1753 Gun Safety.

This is based on a real thing. They always said the guy shot himself accidentally, but its possible that he did it on purpose. It was apparently hard to tell for sure. In either case he was a dick. Went through six years of school with him and he was always a dick and there was no reason anyone could see except that’s just who he was. In retrospect he was not having the Asperger’s. He did not act like a dick in that way. It’s sometimes hard to make that kind of a call, but in his case it was not that way because he was fully aware of what a dick he was being and loving it. This is after years now of being around people who identify themselves as having Asperger’s. Their dickish behavior has this feeling of “I did what now?” instead of “Ha ha! Fuck you! Fuck you! You’re cool! I’m out!” That’s basically my shorthand for deciding if who I’m dealing with is “on the spectrum” as they say. Of course a lot of the time they tell you in the very first interaction if they have trouble identifying social cues, because the world is different now. This is much easier.

Sometimes people ask me if I’m “on the spectrum” and I’m like “no.” I’m pretty aware of the emotions of others. Hyper aware in fact. I have an almost crippling level of empathy with other beings. Sometimes even with inanimate objects. If there’s a reverse version of not being able to read social cues and having empathy that’s what I have. I do sometimes use words in ways that make people mad because my understanding of words is very nuanced, so when someone uses a word in a certain way I may react wildy differently than what they expect because their word choice has many subtle levels of meaning to me that they do not grant those words. I think this may come from the number of words I know compared to most people. Also my family seems to use some words in a very specific way that is not common to the outside world. It goes at least as far as my first cousins because I hear them doing the same kinds of verbal things while their partners don’t until many years of being together. So the way we talk is kind of viral and we impose it on the people around us. A weird specificity of language that has many subtle layers of meaning based on word choice, tone, and context. Since I’m hyper aware of this sort of thing I notice the differences between my family and other people. I think I could have been a good linguist because I really pay an abnormal amount of attention to how people talk.

I also adapt to the speech patterns of new people if I want to infiltrate their group but use my own style if I want to stay out of it, or take over the group.


Ok let me just state for the record, that i am on the spectrum, and sometimes i know i’m being a dick, i treat people generally how they treat me, if you’re an asshole i’ll make sure not to help you or do for you. If you are decent, i try to go out of my way to not be a dick if i don’t know a thing hurt you and you tell me, i will try to work on that. It is hard, but i need to be told most of the time. As long as you aren’t condecending about it, i do try.

For me (also being on the spectrum), it’s more of a give and take. Simply treating others how you’re treated is kind of a copout, in my opinion, because it assumes responsibility is on the other party for determining how you interact with them. This is inherently selfish and a form of resistance to change, something almost all people on the spectrum have issues with.

We are the ones with the problem, so it’s at least partially our responsibility to reach out. I do this by making it a point to not hold grudges and let go of my anger toward people who have wronged me, and to make sure people understand how difficult it is for me to tell when I’m annoying or insulting people. If they still act like dicks after that… well, I did my best, they aren’t worth my time or attention any further.

I’m on the spectrum too but I’m a pretty nice guy……….. Many of my friends would tell you that…….

Reminds me of the time a friend informed me about a boy in middle school who said he wouldn’t date me because he “didn’t date cows”. I was a little pudgy, but I wasn’t grotesquely overweight. Screwed me up for years.

Anyhow- this friend said,”hey, do you remember Sean ____” and I replied just like Thomas did. Then he followed up with,”he died drinking and driving.” All I had to reply with was,”Good. Hope he only took himself out and no one else. Ass.”

No shame.

There was a customer at my favourite comic shop – i’m actually inclined to think it might have been What’s-his-name that the FBI tried to fit up for the Olympic Park bombing.

He was a jerk who always talked about his guns and how he’d fight the State…

“about as good AND epitaph”

Nah, he’s talking about the epitaph, aka what is written on the tombstone that isn’t name or date, this is not an error.

He meant it should be AN epitaph instead of AND. Though when people talk proper grammar isn’t always a primary concern.

Not really worth bothering over, but it gave me a chuckle first time I read through the comic.

If you have even a little bit of common sense, you will never shoot yourself while cleaning a firearm. You can find safety lectures in books, online, or in person, usually for free. The NRA offers free safety classes. All of these classes will tell you how to unload a firearm, how to check that it is unloaded, and rules like “never point a firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy”.

So when I hear of a fatal accident while cleaning firearms, my first theory is that it was a suicide by someone who didn’t want it obviously to be a suicide. But, I accept the possibility that it could instead be someone with no common sense.

These stories are memorable because they are rare. People do dumb things with cars and die, and it’s not as big news because it happens so much. I guess more people are careful around firearms than around cars.

A lot of male suicides get labeled as “cleaning his gun” or “hunting accident”. It can happen, though.

Unfortunately, in my experience, most gun cleaning accidents result in someone else getting shot, not the one doing the cleaning.

If there’s something blocking the barrel, you have to take a good look at what it is, right? Also, like everyone else, when I’m cleaning a gun sometimes I just have to taste the barrel in my mouth for a little while. Perhaps dance around a little while I’m doing it.

I’ve heard that to instructors of gun safety, there are two types of people in the world, those who will have an accident with a gun and those who have had an accident with a gun.

The procedures are useful, but even smart people are tempted to do things differently until something happens. If they’re lucky, it’s just an accidental shot into a wall. If not…

I haven’t had an accident with any of my firearms in the thirty years of using/owning them. My grandfather taught me gun safety, him being a WW II veteran. It’s really easy to never risk shooting yourself by accident. It’s to the point that I don’t even think about doing it anymore, I just do it by trained reflex.

It is really simple, if it has a magazine, you eject the magazine, then remove the one in the chamber. The gun now has no ammo, and you can proceed to stripping/cleaning. If there is no magazine, simply eject the chamber to eject the rounds until no rounds come out, then one more time just to be sure. Again, now you have no rounds in the chamber, and can proceed to cleaning.

If you aren’t capable of performing this action as preparatory to cleaning a firearm, every time, without fail, then you probably shouldn’t own a firearm for not only your own safety, but also for the safety of everyone around you. Owning a firearm is a serious matter of responsibility. If you cannot handle that responsibility, you should not own one, just like you should not drive a car without being able to handle the responsibility of maintaining your driver’s license and obeying the laws of the road. As with a car, a firearm can accidentally injure or kill people if improperly handled.

This is not intended as an insult or an act of snide superiority, it is a matter of safety. I understand and accept that some people are incapable of following these procedures each and every time. And these are not bad people, nor are they ‘stupid’, nor are they necessarily unintelligent. It could simply be a matter of being absent-minded with respect to handling firearms, which is not something anyone would normally find fault with. I have several friends whom I really enjoy spending time with that fall into this category. And just like with a vehicle, I would never consider someone who does not wish to maintain a driver’s license to be ‘stupid’ or ‘unintelligent’. If anything, I would respect the fact that they know their own limitations and applaud the decision as a wise one, and wish that others who clearly cannot handle that responsibility would do likewise.

Your instructor made it sound like some kind of Russian Roulette, when in fact it should NEVER be anything remotely like this.

It’s more of a joke that you have to be pessimistic and assume shit can happen while handling guns (so you’ll never get sloppy) than an assessment that even if you follow safety procedures the gun will still magically malfunction.

The safety instructors that I have spent time with do not accept that accidents “just happen”, at least with modern firearms.

There are stories of true antiques (I’m talking 100 year old pistols) just sitting there and suddenly… *BANG* Some fatigued piece of metal gave way, the hammer drops, the firing pin strikes the chambered round, the pistol fires.

But modern firearms typically have multiple safety systems. The firing pin cannot strike the cartridge if the trigger is not pulled. If the firearm has a manual safety lever, then the firearm should not fire even if the trigger is pulled. So if you have the safety applied, and you keep your finger outside the trigger guard, there are two redundant safety mechanisms keeping it from firing.

I’ve talked to instructors who think the term “accidental discharge” shouldn’t be used… they prefer to say “negligent discharge” because in their view, a pistol should never fire by accident if the person wasn’t being negligent in some way.

If you think an accident is just something that happens when you are unlucky, and you want to own a firearm, I suggest taking more safety classes, possibly trying different instructors.

I realize that this is very late, but rereading thru the archives, I was reading comments and fell across this.

