I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to communicate through my comics and games, about the experiences I hope that a reader has or the ways in which players interact with the games I design. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about unintended consequences, because these are (by nature) things that you probably didn’t consider, and would have done differently if you had…
Cases in point: tattoos, guns and the Second Amendment.
I don’t think that I necessarily support anyone’s argument (on either side) when it comes to the Second Amendment. I played with GI Joes when I was a kid, I played ‘war in the fields’ with my friends throughout middle school and into high school (wielding replica weapons and wearing surplus store uniforms and carrying surplus store gear). I have spent a large chunk of my adult life drawing guns and imagining how an explosive device can blow something up.
However, I don’t own a gun, and never intend to. I would never consider joining the NRA. I’m not a fan of hunting, although I have nothing ethically/morally/socially/philosophically against it. I generally think that killing is bad if you can avoid it, and peace is better whenever and wherever it presents itself as an option. War is an invariable aspect of the human condition; when we are done with war, we will probably also be done with life on earth and be ready for the next thing. Until then, war is going to happen.
It occurred to me this week in sending in my tattoo order that 3 of the 4 images that I am encouraging people to affix to their skin show insects wielding guns. I’m promoting body art (a thing I actually don’t really like) and guns (something I don’t know where I stand on) by default.
In the end, you respond how you are going to respond to any creative work. On some level, the creator has a responsibility to make sure that the story ends up reflecting the beliefs that he or she truly wishes to espouse. For me, those issues are bigger than guns or tattoos (or Sarge’s smoking while I’m at it – I don’t particularly like the smell of cigars, and I think smoking in general = 0 benefit with substantial costs all the way around).
I don’t suppose that Tolkien lost much sleep in thinking about the implications of including war, violence and weapons at the center of his narratives, so I probably don’t have to lose much sleep over it either. Still and all, I wanted to at least mention it…