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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

(Deleted comment)
alfreda89
Oct. 25th, 2015 02:56 pm (UTC)
There are recorded instances of individuals who idolize serial killers and "famous" killers and seek to emulate them, to stand out for one brief instance, even for such a reason.

It's part of the reason I probably won't recognize an incident by the name of the killer. I mentally erase them. I remember those who died.

The book The Gift of Fear has some interesting information on this. I recommend it to everyone.
sheilagh
Oct. 31st, 2015 04:08 am (UTC)
saw an essay recently, not sure if I can find the link again. correlated "young men who cannot find mates, get angry, violent, terroristical" across various cultures, including the middle East and also GG here in the States.

I don't think it tied in IRA in the 1970s, but that seems like a possible fit for the pattern, too. These young men are *flipped out* that they "deserve" mates *of their choice* and instead cannot get ANY mate (unless for pay, and that's currently illegal most places).

Underemployment might've been a compounding factor, as well, but I'm less certain of that part. Which would make for-hire sex largely out of reach, as well.

I may be inserting this bit in my memory because of an entomological fascination with PUAs, but I think Pick Up Artists and their verbal manipulation games to gain sex-contact might've been mentioned, too. PUA tactics don't work for everyone, so those frustrated by failure in that realm may be even angrier seeing demographically similar men succeeding in this Holy Grail quest of sex on demand with hot chicks.

Better employment opportunities, and legal prostitution (safe for ALL parties) are easier steps to fixing this than directly addressing how revoltingly UNsexxy these dudes are.
la_marquise_de_
Nov. 2nd, 2015 11:29 am (UTC)
Poverty, exclusion and discrimination definitely contribute to radicalisation, I think. And I think the culture we have in the west that objectifies women as consumer objects is a big factor in pick-up artist culture and the way some men seem to see us as something they have a right too, rather than as people in our own right.

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