Gun Porn and Missing Minorities

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The first time a friend sent me an e-mail marked “gun porn” I nearly blocked him for life.  (I’m not a shooter and I cannot even imagine a justification for the existence of pornography.)  A quick WTF phone call later he convinced me to open the file.  It was a picture of a Browning shotgun.  That was all.  But it was my first real initiation into the world of shooters.  Some people memorize baseball statistics from forty years ago.  Other people know who was in every draft pick, and then there are those friends of mine who can put an upper receiver on their Facebook page and have their friends accurately guess which weapon it’s for.

Gun fashion has been around for as long or longer as there have been silent movies to show them.  When I was growing up in the 1980’s the M-16 and the Uzi were the sexy guns.  Every action movie had at least one or both of them if it had any guns at all, and they were seen doing impossible jobs of spraying down bad guys.  Like a dynastic cycle of destruction each weapon is new or special, then commonplace, and finally a joke.  Do you remember the scene in True Lies where Jamie Lee Curtis drops a sub-machine gun and it bounces down some stairs killing terrorists with every bounce?  The 1990’s saw the rise of the Desert Eagle as the new sexy gun.  It’s in Snatch, The Matrix, and many others.  Stargate-SG1 turned the P-90 submachine gun into the perfect gun for the better part of a decade.  The blocky profile of Glock sidearms is fading.

In order to be a sexy gun it has to look cool, be new or exotic, and carry a certain sense of menace.  The Desert Eagle’s heavy caliber made it stand out.  The P-90’s compact lines and high rate of fire was a surprise that producers fell in love with, though part of me mourned the on-screen passing of the H&K MP5 I had associated with special forces for so long.

I’m writing about this because I have seen the gun I expect to fit the role of the next sexy gun in fiction.  Smith & Wesson has a new hand cannon, the Performance Center .460.  This firearm is relatively new and exotic.  While it looks like a standard revolver on HGH, the “backpack cannon” can fire various rounds including rifle rounds.  It looks ridiculous, has menace, and I am not going to be the only fiction writer to pick up on the appeal of customizable ammo in a firearm like this.

I expect to see the new Smith & Wesson on the big screen before next Christmas, and in books sooner than that.

***

For the past thirty plus years Western fiction has pushed social boundaries to include a marginalized part of the population: active homosexuals.  Ellen Degeneris took an immense hit but soldiered on.  Now openly-gay characters are common in fiction, part of the token-minority mix.  The Mortal Instruments series seems to be about one-third homosexual in the first few books that I’ve managed to get through.  Ten to twenty-five percent of characters these days are portrayed as homosexual even though the actual numbers are 1.5 to 3% depending on the more modern study you use.

I review material from a medieval Christian perspective, which has a mixed approach to the topic.    For one thing, the entire concept of someone being defined by what attracted them is less than 200 years old.  Before then we were defined by our parents, our nations, and the actions we took.  I still subscribe to those ideas as much more Biblical than the modern terms which do not lend themselves to easy analysis.

I would rather have homosexual characters than bigotry and hatred.  Traditional Christians tend not to believe that homosexual acts are moral, but one benefit that these characters have given is to call up the double-standard that so many have held for so long.  Gay-bashing tends to be a description of aggressive speech, but in my childhood I learned about it as acts of physical violence.  Within the past year I have heard more than one nominal Christian talk about attraction as a justification for violence.  “If he hits on me I’m going to beat his a–.”

I hope and pray for the day that these double-standards go the way of segregation and Jim Crow laws.  They cannot stand in the light of the Gospel which calls us to love others as God has loved us.  If we were bullied, verbally harassed, and threatened we would want love, comfort and support.  Yes, it is true that this is the same minority whose activists in California have attacked churches with manure and bodily fluids, disrupted worships, and acted in socially aggressive fashions to silence traditional faiths.  So what?  Even if they were our enemy there is a command on how to treat our enemies as well.

But there is still a missing minority in fiction, particularly in Christian fiction where they most sincerely belong.  The same Christian passage that gets cited so often against homosexual acts doesn’t get the full quotation:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. –1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV

The homosexual population is between 1.5 and 3%.  According to biochemist and statistician Dr. Neal Whitehead as many or more people are former homosexuals.

n the identical twin studies, Dr. Whitehead has been struck by how fluid and changeable sexual identity can be. “Neutral academic surveys show there is substantial change. About half of the homosexual/bisexual population (in a non-therapeutic environment) moves towards heterosexuality over a lifetime. About 3% of the present heterosexual population once firmly believed themselves to be homosexual or bisexual. Sexual orientation is not set in concrete.”

But if it was important to portray homosexual characters in fiction, why is it less important to portray the minority of people who used to be homosexual and no longer live that way?  Is the Christian message to pretend they do not exist?

I’m opening this one for discussion.  Does anyone know some Christian fiction or non-Christian fiction that has a portrayal (a portrayal, not a mockery or attack) of this silent minority?  What was it?  What did you think?

One of the projects that I’m currently fleshing out is a story about a former homosexual hero, because I think it can serve all the benefits of homosexual characters (decreasing hate, building understanding) without the militant threat of homosexual activism or the theological tangle of licentiousness.

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