UTS: The Monstrous Arrogance


(Note: read the link if possible. I like the gifs.)

I’ve spent my entire professional career putting people back together after trauma, especially gun trauma. 19 years.

When I say I’m tired of it, I’ve earned it.

When I say I find the vast majority of gun owners insecure, immature & lacking empathy, I’m speaking from experience.

Let’s talk about avoidance. It’s what we do when we don’t want to do something, but can’t just say we don’t want to. It’s having a headache instead of going out with a difficult friend, or pretending your mother’s voicemail got garbled instead of admitting you just X’ed it.

As a culture, we’ve been avoiding the gun discussion for decades. We talk about metal detectors in schools, background checks, or hardened safe rooms. When we talk about these, we’re not talking about the simple premise that a gun is a tool that does nothing but kill.

That’s a gun’s sole purpose. It’s not about protection or self defense or hunting. It’s about intentionally killing. Even when we only use them for target practice, the paper target is practice for killing. And the people who advocate for guns are practicing murder.

We need to stop avoiding this and start thinking about it. The people who believe their gun rights are more important than other people’s right to live in safety are prioritizing their desire to own property that kills over other people’s lives. It really is that simple.

Most gun owners hate hearing this. They want to believe they are an exception. They want to justify their fears & anger & self-interest. But they’re driven by fear of other people, by their own sense of insecurity, and selfishness.

We have to face this, as culture. Gun owners need to face this.

A home with badly secured guns is more likely to be robbed, b/c the *guns* are the object of desire. A home w/ a secured gun safe? Less likely to be robbed, safer for everyone who lives there. There is nothing in your house worth taking a life. It’s just stuff.

A person who keeps a gun for home protection is more likely to fatally injure a family member in the middle of the night. Your kid may sneak out. It’s what kids do. That transgression shouldn’t risk death. Most of us don’t trust ourselves w/ snacks at night. Guns aren’t snacks.

Women who own guns to protect themselves from stranger rape or domestic violence are more likely to have those guns turned on themselves. Domestic violence kills 3 of us every day. That’s 3 times the per capita rate in the UK, and 5 times the Swedish rate. Most rapists are known.

Half of medication suicide attempts fail, and the vast majority of people who attempt suicide do not want to have died. 95% of people who attempt suicide with a gun succeed. If more of them failed, perhaps we’d know they didn’t want to die, either. But we can’t ask. They died.

I’m not saying don’t hunt; I know elk herds need management. I’m saying there’s a perfect tool for meat hunting& it’s neither a hand gun nor a semi-automatic rifle. It’s either a compound bow or a long-range rifle. The bow is better for you. It improves your core strength, and… …and we know that elderly people with good core strength are less prone to life-threatening falls, and maintain their activity levels deeper into extreme old age. Bow hunting is good for your brain and body. Learning new skills protects against brain degeneration.

In terms of hunting, gun hunting is low skill, high consumption. It has a low challenge rating, says the practitioner is unwilling to work on their skills. With a semi-automatic, it’s kind of contemptible, trading ammo money for accuracy. If you want fun & rapid, try paintball.

Of all guns, the semi-auto is the easiest to give up, with the lowest skill rating, the least utility, does the most damage for the least return. It’s not even good for punching holes in paper targets. Use the right tool for the job, and we have no arguments.

But we’ve got to stop failing to think about what we’re allowing. We cannot prioritize the individual fantasy of Wolverines! Over the Wall! John Wayne Rides Again! against the whole of society.

If a patient comes into my office telling me they think they have a right to hit their child or spouse, we dig into that error of thinking. Because it is an error. Gun ownership is that same error, writ large. It says,“I have the right to decide who lives or dies in my presence.”

That is monstrous arrogance, bordering on sociopathy. And it’s time to face it. We need to call the arrogance and fear by their names and stop avoiding the reality we’ve created. #StopTheNRA #StudentsStandUp

UTS: Introduction to transferred blog posts

A UTS is an Unrolled Tweet Storm. I find that I’m doing a lot more of my super-short and short work on Twitter, not because I especially like the platform (I’m ambivalent) but because the 280 character limit makes me edit my words.

Since a woman who writes 700,000 word epic fantasies actually needs to learn to brief it up. (There’s gonna be an update on that here in a couple days.)

It’s not going to happen, I’m going to continue to gush words like I’ve opened an artery, but at least each paragraph I write will have a limit, and Twitter only lets me have 25 tweets in a thread before it tells me to either wrap it up, delete it, or post the bastard and let people react.

I’ll add each tweet storm as I unroll them (or as someone else does for me, because that happens, too, and it makes me blush every time.)

The first one I wrote worth keeping is this, written a week after Parkland. It’s no secret I’m not a huge fan of guns. I grew up around them, but on base, the regs keep them locked up, secured. Only MPs have them. Having them in the house is a terrible idea, especially with two adults who abuse the hell out of each other. I can admit I had both suicidal ideation and homicidal ideation when the legally responsible parties were getting their Narc Gas Supply from each other. (Long years later, it’s more that I wouldn’t direct a stream of pee at either one, even if they were on fire.) If a gun had been in any house during my childhood, there’s a very good chance someone would not have survived. But they weren’t, and we all did.

