Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Tag: guns

Guns, Violence and Journalistic Integrity

Sunday night there were a number of watch parties going on in the DFW area. It was the first game of the regular season for the Dallas Cowboys. Zeke Elliott was playing, after weeks of uncertainty. Dak Prescott was starting his second season at quarterback and everyone waited anxiously to see if he could continue the magic of his rookie year. Added to that was the fact the ‘Boys were playing their arch rivals, the New York Giants. Unfortunately, one of those parties exploded in a hail of bullets that left, as of this morning, 9 dead. Cue the media to start yet another round of calls for gun control and cue the local media to forget all about journalistic integrity and identify the shooter even though his name has not yet been released by the authorities.

Let’s start with the latter first. Only one of the victims has been identified so far. She was the owner of the house. Her mother has claimed to the media that the shooter was her estranged husband. That is the only information we have so far and yet the media has been running with it. A local columnist has used this alleged identification as the basis for an op-ed piece calling for more gun control because we can’t let guns get into the hands of folks who might have anger issues.

There was a time when the media wouldn’t identify a victim — or a suspect — until that identification was verified by the authorities. It certainly wouldn’t identify someone killed, whether in an accident or as the result of a crime. It was part taking the time to make sure the facts of the incident were confirmed and part because it was the decent thing to do. They gave time to the authorities to notify the family of the person killed. But I guess that’s no longer a consideration in this day and age of reporters not reporting the news but wanting to shape it and make it. To hell with the emotional toll such actions might take on family members who had nothing to do with what happened.

Well, to hell with these so-called journalists.

Moving on. I start getting concerned when people want to limit the right to own, much less carry, a gun because of the possibility someone might have anger issues. How is this possibility supposed to be judged? More importantly, who is supposed to make this assessment? To limit a right based on something that might happen at some point in the future based on some set of circumstances that might never occur is not only foolish, it’s unreasonable.

But let’s be honest, this is simply another way the anti-gun faction wants to limit gun ownership. At least this particular columnist finally turned her post into the need to address impulse control and anger issues. But all too many will take what happened in Plano to argue that anyone going through a divorce shouldn’t be allowed access to guns or to argue that everyone wanting to buy a gun go through psychological evaluations.

Not only no but hell no.

The media needs to take a step back — maybe several, especially if a tall cliff is involved — and remember what it is there to do. Unless it is an editorial, they are there to report the news. They should pride themselves on presenting the facts in a fair and unbiased way. Reporters should report and not be part of the news. They should help us shape opinions based on facts and not on their own personal biases.

Newspapers and network news wonders why they are losing followers. It’s simple. We are tired of being shown slanted views of events. We are tired of being considered too stupid to know what is happening. With so many new ways to find out what’s happening in the world, the media should be adapting instead of digging its heels in. Of course, considering it is the twin to traditional publishing, their approach doesn’t surprise me. All I can say is that they will continue to lose viewers and readers until they once again put facts above opinion, integrity above attempting to manipulate the issues.

Grow up, news media, or go home.

Consequences, Part Whatever

Yesterday, another soft target was attacked on American soil. This time, it was a group of Republican congressmen and their aides and family members who were out for an early morning baseball practice session. One man decided for whatever reason to stalk and then open fire on them. Fortunately, two members of the Capitol police were present and their heroic actions prevented the attack from being much worse than it was.

Those are the facts. There is a great deal of speculation about the gunman’s motivation and mental state at the time of the attack. I’ll hold off on passing judgment on him until we learn more. Yes, it does appear that his social media accounts were filled with anti-Trump rhetoric and more and we can probably draw some conclusions from that but I’ll wait. After all, look at how quickly things changed yesterday from what was being initially reported to what came out later in the day.

Besides, that’s not the purpose of today’s post. Today, I’m pointing the finger directly at those who have said that while they don’t agree with what the shooter did, those he targeted brought it on themselves. My only response to that is to say, “What the fuck?”

Many of those who I’ve seen saying Congressman Scalise deserved to be shot because of his support of the President are the same ones who decried the attack on Gabrielle Giffords at the top of their lungs. They claim the Republicans brought this on themselves because they are trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act or because they are homophobic or any number of other accusations.

One person said they understood why the shooter acted as he did because they — the poster — lived in fear of what Trump would do to them because they’re gay. They are still waiting for the camps to be built and people to be rounded up.

Another said this is what happens when you don’t condemn a president who has so clearly committed treason. Now, when asked to provide evidence of said treason, none can be cited. Rumors and innuendo, all based in the fact that their preferred candidate didn’t win.

Others immediately turned what happened into another instance where they can flog their pet political agenda of taking guns away from the average citizen. At one point, the media characterized the handgun carried by the shooter as a semi-automatic that kept firing on its own. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of weaponry would know that isn’t possible. But it sounded good in the media and the idiots ran with it.

What amazes me is that those who claim the shooter had reason to open fire on a soft target don’t see how their own rhetoric, and the rhetoric of so many others on their side of the political aisle, quite possibly helped the shooter form the mindset to do what he did. They don’t see anything wrong in saying that it’s all right to “hit a Nazi” or to spout the antiFA slogans. They don’t understand why they should be the ones standing up and condemning the property damage that has happened in the so-called protests or how they are the ones stifling free speech when they try to force universities and other organizations not to allow certain speakers to appear in public events.

When you are out there calling for the President to be killed, or for those who support him to face “the consequences”, you can’t then step back and accept no blame for what happened. It is time for each of us to look at how we “discuss” the issues and to realize discussion has been the last thing a number of us — on both sides — want.

