Confused Anti-Gun People Think I'm A Gun Nut -- And That This Is My Gun

There are people on both sides of the gun debate who make good points. And then there are people who have absolutely no clue. In that latter camp we might include Senator Lamar Alexander, who thinks that, when it comes to people getting shot to death, "video games are a bigger problem than guns".

We might also include at least some of the 495-plus people who have shared a picture of me on Facebook and tried to make me a poster child for all that is wrong with people who like guns. These people — some of them confused, some of them ill-informed, and some of them possibly just extremely stupid — seem to think that, in the photo you see above, I'm holding a real gun and loving it.

No, people. I'm holding a gun from the video game Halo. But, hey, carry on with your great analysis about what this means about "guys like this" and the size of various parts of my body.

The photo you see above was posted on a Facebook page called "Republican Bigotry Hate Fear Lies and Distortion" on January 10. I don't know much about this Facebook page. They have 65,389 likes on Facebook. They seem to be Hillary Clinton 2016 supporters. They post lots of images of Republicans looking dumb. They rail against oil companies.

I see that they like to use an icon of an upside-down elephant to mock Republicans. Below that symbol is a tagline: "They Lie (And Think We're Too Stupid To Notice)". Gee, why would "they" think that?

I don't know why the RBHFLD people posted this particular image. I guess they thought it exemplified what was wrong with gun culture or something. On January 10, the image was posted with the text: "Don't take away my gun."

It was a successful post. It got shared almost 500 times in the last few weeks. It's been liked by nearly 300 people and commented on by more than 400 people. The first Facebook user comment about it: "Dove hunting?" The second: "idiot".

The third commenter began to sense something wasn't right about this image: "That one looks like it was put together by way of a soldering iron and a lot of solder."

The fourth: "looks like Oswald" (later joined by: "Is it any accident that he's a dead-ringer for Lee Harvey Oswald?" You decide!)

As people commented, a certain theme caught on: "*over compensating* me thinks 0.o", "Laugh at my small d**k now!", "One inch penis.", "Dude...I am SO sorry about your tiny penis!", " Bwahahahaha!!!!!! Of course he needs a weapon like that!!!! WTF!!! This proves so many theories to be true! Thank you :)))", etc.

Some people seemed alarmed: "Please, please take his gun away", "what a tool id skull f**k this dork !", "Needs his brain removed before he does some real damage", etc.

Some people shared their expertise: "Nice.... Military grade High calibre Sniper rifle... ( I used one similar to this one in the Marine Corps. ) Able to punch a 5" hole in the flesh of a deer at 1K ft... Completely useless for hunting.. Unless you're hunting dinosaurs."

Oh, here's a good one: "Idiot has his finger on the trigger. That's a photoshop amatuer whackjob."

Voice of reason popped up too: "The art behind him gives it away- that is not a real weapon, it's a sci-if prop. And we'll [sic] built, too!" and " You people do realise that this is a model of the sniper rifle from the Halo series and not a real weapon, right?", for example.

But, really, this one said it all: "Wow. Ignorance beyond belief!"

***

That photo of me is real. It was taken on September 3, 2009 when I was visiting the old Kirkland, Washington studios of Bungie, the development studio that was then working on a new Halo game. I'd dropped by the studios — a former supermarket in a strip mall — to tour the company's lobby and chat with some game developers in a small conference room a few feet from the studio's front door. A few minutes before the photo was taken, a police officer had peeked into the conference room and then quickly shut the door. That wasn't normal.

During my visit — and more or less unbeknownst to me until it was all over — cops had descended on the studio. While I had been chatting with Halo developers, police squad cars had been filling the front parking lot outside the studio.

Why?

A Bungie employee had been carrying a prop Halo sniper rifle down the sidewalk, toward the studio. They'd taken it out, for some reason. A concerned citizen had spotted him, thought it was a real gun and called 911.

I couldn't blame people for freaking out that day. You see someone who seems to be carrying a sniper rifle down a city sidewalk, you call the cops. Once the police figured out what was going on, everyone calmed down.

The gun was just a prop. It had been created for several live-action Halo shorts that were directed by filmmaker Neill Blomkamp, who was, for a time, tapped to make a Halo movie.

After the cops left, I went back into the lobby and took a look at the fake gun that had caused that stir. I wanted to take a photo, one of the gun lying idle and one with me holding it, to sort of recreate the scene. While I was getting ready to take the latter pic, more surprise visitors showed up. In walked two Halo fans, John Henry and Desirai Labrada. They'd met a few years prior, while playing Halo online. Earlier that year, they were married by a guy wearing the armour of Halo hero Master Chief. I'd been to their wedding — covered it for MTV. On that September day, they were just dropping by Bungie, too, and they loved the idea of the photos with the prop gun. So they snapped some, too.

I'd filed that story remotely from Bungie. Former Kotaku editor-in-chief Brian Crecente wrote it up. We laughed about it. What a weird series of coincidences all that was! Little could we have guessed there'd be this odd coda more than three years later.

***

I don't own a firearm. I've fired guns twice in my life.

The first time was from the deck of an aircraft carrier, into the Pacific Ocean. I was on an aircraft carrier with my brother, who was serving in the Marines. He and others on the ship were allowed to bring family members along for the final leg of their peacetime voyage. Military personnel on the ship gave tours and let people handle a rifle.

The gun I shot was an M16, I think. First, I shot blanks and then one or two live rounds right out to the horizon. It was shocking how little recoil there was, how little it felt like what I was doing had potentially deadly power. I'll never forget that.

The second time I fired a gun was from the deck of my in-laws' house down south. I'd married into a family of hunters. They invited me to, if not go hunting with them, at least get a feel for one of their hunting rifles. They took one out of the gun cabinet and showed me how to hold it.

From the deck, I shot a pumpkin.

My other experience with guns? Well, I held a Halo prop gun once.

And at least once on the Internet, people saw a photo of me holding a fake gun and made fools of themselves, proving that there are careless people on any side of a heated debate, people who make nasty assumptions about things they know nothing about. Yeah, that happened too.

Thank you to Twitter user Flawless Cowboy for the tip about this. This one made me laugh.


Comments

    unfortunately, the internet is full of idiots, be they pro or anti-gun.
    There is no escape.

      unfortunately, the world is full of idiots, be they pro or anti-gun.

        Unfortunately the world is full of humans

        They all suck and I hope they die

          Rhys, Spaghett is joking.

          These people don't understand an have completely over reacted. unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about that.

            Thanks Scree,

            Yeah Rhys, I was kidding

            If I was serious thats just an eye for an eye making the whole world blind

            It's not the way to go

            They just need to be properly educated

              Ignorance makes the world go round. Well, not really, that's gravity.
              But really, these people have no idea and are just reacting to a situation. Why can't they harass the NRA who are art of the problem, not the solution.

                Haha, I down voted a comment because the jokes in bad taste :)

                  Fair enough, i was just worried you weren't aware it was a joke

      What I find unfortunate is the likelihood of idiots like that actually owning guns. I'm not saying we should require people to have a PhD before being allowed to have a gun, but at they should at least have the common sense to think before they act.

      can't really blame the people though. it was posted there, and painted him in a certain light. basically the idea of that page attracts a particular crowd... then a pic is posted up, and people make assumptions.
      if anything, i'd blame the page and the people who posted the picture up. the people commenting just never heard of 'referenced journalism' before.

    One time I played Dynasty Warriors, must be a ticking time-bomb.

    That's the thing I dislike most about social media. When someone posts something, most people take it completely at face value as being true. If this was posted with the comment "Don't take my gun away from me" I would think that a lot of people would just believe that you were a pro-gun fanatic, which is evident from some of the comments that photo attracted.

      Ugh, yes. People always comment and share without taking any time at all to look into it. Kony2012....................

    Sadly the same thing probably would have happened even if the prop was of one of the alien guns.

    I get the feeling that some of these comments have actually cut into your ego a bit. The first facebook screen-cap that you provided only had one unequivocal comment that sounds like they believe it's an actual gun. Others appear to be criticising you for glorifying weapons, which is what you're actually doing. That you didn't notice that, or that perhaps you did, but needed to rant anyway is a sign that you know this is immature. No offence, but playing video games and posing with a giant weapon from within a video game are 2 entirely different things. One is entertainment and the other is the glorification of a representation of violence ... and you're doing the latter.

    As for this 'both sides of the debate' argument ... the problem with that point is that one side of the debate is armed to the teeth and mentally ill. The amount of times I've heard outright lies such as 'gun violence is up in Britain' or 'guns were banned in Australia and now they're coming for ours' just goes to show that one side is completely disinterested in stopping the illegal trade in firearms that damages not only the USA but also any country with regular trade relations with them. Mexico, Canada, Australia & Britain see a large proportion of their firearms come from easily preventable, but legal purchases in the USA. And framing this kind of problem; one that kills thousands of people a year, as something that 'both sides of the debate' have problems on when only one side of the debate is killing people is like arguing that Ho Chi Minh needed to answer to Diem.

      I'd have no problem with all real guns being replaced with video game prop guns, and everyone running around going 'pew pew pew!'.

      This just shows that people will see what they want to see.

      Some see a guy glorifying weapons, others see some dork posing with a videogame prop.

        Some see a guy posing with a videogame prop. Others see a dork glorifying weapons. Don't forget, dorks can love guns too. Also I hear it's ok to like videogames and not be a dork.

          I wasn't labelling gamers as dorks. I was labelling Stephen Totilo as a dork. Just look at him, standing there, smiling like a dork. I use the term dork affectionately.

          Dork.

            Dorkist!

      So now it is impossible to take a picture without it having hidden meaning or alterior motives? Because of an amusing incident with a gun prop from a game, while inside the building of the studio that makes the game it comes from, some dude took a picture. Hey, it is a pretty cool prop and I would take a picture with it too. If he was wearing the Master Chief helmet would you insist that he was glorifying road safety while on motorbikes and bicycles? The same could be said of a Master Sword prop, if you had one of them and took a picture, and then had people assume that by its existence you possessed a desire to run round the street slicing open random strangers I would expect a small amount of irritability on your behalf too.

      Senor Freebie people like you are a part of the problem, seeing a mountain out of a paper mache hill.

      He POSED with a FAKE weapon from a GAME. Its not supporting guns, its not against guns. Its just a game enthusiast enjoying and getting a feel for the game. There is no ulterior motive or meaning at all, its just a normal person having a bit of fun. Because shock and horror/newsflash that's what the fuck video games are for.

      And just because one side is wrong doesn't mean its not a debate that has both sides. Just because homo phobics and ignorant religious people are against gay marriage doesn't mean its not a debate or argument. Just the same as gun nuts with their "need" for "protection" with assault weapons are killing people, does not mean there is only 1 side. Because there are in fact 2 sides of the debate, period. Your entire comment astounds me, your obviously intelligent but my god get off your high horse, because there are morons and muppets on everyside regardless of which one is in the wrong.

      Also there is nothing wrong with an article pointing out the stupidity of the current human race either.

      Last edited 05/02/13 10:19 am

        Well said! I'm betting Senor Freebie has lots of photos with white people - must mean they hate blacks mhmm... damn racist - stop glorifying white power!

      Couldn't you conceivably argue that media which turns violence into entertainment is also a glorification of violence?

        You used the word violence in your comment, stop glorifying it!

    The fuck is wrong with this guy? Who needs a gun that big? Shit like that should be illegal. Fucking Americans and their retarded gun control laws.

      So wielding a prop gun makes you a mass murderer? Sounds legit...

    If you go far enough left, or far enough right on the political spectrum, you find the same dickbags...

      I say we start calling them 'the other center', the extremes so extreme they wrap around the back of the spectrum to make it a circle. :P

        Thanks, but I think I will keep calling them dickbags.

    I glanced at the photo at the start of this article and instantly thought "Hey, that's the S2-AM Sniper Rifle prop. That's cool!" Then I saw the comments and I was sad for humanity.

    Whaat, is, the deal http://youtu.be/ILp03TTgEIA

    This was an awesome post! I can't believe people thought it was a real gun, especially the"experts" opinion on the Halo rifle.

    You got more hate than FPS Russia did...

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