Hey. Can we talk about guns for a second?

Okay.

Guns, more or less, are for killing shit. Even when you're shooting targets for sport, that's a training activity related shooting accurately in case you actually want to kill shit.

And you know what? That's okay. Maybe you hunt. Maybe you're in law enforcement. Maybe you're military. Maybe you're learning to use a gun for self-defense. Maybe you just really enjoy target shooting or are a competitive sport shooter and it is, for you, an abstract exercise. Maybe you're trying to become familiar with guns so you can make your own decision about them.

All that stuff can be debated. Whether or not hunting is okay. Whether or not police should have guns. Whether or not we'll always have war. Whether or not guns are an effective means of self-defense.

But this post isn't about that.

This also isn't about gun control (which, btw, isn't about "Yes" or "No" but a range of legal issues surrounding gun ownership, use and sale).

This is about, CAN WE ALL JUST AGREE THAT GUNS ARE FOR SHOOTING THINGS?

And that generally, shooting things means harming/destroying them in some way?

Now, sure, guns don't kill people, people kill people. But a gun's purpose is, as reviewed previously, essentially for killing.

Of course, other things can kill people too and even be repurposed as weapons -- like cars and airplanes. But neither of those things are explicitly designed to be weapons or lack other uses. Guns, on the other hand, pretty much are just for shooting shit.

So here are a bunch of things that are not equivalent to guns, gun ranges, or gun instruction:

airplanes
flight schools
cars
driving school
mosques
Islamic cultural centers

To say otherwise is disingenuous and illogical, and no, "I'm just playing devil's advocate" is not an excuse to be offensive about this.

I have Christians, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists reading and participating in this journal. Probably a whole bunch of other belief systems too. There are folks from all over the world, all ages, all races, playing along here.

So, if someone says to you "that statement is racist," they are not calling you a racist. They are saying you said something they feel is racist. Please debate with this in mind. Also, please refrain from calling people racists or what-have-you unless you are pointing out a systematic pattern of behavior.

Please also keep in mind that concepts and terms that may not be loaded where you live, may be deeply loaded where someone else lives. Sometimes people can say really offensive shit and not only have meant no harm by it, but really, have no idea it could cause harm elsewhere (i.e., acceptable uses of "Asian" and "Oriental" are different in the US vs. the UK and elsewhere and mean different things in various places; "English-only" as a policy in a multi-national corporation is different than "English-only" as a policy in a school district where 80% of the kids are recent immigrants; etc).

Also, I would appreciate it a lot if we could try to play by the rules of the subway. If someone says you've said something hurtful to them and you don't get it after going three rounds over it? Just fucking apologize and move on.

Because honestly? Sure, some people like to make a career out of taking shit personally. But most of the time if someone speaks up to go "wow, this made me really uncomfortable" it's because they're really uncomfortable, not because they want attention. Chances are they want anything but.

So if you wanted them to feel that way? Fine, own it. If you don't give a shit if they feel that way? Fine, own that. If you don't get it? Own that.

But don't tell them how to feel or that they feel too much. And if you feel those emotions are coming from biases, then suggest they examine them, but you can't tell people how to feel, mainly 'cause it doesn't work.

Now, of course, I'm no expert in any of these things. I fight and argue on the Internet where PEOPLE ARE WRONG all the damn time. And I've absolutely, and rightly, been called on for saying racist and ableist shit (I hope it's the sort of thing I keep learning from), and I've been incensed by other people's emotions and engaged in ad hominem attacks and been called on shit that I totally haven't gotten, maybe right or maybe wrongly.

But can we try? Because I try. I'd like it if you fucking tried.

I won't be policing the journal for this shit. I don't have the time, and I'm not interested in being a cop. When I ban people, which is rarely, it's because I've lost my patience and they've made it abundantly clear they do not view me as a human being. So bans: unlikely and at random. Live in fear, or, more rationally, don't worry about it; you're probably safe.

But try not to be assholes, okay?

And a mosque is not a gun is not a car.

Thank you.

May 2016

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