As someone who’s spent a sizable chunk of his career writing action-oriented science fiction, I have a rather surprising stance on one topic in particular.

Wanna hear it?

Sure you do.

Guns fucking suck. Now look, I know what you’re saying. How oh how could someone in such a field, one filled with pew pew and bang bang, make such a statement? It’s true, though. Guns suck. My discomfort with them tracks back to when I was younger and had a gun pulled on me by a kid in my neighborhood over a misunderstanding. The idea that life was so fleeting and fragile that some asshole kid could pull a gun on another kid over something silly made no sense to me. That could’ve just been… it. Since then, America in particular has seen nothing but an endless deluge of mass shootings and gun-related violence.

After the U.S. Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 expired in 2004, things only got worse.

I got to see breathless coverage of Columbine and every subsequent school or mass shooting since. In addition, I’ve now known countless people who’ve been shot in senseless acts of random violence, including one fatally.

When I was younger, I saw the art in violence. The idea that there were statements to be made through extreme violence, like there was some layer of profundity to be found in there. Now, I’m not so sure there’s much to find there but stylized suffering. It’s all a sickness, created from some longing for meaning amidst the cruelty of the world. There’s no deeper meaning there, just dead friends and family. Just sadness.

That’s why, somewhere along the way, I made a conscious decision that not just was I going to refuse to glorify guns; I was going to take a hard stance on them in my books. Around the time I wrote Shattered Lineage came that decision, where instead of focusing on guns to drive action, I was going to find other ways. Hand-to-hand combat, weird powers, whatever, as long as guns were not the central part. Where there are guns, they’re clearly coded as a tool of destruction, death and nothing about them was “cool.”

Because, while novels are escapism and fiction, I have no desire for my brand of escapism to be like that. I’m not telling you what you can or cannot enjoy or even write. Simply this was a stance I took and continue to take and do not regret for a moment. Guns destroy lives and whatever fantasy people want to have about becoming Rambo during an altercation, that remains fictional and fantastical. In the real world, people just get hurt.

I’m writing this now because a fellow SF author, Jessie Kwak, was involved in a shooting a few weeks ago. Honestly, the langue we use for these types of things sucks sometimes. Someone shot her. I don’t know Jessie outside of seeing her around in some shared author spaces online and have some mutual friends, but it’s still audacious to think of there being no mundane task in this country that’s free from this sort of risk. So, while I don’t know her, it’s impossible to ignore this and not try to send support her way.

After leaving an event, Jessie caught a bullet in her eye. Random. Senseless. This act has left her with many months of recovery, surgeries and a very real possibility of losing her sight in that eye, as well as American healthcare being the worst and this all costs money. There’s a GoFundMe set up by her husband to help cover the costs from the medical care. Community is important, especially in the face of events like these.

Just like when it comes to using generative AI, I can’t tell anyone what to do. All I can do is tell you what I do, how I treat subjects like this and then continue to follow through on my promises. I don’t and won’t use generative AI. I won’t ever glorify guns and will avoid writing about them as much as possible.

Take care of each other.

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