And then my cousin (not first cousin, but effectively so, because my 8 great aunts and great-grandmother were enmeshed in one another’s lives, and so where their kids and grandkids, and we’re all part of the same generation) was killed by a responsible gun owner — a gunsmith! — in 2012. The gunsmith test-fired a gun across a small lake. The bullet went through the wall and into my sleeping cousin who’d just come off a night shift. He died before he got to the hospital and left a devastated widow and three children, with very little life insurance or compensation from his killer. The gunsmith got 60 days suspended and pled down to a misdemeanor so as far as I know, the gunsmith can still own guns. That’s how easily a responsible gun owner becomes a murderer.

My professional life is full of trauma, and a gun plays into most of the situations that gets a client and me in the same room. I can’t say I’ve seen all of the scenarios, but human dramas are like narratives: there are only so many possible ways for an incident to go. TVTropes is not just a time suck, it breaks down most of the personality archetypes and story arcs available to bipedal mammals who sexually reproduce and have decoupled reproduction from emotion.

As always, I moderate comments. I have rather little patience with apologists or those who want to claim they are the exception. I doubt they are. We can have a conversation about it, but we’re going to do it on Twitter, and I have specific questions I start with. I think if they went into a therapeutic relationship with openness and honesty, they’d realize they’re not unique, not nearly the hero they think they are, and have harmed those around them for a long time. But I don’t see that happening, because people who are so afraid of neighbors are also terrified of themselves, and cannot face either fear. I mostly pity them, but if you’re reading contempt, it’s not subtext.

Sometimes the UTS will be related (1 and 2; 3 and the one I’m planning for tomorrow, for example). We’ll see how this goes.

Rien’s Rebellion 06 – 27 Festivis 1137 Rien


27 Festivis, 1137

I mechanically signed and sealed the succession documents as Regent until the Coronation. He’s gone. He sent me a heliograph yesterday. How can he be dead?

At Priority One, Savrin had to be summoned. He slipped in, surrounded by Royal guards and flanked by two priests in black and purple. He’d dressed in pure mourning black save for his purple Lethian stole.

I did not want these priests of the god of winter, cold, decay and death near me. I didn’t recognize the priests, but once Savrin went to them, he’d avoided the House of Galene, the government, everything about his natal family. He’d quit — or been removed from — the Exchequer’s office, and petitioned my father to remove him from the succession. Da spent that evening alone in the Presentation Hall, sitting beside the thousand year old rose tree, where the ashes of the House of Galene are scattered, talking to Aunt Bella. Mourning the loss of his nephew. Continue reading “Rien’s Rebellion 06 – 27 Festivis 1137 Rien”

Rien’s Rebellion 05 – 27 Festivus 1137 Ragin


27 Festivis, 1137

By sparkling cold moonlight, the tracks veering off the road were just visible. Three carriages, assorted horses. The carriages bumped over rough, arid rises and into dips, then fell into a shallow ravine. It caught all three carriages, thirty-two horses and their riders. The rest lay dead on the ground above.

“How’d they miss that ravine? It was bright daylight,” I muttered to myself.

The stench of charred bone and wood, flesh, leather and wool covered the site, but it didn’t obscure the sulfurous, resinous smell of fire oil in quantity. Some body had been burned, and it had been started with Galantier’s best weapon. I dismounted, gestured Paval to follow. We stood over the closest corpse, untouched save for the crossbolts in his chest and the slash across his throat. We’ll need pyres, aid from Western Two. It’ll wait. I need information more.  Continue reading “Rien’s Rebellion 05 – 27 Festivus 1137 Ragin”

Rien’s Rebellion 04 – 27 Festivus 1137 Rien


27 Festivus, 1137

When the first minister arrived — the Exchequer, who happened to live closest — I left off organizing the books. Alone with Avah, it meant nothing. Before my father’s ministers, it might look like boredom or callousness.

I kept myself calm by reviewing procedures. My mother’s safe at her Conversatory. Mathes isn’t in the line of succession and needn’t be summoned; he’s only a Prenceps by courtesy. Savrin, however, must be summoned, since he’s Tret Ascendar.

Him, I didn’t want. I don’t need his… sanctimony. Not to the cold god. After Aunt Bella sickened, the Lethians sucked him in. He’d taken Holy Orders without informing us. He shouldn’t even be in the succession anymore. If something happens to Ragin and me, the House of Galene’s finished unless he renounces his immortal soul with his vows. Holy fire, I should have married something pretty and empty-headed with ingeniae in his bloodlines, tumbled him until I kindled, given him an estate and been done.

Da, don’t do this. Don’t be. No.  Continue reading “Rien’s Rebellion 04 – 27 Festivus 1137 Rien”

Rien’s Rebellion 03 – 1 Glacilis 1129 Rien


1 Glacilis, 1129

“Bleedin’ Ancestors, Sav, get your right arm up,” Ragin yelled from behind his mask. “You’d be meat on a pyre if I wanted you dead.”

Rain aspiring to snow pelted the weapon studio’s high, clerestory windows, the mirrors lining one wall reflecting the day’s grey light. I lifted my left leg behind me, letting the muscles stretch as I placed my hands on the floor. My cousins’ practice blades clashed and clacked as Ragin tried to turn Savrin into a swordsman. It’s a lost cause, Ragin, I thought. I think he knew it, but he’s stubborn. Savrin engaged with less skill and more desperation.

They’d beaten me up here, but I’d had to sign a half-dozen documents for tomorrow while I’d changed out of the morning’s formal reception gown. They’d been deep into mock-combat when I arrived.

“Watch your blade, not Rien,” Ragin snapped.    Continue reading “Rien’s Rebellion 03 – 1 Glacilis 1129 Rien”