1. Autumn Grayson says:

    What happened in Vegas was awful, but it makes me sad that people are just going to use it as a political tool to say that law abiding citizens shouldn’t have guns to defend themselves with. I know not all ‘gun control’ people go so far as to say everyone should be disarmed, but that doesn’t change the fact that some people use it to say that the guns themselves are the reason there’s violence.

    I think fiction should partially be used to explore issues surrounding weapons and how we should handle them in society. Authors can also do research into what it is really like to be a responsible gun owner and show that in their stories to help educate the public. As it is, I think the media primarily just shows people loading guns and firing them off, which is fine for certain types of movies. But I think constantly using that depiction is one reason for people primarily blaming guns whenever there is a shooting. The message most media sends is that guns are about pointing and shooting and going crazy, instead of showing that in real life it takes some level of discipline to learn how to use a weapon right. So, in the eyes of non gun owners, gun ownership probably seems to be about chaos or irresponsibility. Many are probably quite aware that gun owners aren’t just going to go around shooting people, but that doesn’t change the negative perceptions they’ve learned to have about guns.

    When someone has been taught(from an early age) that owning a gun is a big responsibility, that learning to use one involves some level of discipline, and understands how to use a gun safely, they are more likely to be careful with them.

    That would probably help reduce the chances of accidents a tiny bit. But then authors can do more by researching and discussing other issues surrounding mass shootings, such as mental health issues and how we as a society can better handle them. Maybe that would get people talking about real solutions instead of them squabbling over whether guns are the reason there’s violence in the world.

    Again, I think it’s fine for some stories to just depict loading guns and going crazy(as long as the story doesn’t promote hurting innocents). But I think society could benefit from having more variety in the way guns and other weapons are depicted.

    • Mark Carver says:

      I agree. The laughable ignorance about semi-automatic weapons is just one symptom of this. Good guys and galls fight with martial arts and katanas and bows and arrows, right? It’s the bad guys that are spraying bullets willy-nilly. It’s also very obvious when an author isn’t familar with guns. Exposure and education is the key to gun control, not fear of the military-grade semi-automatic weapons that no civilian should own because they can shoot a thousand rounds a minute with just one trigger pull and they have magazines that can hold hundreds of clips.

      • Autumn Grayson says:

        Yeah. Growing up I remember being taught gun safety and to respect the fact that it was a weapon, but I wasn’t taught to have a phobia of it. It’s sort of like having an animal in a way. Animals can be extraordinarily dangerous for those that don’t know how to handle them. But if someone is taught how to behave around an animal, the risk goes down exponentially. Saying we need to get rid of guns just because of school shootings and suicides and gun accidents is like saying everyone needs to run to the vet and put their dog down just because a lot of dogs bite people.

    • notleia says:

      I think I wouldn’t have grown to care about gun control, except that the parts of gun culture about toxic masculinity and persecution/survivalist fantasies are about a porpskillion times louder than the responsible part.

      The stories we tell ourselves about self-protection with guns are not supported by statistics. The stories we tell ourselves about hunting do not justify the vast majority of the hardware on the market. I know that America is a highly individualist society, but responsible gun-keeping would include measures to keep the community safer from toxic douchebags.

      • Autumn Grayson says:

        I think the media could help with that. I know in my stories I don’t usually address it directly, but my characters tend to live in harsher worlds where a being really will get killed or traumatized quite easily if they don’t know how to fight or have a weapon or at least a safe place to go. In that kind of environment, the characters are forced to develop realistic ideas of how to survive, and of the role of weapons in their lives.

        One thing I really try to put in these stories it how important it is to think through how things would actually happen and figure out how to handle it. It isn’t always enough to have a weapon, for instance. My characters have to be confronted with things like ‘even though I know how to use a gun, I can still get killed. The gun does me no good if I don’t have it with me in an emergency, and above all have some sort of training on what to do in the emergency. And then I must realize that even with training the emergency can still be unpredictable.’ A gun is a tool to AID in self defense, but isn’t a magical key to safety. If the media would do a better job of addressing the realities of situations like that, then society would be better off. Though I think authors who do this should try and illustrate realities of such situations rather than only illustrating things they think will favor their opinion.

        Also…as a side note, gun owners with toxic masculinity are annoying, but this trait isn’t necessarily the direct indicator of whether someone will be dangerous with a gun. I was listening to a documentary about a shooting the other day, in fact, and many of the contributing issues were the shooter’s mental disorder, his growing hatred for Jews, etc. Obviously not all shooters have the same motive, but there is a very big difference between annoying people who are like ‘I’m manly because I own a gun, I have the right to bear arms so stop being whiny about my guns!!!’ and people who are like ‘I have problems in my life and hate everyone so I’m going to go make this big horrible thing happen to call attention to something’

        • notleia says:

          I was talking more specifically about cultural narratives, but hey, media both feeds off and influences those, so why not.

          But the mouthy douchebags are still a real problem, because one of the key points of toxic masculinity is using abuse and the threat of violence to solve all their problems. And when your only tool is a hammer, all your problems start to look like nails. The mouthy douchebags may not have shot up a stadium yet, but chances are good that they have or do physically or emotionally abuse anyone under their power.

What do you think?