Guns and Social Media

I’m from Los Angeles, which means I’m an actor, at least on paper. So, I’m in an acting class where we were using prop weapons for the scenes. I was onstage with other actors, doing a scene. The director yells “Cut!”. The actors relaxed and let our prop weapons that were in our hands swing around loosely and randomly. Unexpectedly, some of the class in the audience freaked out and ducked. To the audience, the toy prop was a real weapon – we’d made them believe it was a real weapon. Our acting coach became angry and admonished all of the students as if we had been holding real weapons. We were given an important crash course on being responsible with weaponry and caring for our audience and cast members. 

I’ve lived this same scene in real life several times. It may just be a nerf gun is pointed at me, but I freak out. When my kid makes a pretend pistol with his hand and points it at me, I flinch and duck – it’s a natural reaction. I don’t have time to figure out if the gun is fake, I duck. I hate even fake guns being pointed at me. It makes me feel vulnerable in the very place where I was feeling safe. Over and over, we have told our children not to even ever, ever point fake guns or even a pointed finger shaped gun, at anyone. It’s usually unsettling and can be traumatic for some.

In a martial art that I have practiced, the Sensei of Pacific Jujitsu Kai, asks students to only wear the Gi (kimono) jackets and belts (obi/faixa) inside of the dojo, removing the jackets and belt before leaving. I suspect that this is a fairly typical observation in martial arts given how few people I see in the market wearing Kimonos. Wearing a Gi and rank outside of the Dojo could invite potential fights, and it could also make regular people feel vulnerable and scared, as if the martial artist is looking for a fight. 

My point.

I don’t know what to make of my friends and family that post gun pictures on social media. I avoid posting pictures of meat because it will be unsettling for some people. Similarly, I don’t post pictures with firearms. I find no value in it. Gun photos can be confusing, scary and make people less safe, and maybe thats the point, I have no idea. People outside of the US would see a mass shootings in their country as a failure of the system, but see “a mass shooting in the US is part of the system” (Butler, 2019).

Social media is weird

In the U.S., there are practically no limitations on people owning an arsenal of useless and impractical guns. There are more guns in the US than people (World Population Review, no date). You and your bestie AK-15 can have a photo sesh and you can make that photo your profile statement. You shouldn’t have to be told that this is a not a great idea, and I suspect that few of your people will directly tell you that you are making them uncomfortable, mainly because you have a gun. Instead, your friends may just quietly disappear from your life without word.

Whose rights matter most?

Making sure that the people around us are kept safe is every persons responsibility. Article 3 of the Universal Human Rights proclaims that all people have the right to life, liberty and security of person. The UNHR further proclaims that people do not have the right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms of another person (UNHR, 1948). Responsible handling and display of weapons is crucial in maintaining safety and security in a society. Responsible laws and management of the systems impacting human life are needed to help ensure safety for all.

We just want different things

When living in Singapore, I was kept from entering the gate of my apartment complex because of a fight going on between two men. My ‘fight or flight’ mode kicked in and I grabbed my boy and began to run away in case either man had a gun. After a few steps though, I remembered that I was in Singapore and not the U.S. and that there was almost zero probability that either man had a weapon. So, my son and I sat down and waited while the two men continued to argue from opposite sides of the gate. The cops arrived and helped mediate and deescalate the argument and my son and I walked on to our apartment. 

In Singapore, every day is much like the previous where even the temp remains a predictable 28 C. This neutralised argument was by far the most exciting moment of my year in Singapore, which is exactly why people love living there. Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world. This incident happened four years ago when my son was 11 years old and he has no recollection of it. To put it another way, my son suffered zero trauma from the diciest encounter in his 15 years of life.

The only time we think about guns is when we travel back to the U.S. I’ve seen police in various countries carry weapons, but since normal people were unlikely to be carrying, the cops didn’t worry us. So, outside of the U.S., we didn’t spend time worrying about guns. It’s a pretty f*ed up thing to boast about if you think about it. But, I guess we just want different things. 



Butler, Jada. 7 August 2019. Vice, We Asked People Around the World What They Think of U.S. Gun Laws. Available at: (Accessed 19 March 2023)

World Population Review, Gun Ownership by Country 2023. No date. Available at: (Accessed 19 March 2023)

United Nations. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (10 December 1948) Available at: (Accessed 19 March 2023)

Not a weapon

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