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Guns and cons (but no rock and roll).

Let's start with a link. I'll wait while you go and read it: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/10/18/shooter_opens_fire_at_fort_myers_florida_zombiecon.html?wpisrc=burger_bar

This is scary. Someone was killed at Zombiecon by someone who turned up and started shooting.
This time, for the first time ever, I looked up what the gun laws were for the place where worldcon was to be held, because some of the things that had been said in the run-up to it by some of the puppy-allies were seriously scary. I didn't enjoy that feeling, nor did I enjoy feeling I needed to know. Fan space isn't necessarily safe space -- indeed, often it isn't safe. But this is an added level of anxiety, which had begun for me two years earlier and is one of the reasons I didn't go to LoneStarCon. I come from a culture in which guns are rare and controlled. I'm outspoken, female and left wing -- very left wing by US standards. Texas feels scary to me (well, some parts of it do).
In the run-up to Sasquan, someone -- I forget who, and don't have the link to had -- called for worldcons in future only to be held in open carry states. Someone else threatened to hit anyone who dared to find his views frightening. That same person stated that he will only accept foreigners who agree with him that the US is the greatest country in the world and who place its interests above everything else.
I've had issues with sexual harassment and misogyny in fandom for years. I've witnessed incidents of homophobia, transphobia and racism at cons. I've witnessed one psychotic breakdown (the concom and site handled it well and with compassion for all involved) and many crises. I've twice been seriously assaulted in fan space and I've long lost track of the minor incidents. SFF has a long way to go. But until the puppies appeared, I've never worried about guns.
SFF is bigger than right wing gun lovers. It's bigger than US exceptionalists. It belongs to all of us, whatever our race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, whether we're cis or trans, old or young, rich or poor. My fanspace has room for everyone, even the puppies (though I'd prefer they left their guns at the door, for everyone's safety).
Yesterday, someone opened fire at a cosplay event.
I don't want this to happen on another day at an sff con. If you'd asked me about this a few years ago, I'd have said, 'That'll never happen.' Now... I know I'm not alone in feeling afraid. I know I wasn't alone in worrying in the run-up to Sasquan.
But here's the thing. This whole deal with guns is part of the US culture war. SFF does not belong to any one country, any one creed or race or gender or whatever. It's bigger than that.
And I want the culture war out of our space.

Skirt of the day: blue flags.


Oct. 18th, 2015 07:12 pm (UTC)
It gets worse. They are talking about open carry on campuses. Allowing students--away from home for the first time, stressed, sometimes isolated and feeling out of the school culture--to carry guns.

I honestly don't know where I can go live, at this point. I am too old to emigrate unless my money situation balloons. Right now I am trapped here for a couple of months, and then possibly heading for a state as bad as the one I am living in.

Yet the alternative might be isolation in New England somewhere. I would probably have continuous problems with my arthritis, a souvenir of The Life, Interrupted illness, but less chance of being caught in a shoot out? But then we have the Boston Marathon. Danger is everywhere.

But we now are measuring how dangerous on some private point scale. A friend reminds me that media makes it seem more dangerous than it is. Yes, perhaps. But when I must weigh if a convention is worth running into the age group most likely to go ballistic....

I don't go to the convention. Sigh. I feel as if a very vocal minority are keeping the majority in fear. Unless the Internet starts policing trolls (and some Internet sites think trolls both keep things lively, and see more ads=make site more money)I see people retreating behind firewalls.

I wish you could have come to Lone Star Con. But I would not advise a young woman who might have a problem pregnancy to move to Texas, either. It's not like I don't see the problems. The burden of vision. But I am outvoted by the old and fearful, and the young who fear change means less for them.
Oct. 19th, 2015 04:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, Kathy, that's so difficult. I am sending you good thoughts. I just hope some president soon faces up to this and imposes real gun control.
Much love.
Oct. 25th, 2015 02:29 pm (UTC)
It gives me hope that so many people are making friends across International boundaries. If enough people realize that life can be better, safer, then maybe we can work toward it.

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