la_marquise: (Caspian)
[personal profile] la_marquise
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.

Date: 2015-10-18 07:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alfreda89.livejournal.com
It gets worse. They are talking about open carry on campuses. Allowing students--away from home for the first time, stressed, sometimes isolated and feeling out of the school culture--to carry guns.

I honestly don't know where I can go live, at this point. I am too old to emigrate unless my money situation balloons. Right now I am trapped here for a couple of months, and then possibly heading for a state as bad as the one I am living in.

Yet the alternative might be isolation in New England somewhere. I would probably have continuous problems with my arthritis, a souvenir of The Life, Interrupted illness, but less chance of being caught in a shoot out? But then we have the Boston Marathon. Danger is everywhere.

But we now are measuring how dangerous on some private point scale. A friend reminds me that media makes it seem more dangerous than it is. Yes, perhaps. But when I must weigh if a convention is worth running into the age group most likely to go ballistic....

I don't go to the convention. Sigh. I feel as if a very vocal minority are keeping the majority in fear. Unless the Internet starts policing trolls (and some Internet sites think trolls both keep things lively, and see more ads=make site more money)I see people retreating behind firewalls.

I wish you could have come to Lone Star Con. But I would not advise a young woman who might have a problem pregnancy to move to Texas, either. It's not like I don't see the problems. The burden of vision. But I am outvoted by the old and fearful, and the young who fear change means less for them.

Date: 2015-10-19 04:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/la_marquise_de_/
Oh, Kathy, that's so difficult. I am sending you good thoughts. I just hope some president soon faces up to this and imposes real gun control.
Much love.

Date: 2015-10-25 02:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alfreda89.livejournal.com
It gives me hope that so many people are making friends across International boundaries. If enough people realize that life can be better, safer, then maybe we can work toward it.

Date: 2015-10-18 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com
I think, unfortunately, that this is a potential issue anywhere in the US, regardless of open carry. We don't have open carry where I live, but we do have a lot of gun violence.

Date: 2015-10-18 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] athenais.livejournal.com
Here is a handy map from the Wall Street Journal, dated August 2014, of open carry states. I find it shocking: http://blogs.wsj.com/numbers/map-where-is-open-carry-legal-1715/. Thank god California forbids it, but it makes me feel sure that I don't want to go to the Kansas City Worldcon. Because this is going to escalate, I fear.

How has this gun culture become so toxic in my lifetime? What can I do to change my government's mind? The NRA lobby is insanely powerful.

Date: 2015-10-18 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alfreda89.livejournal.com
I don't think this is totally up to date, sadly, because Open Carry is now allowed in Texas. I had no clue that *most* states allow this. The growth of the NRA mirrors the growth of reactionary right-wing radio. The Internet, the thing that we hoped might allow us to become more open to people different from us, has allowed narrow-minded left and right wing groups to find each other.

Heard that were are going to re-focus on domestic terrorism. Good.
Edited Date: 2015-10-25 02:32 pm (UTC)

Date: 2015-10-19 04:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/la_marquise_de_/
I hope it doesn't escalate, but, like you, I don't understand the culture. Guns aren't freedom. They're almost the antithesis if true freedom: they are symbols of the might over right.

Date: 2015-10-19 12:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dancinghorse.livejournal.com
Clicked the link (been working all day), and sure enough. Florida. (Said in much the same tone as, in Elizabeth Peters, one says "Ramses.")

When Obama was elected, we leftie-wingers looked at each other and shuddered. We had a bad feeling about the rise of the crazy. It's all gone off the charts, as we feared.

And yet, you know, the vast majority of us live as one does anywhere, and a whole lot more comfortably than one does in, say, Yemen. I don't think anywhere is safe in this rat-maze world we live in. Best we can do is keep trying for sanity, and try to change the culture and the debate.

I'm surprised Arizona hasn't gone further off the rails than it has. The Giffords shooting smacked some sense into a few people, I think. There has been a campus shooting, but those are endemic (and epidemic). The "Papers or Else" law has been more ignored than observed, and border violence is down and has been down for years. The shriekers have moved on for the most part. It's as if we can't compete with Florida or Texas, so our extremists have given up trying. Even our whackadoodle Congresscritters have faded before the crazies from elsewhere (and our, by 138 midterm low-turnout votes, Representative has been hit with an ethics investigation).

I think we're on the cusp of another cultural shift, away from the gun crazies. Unfortunately it's going to take a while. And the white dudes will get angrier before they stop. All we can do, as I said, is try to hold out for sanity.

Date: 2015-10-19 04:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/la_marquise_de_/
I hope that shift away happens soon.
Elizabeth Peters! I love her books. Love, love, love them.

Date: 2015-10-19 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mevennen.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2015-10-25 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alfreda89.livejournal.com
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!

http://kxan.com/2015/07/06/gunman-identified-in-downtown-austin-omni-shooting/

Date: 2015-10-19 06:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joycemocha.livejournal.com
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).

Date: 2015-10-19 04:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/la_marquise_de_/
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.

Date: 2015-10-20 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joycemocha.livejournal.com
The wannabes are why I won't hunt close to an urban center. They're scary and dangerous.

Date: 2015-10-25 02:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alfreda89.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2015-10-19 07:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xenaclone.livejournal.com
Dragon Con in Atlanta has a firm 'no guns; no, not even if you can carry them in your own state/home' policy.

Date: 2015-10-19 04:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/la_marquise_de_/
I've never heard of a con which allowed them on site.
I've heard of people bringing them anyway, sadly. Which is the problem.

Date: 2015-10-19 07:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cmcmck.livejournal.com
Never visited the US and for reasons of which you are aware, I'm never likely to............

Date: 2015-10-19 04:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/la_marquise_de_/
Hug.
The US contains many many lovely people. And some scary ones. Which is like us, I guess, only with semi-automatic weapons.

Date: 2015-10-19 04:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cmcmck.livejournal.com
Sadly, it also contains a distinct lack of basic human rights for people like me and I'm not willing to take the risk.

Date: 2015-10-19 04:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/la_marquise_de_/
That's an understandable concern.

Date: 2015-10-19 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dhampyresa.livejournal.com
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?

Date: 2015-10-19 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/la_marquise_de_/
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!

Date: 2015-10-20 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anef.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2015-10-20 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anef.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2015-10-20 08:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dorispossum.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2015-10-25 02:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alfreda89.livejournal.com
This.

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.

Date: 2015-10-25 01:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ms-chatelaine.livejournal.com
like [livejournal.com profile] cmcmk, I have good and sufficient reasons not to go to the US. That said, i think it is a deep shame that people are beginning to have to make the calculation of likelihood of the presence of guns x likelihood of a meltdown. I read a deeply disturbing article by (I think) Malcolm Gladwell at the time of the last two US school shootings, that the incidents had some aspects of a slow-motion riot. he considered that the first one or two were done by people for whom antisocial violence came easily, but the hundredth would be by someone who was following the crowd. It's not crazies that you want to be considering nowadays, it's someone who is easily led and has easy access to firearms.

Date: 2015-10-25 02:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alfreda89.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2015-10-31 04:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sheilagh.livejournal.com
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.

Date: 2015-11-02 11:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/la_marquise_de_/
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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