Community Conversation on Gun Culture Tonight

So if we have talked recently it has probably been about or around guns and I have undoubtedly mentioned this event:

Which is tonight, Friday Oct 23 @7pm at Works San Jose, 365 S Market St, in San Jose.

community conversation

I don’t know if it is possible to “make progress” on this issue, frankly I think that means something different to everyone who I have talked to. I do think that we can make the decision to work together and reduce gun violence, but the problem is not simple and the answer is not to point the finger on social media. To start with, we have to actually talk to each other, and more importantly LISTEN. Everyone, gun control advocates, gun enthusiasts, law enforcement, everyone seems to be reasonable on this. If we decide to make change, then we can make change, but our house is divided on this, and big sweeping changes will have to be made from the ground up. We need to start with ourselves, with the people. We need to realize that “the other side” are our neighbors, and we do in fact agree on some basic facts.

If you are able, please come to the event and lend your voice to the conversation. I hope you hear what the other side has to say and come to the the same revelations that I did.

Posted in art

Timing and the American Gun Show

After announcing and opening the American Gun Show at Works SJ this weekend I have heard a few comments regarding the timing of the event. To explain this for those not up on the 24 hour news cycle in the US this is in response to the mass shooting that took place in Oregon on a community college campus on October 1st.

This is not a coincidence. That is not to say that we anticipated this heartbreaking event, but that there have been as many mass shootings in the US as there have been weeks this year. This is a tragedy, there is no time to talk about gun culture and gun violence without the specter of a mass killing to provide context. This is a national tragedy, and something needs to be done about this, but somehow I doubt the American people have the political will to do so. I would have expected swift action after the Sandy Hook tragedy, but there was none, and now with the tragedy of the week I am afraid that this has become the new normal. By normal I do not mean acceptable, but rather predictable. Watch the headlines and wait.

When we curated this show it was to talk about the deep cultural roots and representation of the gun in the American psyche, and in fact it seems that everyone has a gun story, good or bad. The sad truth is that both sides of the debate agree that we don’t want another massacre but because we are fighting what amounts to the other half of the population we can never figure out how to move forward. In the process of bringing this show together with my co-curator, I have experienced some of the most reasonable conversations with enthusiasts, and this makes the demonization that I am seeing in social media hard to deal with. If we don’t talk, this will never be addressed. If we fight each other and keep repeating “There is no reasoning with ‘them'” then there will be no conversation and the country will move on just like it did after 20 children were shot dead in 2012.

I have been paying attention too, which is to say that there sure are some steps that we might take, but this post is not about my opinions on that. We will not move forward if it is us against them, we have not moved forward.

Though this is an election year, all the noise is about hunkering down and getting the other side to give. I won’t even wish you luck with that one, you are however welcome to come to the table and have a conversation with other reasonable people.

I have been accused of being naive on this, that there is no way to make a change with talking (because “they” won’t listen), but my other option is to do nothing, and I opt for action and conversation.