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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. 20th, 2015 07:24 pm (UTC)
Well said. I can't think of much to add, except that I get less and less keen about visiting the States. On the other hand, as people have said, nowhere is actually safe. I work in London and commute via King's Cross, but just happened not to be in on 7/7. I worked in London in the '80s and '90s when the IRA were active. We arrived in Ankara last week on the same day as the latest atrocity. You can get run over crossing the road. In any world, you assess the potential risks and do what you can to avoid them. Any convention which allowed people to bring in guns would be one to avoid, I think.
Oct. 20th, 2015 08:04 pm (UTC)
Yes, this. I'll not stop using the tube, or going to cons (even in USA) because of a small chance of some crazed ideologue kicking off. And whatever precautions we take, we're all going to wind up dead far sooner than we'd like. So I'd like to do some living first.
Oct. 25th, 2015 02:53 pm (UTC)

We can't stop living. We can only assess the risks. If a convention does not have a policy on sexual harassment, I am not interested in going. Now if it does not have a strict ban on weapons (peace bonding isn't gonna cut it anymore) I won't be going.

It's traditional to vote with our currency. Problem is, crazies will bankrupt themselves sending to the NRA.

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