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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 07:47 pm (UTC)
LOVE the 'Ramses' quote. I'm about to start re-reading these.

Rationally, I think one's chances of being shot at a con in the US are remote, but I don't like the combination of weapons and animosity and I certainly think one is right to contemplate it as a possibility. I think the US has a problem with gun fetishism, entitlement, and a religious culture which treats non-religious items, such as the constitution, as theological texts (so they can't be changed, even though the name 'amendment' suggests that they can!). There are enough of these elements in the Puppies to be worrying.
Oct. 25th, 2015 02:44 pm (UTC)
I would think the same thing, Liz, except that two weeks before ArmadilloCon, the downtown Omni had someone walk in with a semi-automatic rifle over their shoulder. The initial report was that the cops couldn't do anything about that--open carry. He had to start shooting for them to be able to return fire. A cabbie died in the shooting (and I am grateful that local news highlighted the loss of this fine man, and not the shooter. They are interested in giving shooter history mostly.) But why did he go off the rails?

This upset me worse than most random shootings (dear universe, there are so many random shootings in this country) because the big Austin SF convention was held in this Omni's sister holding in south Austin two weeks later--and the shooter was a young, white techie. I wonder if he was subject to mania or was he recently prescribed an SSRI. But have not heard more on the story. But note the connection to the incubator, which is news to me. This was his place of work!


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