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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.

Comments

joycemocha
Oct. 19th, 2015 06:26 am (UTC)
As you probably know from my posts, I own guns and am a hunter. This year, I think I could easily tell the difference between a gun crazy and someone reasonable out in the woods (it helps to be hunting in a rather isolated area which so far is not that attractive to the 1% who are gun wannabees). I don't think things are as weird as the media is making it to be...but then again, I'm in a place where a weapon in a truck's gun rack is normal. I don't see handguns in open carry except for police officers, and the locals have a badge prominently displayed when they're off-duty (much, much weirdness happening on that front but things are getting resolved).

All the same, I won't hunt in an area close to an urban center. Too many wannabees. I have stated in many places that in my opinion, open carry (outside of rifles and shotguns used for hunting) is the refuge of someone who can't pass a concealed carry class. Interestingly, I've yet to be challenged on that front. Let's just say, I've taken a concealed carry class and passed it. The bar is rather low, and...I see no good reason for open carry. When I was teaching, I opposed the idea of teachers carrying in class, for several good reasons involving security of the weapon. I think most of the drama is happening in higher population areas (Roseburg is...Roseburg. There are stories. My parents lived there in the early 50s. I have a high school classmate living there now. I would not live in Roseburg, but I live part-time in a very small rural Eastern Oregon community 190 miles due south from Spokane.)

(And yes. This is one leftist who's armed. In hunting season, at least. Here that takes me through January 31st for grouse, chukar, and Hungarian partridge. Husband has tags for bear and cougar, which takes him through November and December, as well as bird tags. Outside of hunting season, I'm not likely to be carrying unless I'm plinking and shooting squirrels).
la_marquise_de_
Oct. 19th, 2015 04:31 pm (UTC)
I know several people who own guns and in all cases, you are responsible people for whom the guns are tools with a use. Which is fine with me. I can't imagine you ever being one of the scary people. It's the wannabes who are the thing that scare me.
joycemocha
Oct. 20th, 2015 12:55 am (UTC)
The wannabes are why I won't hunt close to an urban center. They're scary and dangerous.
alfreda89
Oct. 25th, 2015 02:48 pm (UTC)
I am a deep lover of venison and elk, and if I lived in a rural community, I am sure I would learn how to hunt my own meals. In a way, the radical arm of the NRA has stolen that group from the hunters of this country.

Glad that you are safe. All this has me reconsidering getting a concealed carry license. The crazies in Texas are spiking their craziness.

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