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A Line in the Sand

I’m writing this blog, not to defend myself, or my opinions, but rather to explain exactly how I feel about the gun conversation. First, I believe it must be a conversation. To say there are two sides would be inaccurate. There are many shades of gray between the black (yes, I’m using the “negative” color purposely) of everyone being allowed (or even required) to own any kind of gun and as big a stash of bullets as they choose, and the off-white of zero gun ownership.

I can’t in good conscience say that’s completely white, as I do believe in the Constitution and have no desire to water it down or take it apart. However, if we’re going to discuss the Second Amendment, the intent of the forefathers is paramount. You really must understand the language to come close to their intent. Others have done it more eloquently than I could, but there is no provision for owning assault weapons, nor for arming schools. Even Justice Scalia, who can barely even squeak out the word “liberal,” agrees some regulation on guns is constitutional.

I’ve been very vocal about my belief that assault-type rifles are only useful for taking out as many PEOPLE as possible in the least amount of time. Using them for hunting is hardly sporting, so let’s remove that from the conversation. Personally (which means this is my opinion, and I’m entitled to have one, even if it’s different than yours, and you’re entitle to have one different from mine, too), I don’t think people should own them, and I think a large majority of people who do should probably be on a watch list somewhere. I personally know a few who do. None are 100% stable.

I still believe, however, that this can remain as part of the conversation, as long as Gun Industry rhetoric doesn’t influence the dialogue. Who stands to reap the benefits of the current hysteria to own arsenals? Duh! The people selling weapons and ammunition, and so they continue to fuel the hysteria. I mean, come on. Every time I voice an anti-gun stance, someone goes off about banning guns. No one has proposed that. Not the President. Not Congress. It’s not going to happen. So excise that from the conversation.

I do have to take a stand where I feel it’s necessary, however. This conversation will continue, and I have no problem with the dialogue. But it is my firm, heartfelt belief that arming school teachers, principals, librarians, playground aids and janitors is folly. Please consider for just one moment what happens when an armed thug bursts through a classroom door and an armed teacher pulls his gun and they start firing at each other with children in between them.  Or when a trigger-happy teacher mistakenly fires at a parent bursting through that door for some reason. Or when a disturbed child gets hold of that gun. The odds of any of those things happening are far greater than a teacher being a hero and saving the lives of twenty kids in his classroom.

You are welcome to disagree. You are welcome to believe your children are safer on armed campuses. But my children and grandchildren will not attend those schools. And I have just informed my publisher that I will not make appearances on armed campuses, or in libraries with armed guards. I sincerely would rather chance some random lunatic wandering in with a gun than sanction arming schools. This is a line I’ve drawn, and I won’t cross it.

I drew that line over the weekend. And when I did, I had people jump on me in a couple of ways. There were the ones who now not only refuse to buy my books, but also want to encourage others to boycott my work, apparently because we have differing opinions. Conversations demand differing opinions. I’ve also had people complain that by not appearing in armed schools I’m punishing the students who attend them, even though they have nothing to say about guns on campus. But my decision isn’t punitive. It’s standing up for my beliefs. And beliefs are part of the conversation. Overall, I am not anti-gun, and not anti-you, if you have different beliefs.

So to decide I’m ignorant, or a communist, or just an a$$hole, while that is obviously your right, adds nothing to the conversation. I know when I post this, someone new will come screaming at me about the Second Amendment, or how a gun is the only way to fend off a rapist, or how assault rifles are so much fun to shoot. And I would ask them to please read this article about how the Gun Industry spins the conversation. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-gun-industrys-deadly-addiction-20130228 It is relevant and a huge part of the conversation.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 11th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
Gun control
I applaud your stance. People mock "celebrities" who take political stances or voice political opinions as if being a celebrity somehow invalidates the rights that everyone in the free world has.

I think prominent people have a duty to use their platform, whatever it may be, to do what they believe in. Anything else is dishonest and cynical. Some celebrities are redneck loopdiloos. Some are so far left they've fallen off the map. For them to hide that part of themselves in order for people they disagree with to still buy their art is, at the end of the day, insincere.

I agree with you, of course, but it's rare for me to reject an artist just because I disagree with their beliefs. I can't tell you how many books I read wherein the author thanks God in the acknowledgements for example, and I'm an atheist. Many authors I read are Mormons. Probably quite a few would qualify as Zionists.Some might believe in the death penalty. As long as they aren't proselytizing about Zionism or Mormonism or the death penalty in their books, then I'll read them.

I would read a book that you wrote about gun control. Maybe other fans wouldn't; that's their choice. But I find it hard to believe after all the gay content in your books you will lose fans over this.

As far as guns in schools go, come to Vancouver. As long as you don't object to POT in schools, I think we're all good.
Mar. 11th, 2013 10:43 pm (UTC)
I not only understand, but applaud your post. My feelings are mixed as are many peoples in this country, but we all have a right to participate in the conversation!
Nancy HImel
Mar. 11th, 2013 10:53 pm (UTC)
Many who would agree
if you would join us and speak at CATE next February. Your fearlessness would find an appreciative audience with English teachers in California where guns cause way too much damage in our schools and neighborhoods. Ellen, I left you a similar message on Facebook. Nancy@colorfulsky.com
Mar. 11th, 2013 11:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this, Ellen! I support you!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )