I’m A Game Designer. I’m A Gun Owner. It’s Time To End This ‘Us Vs Them’.

I’m A Game Designer. I’m A Gun Owner. It’s Time To End This ‘Us Vs Them’.

When I originally pitched writing this piece to Kotaku, I was a bit worked up. I had read some of Kotaku’s coverage of the post-Sandy-Hook gun vs games debate, and I sent some pointed tweets to Kotaku staff. I felt that the games industry media had not provided balanced coverage.

I felt that every story of mass violence from the games media was slanted towards gun control as the answer — and the lack thereof as the cause.

The few interviews I saw with game developers focused on gun control as the response to any calls for a check on video game violence.

I was pissed.

I thought that, as a game developer who not only has worked on mass-market games that revolve around violence, but as a gun owner and libertarian, I could provide an argument that would reach out to both sides. My argument would explain why, at least in the America that I believe in, the right to express speech through video games and the right to bear arms shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

I thought I could explain the nuances of magazine capacity, rate of fire, “assault” features, etc., to the masses that really don’t understand the differences. Those difference sometimes define the line between a well-meaning gun collector and a felon.

I thought I could step beyond media hype and Hollywood education to really tell people what real life was like and make a difference.

A few weeks ago, Stephen Totilo, head of Kotaku, offered to take me up on it. He asked me to write up a piece from the perspective of a game developer who was a gun owner and wanted to stand up for gun rights.

I do fit the bill.

On the gun side, I grew up in Alaska. I have owned and fired weapons since I was a child. I have used firearms to defend myself from animals and to defend my pets from animals. I’ve used them, in that regard, in a lethal manner. I have served in multiple branches of the military — in the military police field — which involved me pointing live weapons at real humans.

I have never fired a weapon at a human. I have never been in combat. But I understand weapons. I could rattle off a list of firearm related labels.. Rifle Expert, Pistol Expert, 03 Federal Firearms Licensee, Range Safety NCO, etc.

On the game side, I have been an avid video gamer from the F-16 Strike Eagle days. I became a modder after getting out of the Corps in the late ’90s and started working on games for Red Storm’s Ghost Recon franchise, moving onto games such as Halo: Reach and working in big IP’s for WB Games.

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I currently run my own studio, focusing on a small, Kickstarter-funded game.

All of my games experience has one thread running through it: Violence. When not working on a shooting game — which is what I am best known for — I worked on a short-lived sword slashing game. I have never made a game that did not include violence.

So, here I am, a gun-owning, 2nd Amendment proponent who also makes violent video games.

I support the 1st Amendment just as strongly and planned to explain to you how a degradation of one can equate to the degradation of the other.

I was going to talk about how degradation of our Constitutional rights is something we should all rail against and had even planned to bring up the erosion of our 4th Amendment rights as context, in this age of “Big Brother” and the Patriot Act.

But now that I have sat down to write this, I realise that I am not going to convince you.

If you want to ban guns, you want to ban guns. If you want to protect your rights to bear arms, you want to protect them. Regardless of what I say here, I will not change your mind. But in this venue, I can assume you care about video games. So, what I will do is to ask for a separation between the two.

The NRA (an organisation, which ironically, I stopped supporting because of their support for the last failed “Assault Weapons” ban), cast the first stone with their stupid casting of blame onto old video games and movies as a cause for the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This was a blatant misdirection and such obvious flailing designed to deflect the discussion from guns. Even folks like me groaned in disgust. The NRA made themselves look like idiots by holding up copies of GTA, Mortal Kombat, etc.

But then the games media took the bait.

Every article that talked about mass violence and the effect of video games seemed to want to push back against the stupid NRA accusations. Every interview of game developers had to call out for more legislation to ban some form of guns.

I can argue passionately for gun rights. I can argue passionately for speech rights. Both have been validated by the Supreme Court. But what do I do when they argue against each other, when special interests are turned against each other by legislators with an agenda to “do something?”

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Instead of trying to educate the game audience about the nuances of gun design, gun control agendas, and other things that hopefully they will take the time to educate themselves on — before they abdicate their rights — I find myself hoping they will educate themselves. I hope they will step outside of their information zone.

What I would ask of the games media, please, is to recognise that it is not us vs them.

Just because out-of-touch NRA executives spout stupid shit about video games, does not mean that games folks need to spout stupid shit about guns. Gamers can defend their hobby in a reasonable manner without being unreasonable.

While I do have this platform, I do want to call out two issues that I passionately feel we have been avoiding while both sides attack each other: The mental health issue, and the coverage of murderers.

America has a seriously-deficient mental health system, both culturally and governmentally. I have not heard any serious discussion about working to fix this. I don’t mean more fucking government money, I mean talking about a society where it is OK to come out and ask for help. We can figure out the money stuff after… we know how to help the crazy guy on the corner (even if we don’t want to), but what about the repressed suicidal young guy barely hanging on?

And, last but not least, I do want to call out what really gets me pissed. This is what I really think is a true causation factor in this rise of mass violence: the mass media attention that these depraved, and often suicidal killers, receive.

If you have done your homework, you know that the deadliest school killing happened in 1927 (not that you would know that based on today’s coverage). The mass shootings of today, the Sandy Hook killings included — these events, and the perpetrators — draw clicks and views. The media delves into their history, posting every available photo of them, giving them the fame that they crave.

This is what the killers want.

Let’s look back into our teenage years. You know that loner, suicidal guy who couldn’t hack society? Do you think, when he wants to check out, he would choose to be the guy who offed himself in his crappy hotel room? Or do you think he wants to get his picture and name splashed across media for the next few years?

Stop and think back to the North Hollywood bank robbers. These guys were better armed, better armoured, than any mass killer in history (most of which was illegal). They fired thousands of rounds, and took hundreds. Two guys. Yet, they killed no one. Why? They were trying to escape with the money they stole. They didn’t want to get on the news. They wanted to get away.

Let’s look at the motivation of the offenders, and think about why people do this, and why this is currently a “trend”.

Could it be gun laws? Movies? Video games?

Or maybe the same folks that exploit these stories to bring out the faces of these killers should hold up a mirror and think about how they report them?

I know this article will draw some hate, and I guess I could have taken the chance to speak up more to educate the audience about the current debate about guns vs. games. Maybe it’s worth it to take the time to refocus the debate on things that could have a huge impact without eroding our constitutional rights.


Christian Allen is a veteran game designer, having worked on titles such as Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and Halo: Reach. Christian currently leads Serellan, a small studio in Seattle working on a Kickstarter-funded tactical shooter, Takedown. You can follow him on Twitter.

Comments

  • These guys were better armed, better armoured, than any mass killer in history (most of which was illegal). They fired thousands of rounds, and took hundreds. Two guys. Yet, they killed no one. Why? They were trying to escape with the money they stole. They didn’t want to get on the news. They wanted to get away.

    That’s very flawed logic right there. That simply shows they had the inclination not to kill. However, they did want to intimidate, no doubt if they wanted to kill they could have but that was not their aim from the start. When robbing a place, you do not want fatalities, as if you are caught, that’s immediately a minimum of 25+ thrown on your sentence per person, if not natural life.

    The argument has not been to ban every single gun in sight, it has been there needs to be tighter controls on guns accessible to the public, a higher set of regulations in regards to the grade of weaponry available. After all, what possible logical reason is there for military grade weaponry to be available to the general public. Illegal weaponry will always be purchased, the myth is that anyone can find illegal weaponry but the problem is, that’s a myth. Not everyone knows how to get access to illegal weaponry. ‘One can simply get an illegal gun if they want to!’ I can’t make one appear out of thin air, I don’t know how to get one? I sure as hell don’t know anyone who can get me one. Some people may but not everyone. I won’t espouse garbage statistics as some people do, because I’d be making them up but what I do know is the things like what I just said are claimed by both sides with fake statistics regularly. What I also know is this: Both sides should know sensibly: Noone needs a .50 calibre rifle to hunt deer. Noone. Noone needs a .50 calibre rifle to shoot tin cans. Noone needs an M4 rifle for their den. Noone sensible anyhow.

    There is a middle ground to reach, guns should not be banned outright, noone should be told they cannot have access to them, but they should be : A.) Harder to access. B.) Monitored far closer by the law, C.) Mental health patients should have zero access to them and D.) Court sentences in regards to firearms need to be strengthened in developed countries worldwide ala what New York has done with its three strikes policy.

    Thanks for bearing with me have a nice day.

    • So much this… I’m both an avid gamer and a gun owner. I spend a lot of time clay shooting and it’s far from promoting violence in any way, shape or form. It’s a skilled sport that requires superb hand-eye co-ordination and a lack of hearing.

      Australians have got it good in regards to guns, our restrictions are all based on logic (did I just say we have a logical law?). No-one has a justifiable reason to own a high caliber, high capacity, fully automatic gun of any form. The highest caliber allowed should be based on what is required to successfully perform a clean kill on the largest animal legal to hunt which is exactly what we have.

      I think America needs to take a lesson from countries like Australia in regards to gun laws. Ours allow us to do every acceptable activity regarding guns yet limits their efficiency in regards to illegal purposes. Which I doubt anyone can logically argue is a bad thing.

      VIVA LA GUN LAWS!

    • There is a problem with pronouncements like “Mental health patients should have zero access to them”.

      Lets say you have someone who comes back from armed service overseas with PTSD. They could either sign up for help, which might reduce their chances of effective employment in the past (many soldiers probably look at armed civilian roles as suitable for them) or they can keep their problems to themselves and not get blacklisted from rights. The barriers you put up need to have a line set somewhere. Ever gotten a prescription for Xanax? Did you tell your doctor you were sad one day? Or are you a homeless schizophrenic that copes by sniffing glue?

      My view, as an outsider, living in a country where firearm regulation (as opposed to bans) have halved our homicide rate, is that the solution is glaringly obvious. It’s an unpopular idea, but it’s a loophole that is according to US law enforcement, heavily exploited. Due to holes in registration and legislation, it is possible for a firearms owner to simply claim, when questioned about their gun, that it has been stolen. They are not required by law to immediately report it missing. They are not required by law to inform the state of a sale. They can buy one legally, in the normal fashion, and then sell it to their ex-con / mentally unfit acquaintance with zero ramifications. Sure, the thought of being implicated in a crime carried out with a firearm that was once in your possession is a horrible one and no doubt it stops the majority of people doing this, but next time a gun lobbyist tells you the majority of gun crime is committed with illegal weapons, turn around and ask them at which point they became illegal weapons and what they’re doing to stop that.

      Are they locking up their firearms when they’re not present? Are they lobbying politicians to legislate punishments for irresponsible gun owners? Are they intervening when they see unsafe practices?

      • I live with someone who has PTSD, my father served in Vietnam as rescue services, flying in and out rescuing people from downed helicopters, planes and botched operations etc. He’s got PTSD to this day, if he’s off his medication he’s quite the different person. As much as I love my father and if he’s on his medication he’s normal, when he goes off it, he’s a different man altogether and rather unpredictable. When diagnosed officially, owning a firearm should be put off the table. I am epileptic, I am not allowed to join the armed services according to Australian law due to issues on the front line with having seizures and potentially having one while bearing arms, I had to fight for my right recently at the age of 33 (Im 35 now) to actually get my drivers license. God knows how hard it would be to get my firearms license. I’m on anti depressants to balance out my epilepsy meds which make me overly anxious, these bring me back down and make me normal, so I know exactly what its like. I live in Australia, my brother lives in America so we get a pretty balanced view as we converse all the time about the differences (he moved there at the age of 42 when he married his wife).

        Essentially, yes I believe the mentally ill should not have access to firearms until they are declared cured, if they are able to be, or under control by a specialist. If the specialist is willing to declare that their condition is completely controlled and therefore putting themselves on the line as well in a sense doing so, I’m ok with it completely.

        I still stand 110% by the ideal though that no civilian needs access to military grade weaponry.

      • New Zealand has the somewhat the game gun restrictions as Australia but there homicide rate is rather consistent.

  • He completely misses the point of gun control.. he’s pretty damn dense. I mean, not wanting to ban guns because he believes there are responsible gun-toters around? Give me a break.

    If he is so ‘well read’ when it comes to gun crime, he’d know the rest of the ‘civilised’ western world combined has less of a death-toll than the US does.

  • Australia has very strict gun control laws.

    When was the last time you heard about us having a mass murder?

    Limiting access to high powered automatic weapons will prevent deaths in America every year.

        • This is mypoint… there was a massacre, it was terrible. At the time we had a prime minister who had the intestinal fortitude to make a stand and get the guns off the streets.

          We’ve now gone almost 20 years without a mass shooting, how many shootings have america had in the same time, how many lives have been lost due to civil libertarians. There has to be a better way..

    • Yes Australia has Very strict guns laws, and Yes there has not been a (major) mass murder since martin bryant in hobart. But will it stop deaths no. it might stop gun related deaths by a fraction but criminals will get guns none the less. even if i wanted to go on a killing spree i don’t need a gun to do it i mean i’ve got a whole range of kitchen knives to do it, i have a chain saw in my shed. or even my car, Hell a compound bow is easyer to get then any gun and an 18 year old can buy one.

      Also after the guns bans here in Aus, Stabbing rates and muggings went up 100fold. since no one has anyway to protect themselves, the police are a total joke showing up half an hour after the crime occured. im just saying if i was in a dark alley way and a mugger aproched me and saw i had a gun on my hip he’d think twice before tangling with me.

  • That was a good article, well played.

    I agree with @weresmurf that the argument is really on the justification of ownership and use of certain firearm classes.
    The problem with point C is that an individual would have to be a patient before this kind of idea becomes serviceable. It’s difficult to identify a person for whom a medical record does not indicate a history of anxiety, depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, or any other form of mental illness. I don’t disagree with the point, I do think it needs much refinement.

    • Of course and absolutely they would need to be diagnosed first, however, diagnosis can be done by basic psychologists and not doctors. Prescribed medication is done by doctors, Psychologists are able to diagnose basic mental disorders. At the moment there are many people able to access firearms with disorders in the USA with noted mental disorders that aren’t taken into account. This really does need to be taken into full account. While a blanket ban is a bit silly, for instance Epilepsy shouldn’t really be a case for no gun ownership IF the subject is medicated, it definitely is a case of going through say, the latest DSM and essentially ticking off the list ‘This is ok, this isn’t ok’ style. It’s a start at least. Have to start somewhere I guess.

  • The way I look at it, these problems blamed for gun violence (violent media, poor mental health system, etc) are not unique to the USA, they’re shared across many, many societies and cultures. So when I look for possible causes of these outrages like Sandy Hook, I look for what’s different between America and other nations, and still it comes back to easy access to powerful weapons. Every country consumes violent media, and many have poor mental health systems, but very few have such access to guns. Obviously that’s not a direct causal link or anything, but to me it’s pretty compelling.

    I grew up in Alaska. I have owned and fired weapons since I was a child. I have used firearms to defend myself from animals and to defend my pets from animals. I’ve used them, in that regard, in a lethal manner

    And that’s fair enough. I think most farmers (and other people living in rural / isolated areas) in Australia (and, indeed, in most countries on earth) probably have firearms for that same purpose. But the debate isn’t about banning everybody everywhere from owning any kind of gun. It’s about banning certain types of guns, magazines, etc. You don’t need a high powered assault rifle with a 100 round magazine to defend yourself or your pets from animals.

    • “The NRA (an organisation, which ironically, I stopped supporting because of their support for the last failed “Assault Weapons” ban)”

      He seems to think you do.

    • I look for what’s different between America and other nations, and still it comes back to easy access to powerful weapons.

      I don’t think the problem is as simple as just easy access. I think it’s more casual access. You can own a garage full of assault rifles with no better reason than liking them. I’m not quite suggesting that you should have to justify your purchase and have it approved by the government, more just making it hard enough that you have to really want it, but it shouldn’t be so socially acceptable. Your peers should expect you to justify it to them.
      If you own a dozen assault rifles you’re just pro-gun. It’s not even viewed as being that extreme by the anti-gun people. It’s like having a ton of merchandise for a football team. A kid can be super into guns and it’s just a hobby (and in fairness most of the time it is just a hobby).

      While every gun owner seems to claim they’re responsible, and almost all of them emphasize the importance of responsible gun ownership, they fail to realise that culturally they aren’t responsible with guns. A truly responsible gun owner would be out there trying to stop people from casually buying weapons because they look pretty, but that would hurt sales so the NRA would pump up that sort of campaign as nosy people meddling in your business telling you how to raise your children.

  • I grew up on a farm in rural Victoria. All of our neighbours own guns as do we. What for you ask? Pest control and humanely anaesthetising a terminally ill or injured animal. Why the hell would anyone need an assault rifle, semi-auto shotgun, machine gun or .50 cal rifle to do that? We legally own a .22 (the bullets are tiny) single shot rifle and a single barrel (holds one round) shotgun. That is all. We do not hunt, we do not need to ‘protect’ ourselves. They are simply for pest control because of the number of introduced species (rabbits, foxes etc) that cause problems.
    Anyone that says they need an automatic or semi-automatic weapon to do that is an absolute idiot and full of shit.

    When I was in the US a year ago, I wouldn’t try and debate with people about gun control. I was fascinated by their (often ridiculous to an Australian) viewpoints. After one guy telling me that he keeps a glock in the glovebox of his car for protection I couldn’t contain myself any longer and asked, “protection from what? Other people with guns?”
    His response was, “yes.”
    When I asked, “But what if no one had guns? You wouldn’t really need one then, would you?”
    He said, “What do you mean?”
    He couldn’t even begin to fathom a society without guns.
    Strange and sad I think.

    • No matter the gun laws, restrictions and bans. Guns will always exist.

      How can a person deny the right to protect their own life? If an individual can’t protect himself with a gun. Then how can you justify a president to protect themselves, or a nation to protect theirs?

      To enforce a law to remove a gun from an innocent person is quite hypocritical. How would you enforce this law with out a gun?

      • Because they’re authorized. Because they’re different than you? Because they have the necessary training and background checks and OCCUPATION that necessitates A GUN. What the hell is wrong with you? You’re saying taking away guns is denying someone’s right to protect their own life? It’s the people with the guns whose job it is, jesus man…

        Did you think this whole debate was for destroying EVERY SINGLE GUN IN THE WORLD? Really?

        I’m a gun owner but guys like this make me ashamed. I mean, I haven’t fired it in well over 6 years because I haven’t had to or wanted to. I don’t see how it’s a necessity unless you’re paranoid. I’m also not sure why people are against stricter laws because FUCKING KIDS ARE SHOOTING OTHER KIDS WITH GUNS. What’s the answer? Do nothing or blame video games. He’s spot on about mental health but what’s he really saying? Educate people so they leave guns alone. Then he goes on about “educating” people about gun design of all things that no one gives a fuck about and gun control “agendas”.

        Is this guy actually saying that people should be able to do whatever they want with guns because HE hasn’t hurt anybody and shoots targets? That everyone who hates guns has an “agenda”? It’s not just because they’re the illegal tool of choice for murderers. I mean really, yeah it’s a bit unfair to you but seriously, people are being gunned down at a ridiculous rate and he’s still saying guns should just stay as they are when extremely few countries have such a combination of lax laws and fucking gun massacres. I mean, how long does it take to turn your head just because you like something?

        This guy seems to use guns safely but is it not a little naive to spend this long trying to defend them, only to expose your ignorance about basically every other issue that accompanies the gun debate?

        • Authorised by who? How is the difference from one person to another make them more important, a more precious life to protect. Are rich people, people who can hire 24 protection, are the only ones who are allowed measures to protect themselves?

          Login, if you bothered to read NigelWestDickens post you would see he is making those claims

          After one guy telling me that he keeps a glock in the glovebox of his car for protection… …When I asked, “But what if no one had guns? You wouldn’t really need one then, would you?”

          The rest of your comment is about the article. Which I am not going to cover as I myself don’t agree with it 100%.

          • What are you even talking about? Authorised by the government. Having gone through extensive training on proper precautions and maintenance. You might have just stepped onto the internet from some sort of anarcho-luddite commune but the rest of us are operating under the basic assumption that the government is set up to decide all of this and fully capable of doing so. While Austtralia’s government and law enforcement is in no way flawless, it has done a good job of keeping gun violence down so we really don’t need your ridiculous class warfare nonsense.

            Anyway, back to sensible talk. Conor Friedersdorf wrote a pretty decent article over on The Atlantic yesterday describing what should happen when the police shoot an innocent civilian – as happens far too often in the US. It’s worth a read if you’re interested – http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/04/cops-who-shoot-innocent-people-should-have-their-guns-taken-away/274692/

          • I’m not trying to entice any class warfare. I am simply proposing the question as to why is it that banks can protect their money with guns in public but a normal citizen cannot protect his own life with one? If the elected officials can see the use in using guns for there own protection then why not the everyday citizen? It’s hypocritical.

            I’m trying to get people to recognise that the only person who can protect themselves 24/7 is themselves.

            government is set up to decide all of this and fully capable of doing so

            Laughable really. I guess you would have loved the internet filter.

          • I don’t know about you… but security guards in Australia don’t carry fire arms or at least the high calibre/visible ones. They carry sprays/tazers/batons but nothing lethal. Even the people who run armored cars do not carry fire arms. Last time I checked a lot of politicians here do nor actively carry firearms. The only one’s w/ firearms? The police and army.

            In fact the only place I *have* seen security guards require/need firearms? back in my home country in asia where gun laws are lax/non existant.

            Again your “self-defence” argument is a chicken and egg problem. Would the average citizen be in danger if there was less lethal weapons? Your “hypocritical” argument is also missing something important – heads of state, banks, etc. are *targeted* because of their value. You wouldn’t place your life savings in your wallet that you carry around would you?

            The higher the value the more effort they take to “target” them. And the average citizen is rarely a blip in the radar to these people unless you’ve been randomly targetted by petty thugs/theft…. which again raises your chicken and egg dilemma – if a thief thought you had a gun then they would need a gun to rob/assault you, if you thought criminals carried a firearm then you would be inclined to bring your own firearm as protection… either way you don’t know who had the guns first you just need the guns for defence. Yes your the only one who can protect yourself. But I quite like my chances of success when the person assaulting me does not carry a fire arm.

          • I assure you that when banks transport money they also carry guns. Hangout at a bank and wait for an armoured car.

            Value is subjective. I would hope that you consider your life more valuable then the value banks place on their money. Even if your not high profile and the chances are low, you could still pay the highest price. In which I hope you never have to do.

            If your a thief and you have to consider between robbing a house who is a gun owner or robbing one who is not. Who would you rather likely rob from? If both houses don’t then the risk is low, if both houses have guns the risk is still high.

            The person who is assaulting you won’t care about the law, they will still be able to get a gun. Laws that restrict guns only inconvenience those who abide by the law… Why subject laws to law abiding citizens? You are only sending sheep before the wolfs.

            Despite these gun restrictions Australia has, did you know that more Australians own guns then they did before 1996 when a million of guns were destroyed? I think kotaku blocks links for guest so fell free to google it, story happen this year.

            Again i’m arguing against the point that if guns were banned, no one would need a gun. I’ll leave the issue of assault weapons for another time.

      • I’m not sure I understand the argument you’re making… apologies if I’m misunderstanding you, but are you saying that because the government is allowed to have guns (for the army, secret service, police or whatever) then it’s hypocritical to not allow the general population to also have guns? Where does that line of reason end? Are people allowed to have… what…. rocket launchers? Tanks? Nuclear weapons? Just because the government is allowed to have them?

        • I think you understand me correctly but you wish to continue down the line.

          In my opinion, weapons used for self-defence should by allowed on private property as long as it does not harm or cause damage to the surrounding properties when used in action. so for example lets take a normal house with surrounding land:

          A handgun should be allowed on property because it provides a defence and in the action of defence wouldn’t harm surrounding properties. Granted the handgun could damage others private property or people if used in-correctly but so can a lot of things.

          On the other hand, a bomb that has a significant blast radius is a problem because If it was blown up in self-defence it would effect people on the surrounding properties which would suggest the weapon isn’t just for self defence… unless of course the people on the surrounding property agreed to it.

          This shouldn’t only include weapons. It should also extend to anyone who has any item/object…

      • “No matter the gun laws, restrictions and bans. Guns will always exist.”

        Exactly may as well teach people how to use them responseably

  • He is spot on about mental health and the news making people famous for being a mass murderer. If the news never mentioned the kill count, never mentioned the shooters name would we see a reduction in shootings? I don’t know but I for one am willing to risk TV not getting the ratings to find out.

    So better mental health checks for gun ownership? Isn’t that a form a gun control?

    @HH, I’m not trying to mock you but I really do have to ask are you even living in Australia or ever have? It’s just you seem to be very out of touch with our laws. I only ask because despite a US based article this is Kotaku AU so I do expect people to be from Australia. I don’t care if your not but it would certainly make more sense if your a US reader.

    • I’m Australian, I don’t own a gun… No intention of owning one really. I believe in indivdual rights and thus everyone should be treated equally (this is different to be made equal through laws and regulation).

      And trust me, the majority of Americans wouldn’t argee with all my views either. My views come form both left and right of the spectrum… but I would argue that they are more consistent then eitherside.

      I don’t agree with your censorship of the media either. Maybe news outlets do what they do in bad taste but they are only giving the people what they want… they want to know the details and for the event to frame morals.

      I don’t agree with mental health checks for the right to own guns as well. Allowing some people items and not others is descrimination, something the goverment shouldn’t be allowed to do.

      People should take responsibility in these two underlining issues. If they don’t agree with the newsoutlet or who the gunshop gives guns to. Then they should either talk to or boycott those specific places by means of talking to the community. This would be true democracy at work and one that would require no force. (Something people should be doing for few gaming issues around here).

      • Since I have never in my life purchased from a gunshop I guess I do boycott them.

        I disagree with your logic about mental health checks. I very much don’t want a Schizophrenic who suffers from depression having access to fire arms especially the day he decides I’m a demon. Is it discrimination? Yes, but it’s for the good of the community. I require a license to drive a car, it is a record that has an effect on how much insurance I pay, is that discrimination? Yep as a good driver I pay very little insurance.

        I never called for the censorship of the media, in fact I’m very much against the government having control of what the media says. But I think the media needs to step up and not use tragedy for ratings, especially because this seems to give the gunmen what they want. It’s simple Logic, if they want notoriety for doing horrible things, and we stop giving it to them it, than maybe they will stop. At the end of the day it doesn’t hurt to try. Now I’m not saying don’t report it, I’m saying don’t sensationalise it, don’t put there name up, don’t put up a leaderboard of kills and don’t run the story 24/7. This isn’t just my ideas these are the ideas of the some of the best minds in the world on Mental Health.

        Above you talk about owning a gun for self defence that’s not a legal reason to have a gun in Australia. If three crazies are running at you with bloody machetes screaming about killing you and you shoot them in the leg your going to be in jail longer than they are.

        • My issue with mental health checks isn’t that the crazies wont get guns. I know that’s the intention but where do we draw the line? What if for whatever reason the government decided that you are crazy because of depression and you weren’t allowed to do the things that first class citizens were allowed to do… would you just accept it?

          Let’s go down the line, what if you were labeled crazy and then bought a gun? You would then be a criminal under the current law just because you wanted the same privileges that every other citizen enjoys. So not only has a country turned basic rights against you and treats you as a second class citizen but it now also treats you as a criminal.

          Discrimination by private citizens shouldn’t banned. It’s there choice who they do business with. Considering the public owns the roads, I would hope that everyone is equally subjected to the same crappy system to acquire a license. (There is another better way to do that, but that’s another discussion.)

          I assumed when you said “I for one am willing to risk TV not getting the ratings to find out” that ment you would willing to try censorship. Perhaps I should have referred to the calls for boycotting I suggested. Great boycotting isn’t only not participating in something and telling other to do it but it’s also telling the establishment (whatever it maybe) that what it does is ‘bad’ practice.

          Above you talk about owning a gun for self defence that’s not a legal reason to have a gun in Australia. If three crazies are running at you with bloody machetes screaming about killing you and you shoot them in the leg your going to be in jail longer than they are.

          Which I think is truly stupid to outlaw self-defence, a natural right… What do you think?

          • I assumed when you said “I for one am willing to risk TV not getting the ratings to find out” that ment you would willing to try censorship. Perhaps I should have referred to the calls for boycotting I suggested. Great boycotting isn’t only not participating in something and telling other to do it but it’s also telling the establishment (whatever it maybe) that what it does is ‘bad’ practice.

            I’m not asking the Government to prevent the TV stations reporting it (Which is what I view censorship as) I’m asking the TV stations to report it in a more civilised manner. Maybe to talk more about the victims than the aggressor. If this guy went and killed people to get his name on the international news why should we let him have his way? I don’t believe I am asking for censorship, I believe I am asking for dignity towards the victims.

            Actually I’m fine with people being denied guns because of depression, do you really want a depressed person who thinks they have nothing left to live for buying a gun? Yes they are probably just going to shoot themselves, but I prefer to see them cured of depression and no longer wanting a gun.

            I do agree that the law takes this whole protect the criminal concept a bit too far. But it’s a far more complicated issue than I’m willing to discuss here, mainly due because I feel it’s off topic.

          • It’s all good to ask. I even think you’re right. But I think they should still be able to ignore those requests.

            My question is what if they declared you depressed and stop you from doing things that other people can do. But I guess that doesn’t really matter as your answer still applies.

            Fair enough, I can see why that is.

            I guess we will have to disagree and agree on some topics for now. But it was great to have a discussion here that didn’t turn into shambles lol

          • I did enjoy the discussion, amazing how two people with different points of view can quite happily argue their points in a civilised manner and both come away happy. Well it is amazing on the Internet.

  • This issue really isn’t that complicated, and it is unfortunate that the original author abandoned plans to talk about erosion of rights.

    For the benefit of those people who are too young to know, or don’t (for whatever reason) care about history, here’s the condensed version:

    The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution enshrined the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” because it was “necessary to the security of a free state”. It is not to protect the people against foreign attack (that is what the army is for) or from each other (that is what the police are for). It is to protect the people against tyranny in their own government. It is to protect the people from being abused by their own government.

    History (especially European history) has shown that most governments tend towards tyranny when the citizens are unable to fight back. They centralise power and pass oppressive laws and the people are powerless to do anything about it because only the government’s forces (army/police) have weapons – are able to use force. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely – time and time again.

    As long as US citizens have the right to keep and bear the same sort of weapons that their army/police do, then if the government starts using those forces to oppress them they at least have the option of fighting back. But if the government manages to incrementally pass laws first preventing assault weapons, then large magazines, then… then the citizens slowly but surely lose that option. Once disarmament starts, it doesn’t stop. And before you know it it is illegal for citizens to carry anything that could possibly pose a threat to the army/police and then it’s game over.

    That’s where, for example, Australia is right now. We are totally at the mercy of our government and powerless to do anything about it when the shit hits the fan. Government raises taxes – suck it. Government privatises health care leaving the poor to live in pain – suck it. Government abolishes the pension and abandons the elderly – suck it. Government forcibly acquires your home – suck it. Government prevents your daughter from attending University because a DNA test at birth determined that she was ‘more suitable’ to work on a production line – suck it.

    This issue is not about kiddies getting whacked by a psycho. It is about the government disarming the population so that it can abuse them with impunity.

  • So, the author is a well-educated, professionally trained individual who was raised to understand an use guns as means of survival in the wild. Good for him, please do hand this person a gun; I even feel compelled to vouch for him if anyone raises a brow. However, what gun control is trying to do is to keep guns from imbecile, paranoid common people to have lying around so their kids can find them and blow their little heads up, or from fucked-up individuals that realise that they can off themselves in a blaze of glory since getting taliban-like armed is hardly more difficult than getting a coke from a vending machine.

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