Does this mean it is time to shut up? Hell no. But it is the time to listen and to note who is willing to discuss and who simply spouts rhetoric and calls for violence. It is time to hold those who do the latter responsible for their actions. It is against the law in many places to stand up in a crowded theater and shout “Fire!”, especially if people are injured as a result. There are certainly civil consequences for such action. Perhaps it is time that the same consequences be applied to hate speech, be it political hate speech or other.

For those of you who are saying Trump should be killed — or even that he should be tried for treason — ask yourselves this. How did you feel when people said that about Obama? Why did you feel that way? Now ask yourself this: what makes your objections to criticisms about Obama any more right than the objections to your criticisms about Trump?

Like the President or not, there is no justification for opening fire on a group of men and women out playing ball. There is no justification for opening fire on a group of people in the middle of an urban setting when those men and women are not combatants and you are not at war. There is absolutely no justification for opening fire on a group of people in a non-war situation when there are children present.

If you find yourself saying “but I understand why he did it,” then I suggest you need to re-examine your own values.

It’s the little things

(Apologies for not posting yesterday. Real life got in the way, unfortunately. You can find my post, Are we losing readers to gaming? from Otherwhere Gazette. In the meantime, enjoy this post written by my friend Cedar Sanderson and cross-posted from Mad Genius Club.)

We’ve all picked up the books that weren’t quite right. The wooden dialogue, the bits of research the author didn’t get right – and I’m being charitable, as I’ve picked up some that made me want to fly them across the room whilst I shouted uncomplimentary things about the author’s ideas of what worked in real life. Let’s just say this: If you have a super-powered microwave death-ray, and use it, what emerges from nearby Maple trees will NOT be maple syrup. And if you try to ‘break’ a mustang while you are all alone on the ranch, you deserve what you get, and it won’t be pretty. But this is why I no longer read romances…

Ahem. Yes, where was I?

While I was at LTUE I went to 3 or 4 panels on incorporating military and guns into your fiction. While I’ve been hunting and trapping since I was a girl, it’s not the same thing as the way the military uses guns, and I know this. Although you will likely note in my fiction I’m just as likely to have my hero with a bolt-action rifle – because that’s what I’m familiar with. But on the panels, which were full of useful information, the common threads that emerged were: If you’re going to write about guns, at least get out and shoot some, a few times. Go to a local range, with a good instructor. Take a safety class if you can, but before you add in things like ‘cordite’ and irritate anyone who actually knows that is no longer a thing, have an idea of what you’re talking about. A friend sent me this, which is great if you want to know what is happening inside a gun, and what could go wrong.

Mike Kupari, who wrote the excellent Dead Six along with Larry Correia while he was deployed in Afghanistan (In other words, the man has the cred), pointed out several times that if you want to know how the military works in real life, ask a vet. As he said, if you’re polite, asking nicely and finding someone who’s passionate about a topic, will likely net you far more information than you could have hoped for. Larry Correia pointed out that he’d been known to send 8 pages of gun info when asked a simple question. So find someone who knows, and ask. The internet is terribly useful, yes, but talking to a real person lets you garner real-life examples and anecdotes, as well.

One of the things that also got repeated across more than one panel was to know your character. If they are a suburban housemom who had never touched a gun in her life, or done martial arts (and yes, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the audience flashing to reading John Ringo’s Princess of Wands. I need to re-read that soon!) then you can’t have her shooting two-gun or knowing right where the solar-plexus is and hitting the guy in it hard enough to make him lose his breakfast… but on the other hand, if she’s an expert in something, you need to be, too, and don’t make her do stupid things. If she has super powers, apply them consistently. Actually, I really like the movie Incredibles for this… shows the super-powered trying to rein themselves in, and not always succeeding. That, and I love the themes in it.

One of the most-asked audience questions was about chain of command in a military structure. First of all, it’s important to know there is one, and that in any decent military, it will be adhered to. If a private jumps the chain of command and talks to the captain before he talks to his sergeant, he’s going to get in trouble. But if all you want is a table of organization, you can look that up. Keep in mind it’s different for each branch of service, and that it does change. Also, if you are writing a not-American military, you won’t be looking at the same titles or roles. Again, doing your research will pay off in happier readers.

Oh… fraternization. There are good and sufficient reasons your everyday joe enlisted man is not supposed to get buddy-buddy with his officer and vice-versa. There are also – and I have one mil-SF author I just can’t read any more because of this – very good reasons to not have your characters indulging in sex while on duty. At his duty station. Do you want me to come yell at you? Just don’t do it! And for an excellent exploration of the ramifications of women in combat, I highly recommend Col. Tom Kratman’s Amazon Legion.

I will leave you with something different: the insertion of humor into a story. I do this, particularly during very dark/tense scenes, as it’s what real people do. I grew up with Dad being military, then EMS and a firefighter. I know the kinds of jokes those men tell, to shut out the scenes of blood and chaos (and when they think the little blonde girl isn’t listening). Blacker than Black humor. Which explains a lot about why I’m so fond of my First Reader’s sense of what’s funny. So when Kate Paulk shared this into a chat, I spent quite some time doubled over in laughter as I read through. Go look at #520 if you want to see Kate’s favorite, I won’t copy it here. If you need more, the classic Skippy’s List is also an excellent resource.

2. A one man band is not an appropriate bard instrument.

14. Ogres are not kosher.

28. The Goddess’ of Marriage chosen weapon is not the whip.

55. Before facing the dragon, not allowed to glaze the elf.

89. The elf’s name is not Legolam.

111. I did not pick the garrote skill last week from my grandmother.

154. I am not allowed to rub the monk’s head for luck.
155. I am not allowed to rub any part of the elf chick for any reason.

193. Not allowed to kill vampires with seismic charges.

There are so many… and I would challenge any of you to go through this and not come up with a sick, warped story idea!

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén