The Little Gold Colt: There Are No Accidental Shootings

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About Thomas Pluck

Thomas Pluck writes unflinching fiction with heart.
He is the author of the action thriller Blade of Dishonor, and Steel Heart: 10 Tales of Crime and Suspense. His work has appeared in The Utne Reader, Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Burnt Bridge, PANK Magazine, McSweeney's, The Morning News, Beat to a Pulp, and numerous anthologies. He is also the editor of Protectors: Stories to Benefit PROTECT.
You can find him on the web at and Twitter as @tommysalami
And all his articles for GMP can be read here.


  1. Fortunately I live in a country where guns are illegal.

    So the worst that I have done is strangled another man until he passed out, and the worst that has happened to me is coming round in a puddle of my own blood.

    But really we should protect little boys from violence, so that we never develop the fear of violence which drives us to commit violence in “self defense.” It is not self defense if I start a fight, then get violent to “defend” myself.

    • Violence happens without guns too. Guns require a stable mind and major respect. I like guns and would like to own some one day to go target shooting (paper or cans, etc) but I am quite happy to have them stored with a third party for safety if needed, like a community armory for the sport shooters. The existence of guns does not create crime though, it’s the bad situations that occur in a life such as drugs, abuse, etc.

  2. It is heartbreaking that your broken home led to such feelings of fear and that those feelings, along with the emotional violence of your father, led you to believe (even if only for a time) that you had something to prove. To your father, to yourself, to the world? Guns can often be a dangerous tool in the hands of those carrying the baggage of abuse. Your experience speaks volumes to our country’s need for more stable and loving homes. Straight, gay, platonic, doesn’t matter – but a home free from abuse, from fear and violence, a home that demonstrates dignity and respect, is a home that makes gun ownership about true protection should it be needed and not a terrible mistake waiting to happen. I don’t know if you are a father yourself, but if you are, I bet you are a damn good one. Not many men could have this much introspection. Great article.

  3. Salvice says:

    I hope you aren’t so hard on yourself anymore.

  4. Thanks for this fine and courageous piece.

  5. Valerie K says:

    My husband died in February, and was very much a victim of this masculine culture. He came from an abusive family situation, and beat his first wife and family (unbeknownst to me.) He actually overcame his need to be an abuser, but he always had the fear, until his dying day. I found five loaded guns around the house after he died…guns I thought were locked up and secure. Thank you, Thomas, for your honesty and courage, and your window into this tragic dynamic.


  1. [...] essay “The Little Gold Colt,” about fear, guns, and the struggle for manhood, is up at The Good Men Project [...]

  2. [...] not to have. And I’ve seen enough scared, often short or slight or nonathletic, men stroking talismans they think will protect them from the boogeymen in their heads to know that’s a big part of the problem, too. (Cause, they [...]

  3. […] The Little Gold Colt: There Are No Accidental Shootings […]

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