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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 09:22 pm (UTC)
Here is a handy map from the Wall Street Journal, dated August 2014, of open carry states. I find it shocking: http://blogs.wsj.com/numbers/map-where-is-open-carry-legal-1715/. Thank god California forbids it, but it makes me feel sure that I don't want to go to the Kansas City Worldcon. Because this is going to escalate, I fear.

How has this gun culture become so toxic in my lifetime? What can I do to change my government's mind? The NRA lobby is insanely powerful.
Oct. 18th, 2015 09:53 pm (UTC)
I don't think this is totally up to date, sadly, because Open Carry is now allowed in Texas. I had no clue that *most* states allow this. The growth of the NRA mirrors the growth of reactionary right-wing radio. The Internet, the thing that we hoped might allow us to become more open to people different from us, has allowed narrow-minded left and right wing groups to find each other.

Heard that were are going to re-focus on domestic terrorism. Good.

Edited at 2015-10-25 02:32 pm (UTC)
Oct. 19th, 2015 04:27 pm (UTC)
I hope it doesn't escalate, but, like you, I don't understand the culture. Guns aren't freedom. They're almost the antithesis if true freedom: they are symbols of the might over right.

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