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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. 19th, 2015 03:22 pm (UTC)
D: about the shooting and the guns. This is terrifying.

SFF does not belong to any one country
Thank you for this. As someone who is not from an English-speaking country, online SFF can be a very odd place to be in.

I've learned the hard way not to mention Fantômette or Yoko Tsuno as my childhood heroines because no one would know who I was talking about, but often someone will drop a reference to a (often childhood) book everyone's read and no, sorry, I haven't read that. When English-speaking kids were reading Narnia and Animorphs and the Dark is Rising (that's a thing, right?), I was reading Tara Duncan and Ewilan and Le Livre des Etoiles.

I'm not saying my readings were better, because they're not. I'm saying my banlieue kids becoming alchemists (Le Grimoire d'Arkandias) are just as valid as Harry Potter, that my brother's Chevaliers d'Emeraude are just as valid as other people's Young Wizards. My grief over never finding out what would happen after Les Âmes Croisées is just as valid as my grief over never getting to read more Discworld.

It would be nice if more people would acknowledge that English-speaking SFF is not the be all and end all of SFF, is what I'm saying.

Okay, who did I borrow this soapbox from?
Oct. 19th, 2015 04:34 pm (UTC)
Please, continue on the soapbox: this matters! I am too old to have met Tsuno at the right age, but I read La Rose de Versailles in French and it's a seminal text for me.
Let's hear it for an sff that's as wide as inclusive as it possibly can be.
I need to read Le Grimoire d'Arkandias: it sounds wonderful. Off to Amazon.fr right away!
Oct. 20th, 2015 07:13 pm (UTC)
Ahem. I spent four years of my childhood in a French colony, and Fantomette was one of my heroines too. Just saying you're not alone.

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