at least two and a half years.

All of which is to say that the future for books is very bright indeed. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has argued that books must compete with apps, but tell us this, Jeff: can Candy Crush conceal an extraordinarily dangerous weapon? Can Cookie Jam provide advertising for a company that designs “pop-up retail experiences” [sic]? The answer is no, Jeff. They can’t.

Books! They’re very useful. Really.


Mark Krotov is senior editor at Melville House.