I’m having a day of snark – one of those where everything I want to write about involves some sort of sarcastic response toward ridiculous opinions and viewpoints. Hazards of coming off a couple of sick days, I suppose – I tend to be a little less patient and tolerant.
For starters, in response to the shooting at Virginia Tech the other day, gun control outcriers have cropped again. And they’re welcome to their opinions, of course. But I still think they’re wrong. There seems to be this mentality that allowing people to own and carry weapons will only cause the crime rate to increase, since guns will be that much more available. Almost without exception, though, I find that those opinions come from folks who have had very little exposure to guns. For those of us who have grown up with guns and have been taught how to safely handle them, we know that those folks who make the decision to 1) own guns and 2) earn the license that gives them the right to carry said guns are _far_ more likely to handle them safely. These are the people who respect these weapons enough to, get this, keep one with them at all times. The people who go on these shooting sprees usually acquire their weapons by illegal means or, if they’ve acquired them legally, haven’t bothered to learn how to use them properly or gained the licenses necessary to carry them. In short, shooters like this do not respect the laws that govern the use and ownership of guns. It places those of us who actually _do_ respect these laws in a difficult spot because the resultant fear from tragedies like these threatens the right of American citizens to own and carry guns.
Recognize this – psychos like this Virginia Tech shooter will always be able to find guns when they want them, no matter what sort of legislation is in place to make it “impossible” to do so. The black market will never be shut down. All these gun control laws do is make it more difficult for honest citizens to put a quick end to a shooter’s spree should such a crisis arise. Personally, I feel much safer with a licensed-to-carry citizen next to me than without. But then again, I realize that said citizen has been trained in how to use that weapon and would never casually use said weapon unless there was no other option.
The other thing that has my snark up right now involves Fox News apparent posthumous besmirching of Kurt Vonnegut. Apparently, Fox News ran a story the other day that wasn’t terribly flattering to the late science fiction author. Ultimately, I couldn’t care less what Fox News thinks of the author or how people are reacting to the news story. I deliberately tend to avoid the news in any form exactly because the news seems to bring out the worst in people.
What I _am_ a little bit surprised by is Fox News’s deliberate mention of Vonnegut being a ‘leftist.’ Well, of _course_ he was a leftist – most science fiction authors are. Read just about any science fiction novel, and you’ll see worlds in which religion is all but dead, with God having been debunked and traditional and historical forms of morality having been given up in favor of less restrictive and more ‘liberating’ personal values. These are worlds where anything goes, guilt-free, so long as others are not harmed in the process. This is the ideal of 21st-century man, to live as he desires rather than being bound to a set of rules set down by a third party, whatever that third party may be. This view is liberal and leftist, and for some reason this viewpoint, this hopeful future, goes hand-in-hand with science fiction. The shirking of religion, with all its rules and regulations, is seen as progress for mankind, and science fiction embraces this hope with vigor, eagerness, and passion.
What _I’d_ like to see is science fiction where the future world doesn’t look all that much different to the world we see today, with the obvious exception of more advanced technology. I’d like to see some science fiction where, if anything, morality and religion have become _more_ entrenched, just to see what that kind of world would like. I wouldn’t mind seeing such worlds built in both a positive and negative light, since either outcome is equally likely, in my opinion. Essentially, I’d like to see a more deliberate exploration of such universes. And just once, I’d like to see a world of the future where religion isn’t the demon that it’s made out to be today, where religion is actually beneficial and productive. Stephen Lawhead attempts this in his Empyrion set, and Orson Scott Card presents another version in his Ender series. But these are the exceptions, rather than the rule. I just tend to think that science fiction does not necessarily need to be divorced from religion and morality in order to be good and exceptional. But since many times science fiction expresses the ideologies of each writer, they tend toward a certain brand of preachiness against religion that grows wearisome after a while.
So that’s a bit of the snark factor bouncing around in my brain today. And now that it’s out there, perhaps it’ll leave me alone.