I just was to say that my family have been handling firearms for six generations now, more than 100 years, with absolutely no accidents and no one ever harmed.

Also nobody ever killed anybody, but that’s a different problem altogether.

As someone on the spectrum, I have a crippling amount of empathy but it’s more that I don’t know how to react in a way that won’t upset the other person (at least until I get to know them better). That’s probably why we seem to lack empathy to people.

However if you mistreat me (I’ve had people take the piss and even go as far as to fire me, using a bullshit reason, when they find out that I’m a “mere spastic”), you are in for problems it seems.

The first lot of arseholes involved got transferred to a real crap hole of a city after mistreating and firing me, that place remains one of the worst of their category in the country.

The second lot lost a major contract a while after they got rid of me for no reason (the contract holder is not likely to have listened to me and Christmas was coming so I was busy with that). They couldn’t/wouldn’t replace me so shit went downhill from there.

The final lot had their servers go kaput on them after hiring me and then saying they didn’t have time to train me a month in, which I know is BS because why hire someone if you don’t have time to train them? It was more they probably found out from the tax office that I was disabled and just didn’t want anything to do with a cripple. I don’t know enough about servers to do anything major that doesn’t involve a mallet and this was more a software crisis then a hardware one.

So yeah I don’t really get on with normals and thus stay the f#ck away from them where possible so that I don’t get burned again. Another reason why we seem standoffish and awkward.

All of this.

I absolutely cannot stand it when neurotypical people say that people on the spectrum just don’t have any empathy. We do. We have a hell of a lot of empathy. I’d even go so far as to say that many neurodivergents have a greater level of empathy than most neurotypicals. We just don’t show it the same way that you do, so you don’t notice it. Then you mock us for “not having empathy” so we stop bothering to care about you and spend our precious mental energy in other places instead.

I adopted a mocking tone at no point in that post.

Yeah, that actually makes it worse. You were serious when you said ‘I am super empathetic so I can’t be autistic’, showing not maliciousness but ignorance. How you respond will decide to the knowledge that you were ignorant, and wrong, will decide what sort of ignorance it is.

Saw this response, while scrolling through mine, somehow connected this response to mine. Apologies there, I’d say you’ve responded quite well! And again apologies.

“We just don’t show it the same way that you do, so you don’t notice it.”

It is a REEEEEEEE of Love.

“However if you mistreat me (I’ve had people take the piss and even go as far as to fire me, using a bullshit reason, when they find out that I’m a “mere spastic”), you are in for problems it seems.”

After many tense corporate disasters, the nice but weird IT cripple in the wheel chair squirms to look steadily in the camera then give a nasty smile. Freeze and ROLL CREDITS.

Yeah, ‘lack of empathy’ is a trait commonly ascribed to the Spectrum, but hyperempathy is also common (just often accompanied by poor faculty with social cues)- such individuals will care deeply and profoundly for the suffering of others(to the point where, for example, sitcoms become ruinously uncomfortable because the point is to laugh at this person suffering oh isn’t it funny that he’s suffering and WHAT KIND OF PERSON FINDS THAT FUNNY?), but can’t always tell when it’s happening, and can’t reliably intuit the things that people don’t say.

Lacking empathy doesn’t put you on the spectrum, it makes you a sociopath. My brand of autism means I have difficulty remembering certain aspects of social conduct because I often don’t see the point. But I absolutely have empathy; probably more than most.

Also: “identify themselves”? This is not something you diagnose yourself with — since it is literally how you are, it can be hard to see it in yourself.

I believe Jackie meant “identify themselves” in the, “Oh by the way, I’m autistic, so please be patient with me,” sense.

Probably wasn’t on purpose, but your lack of understanding of what Autism (and thus aspergers) really has actually brought you around to stating that you do, in fact, suffer from one of the key symptoms of the ‘spectrum’. You may not be on it, it’s much harder to diagnose adults then children and a lot of people who are on it are pretty high functioning (hence the constant changing landscape that is the ‘spectrum’) but you definitely explain, quite thoroughly, how you misunderstand social cues. The fact that you do it by analyzing word usage is actually a good example of a high functioning on the ‘spectrum’ person.

Also, while I realize it wasn’t intentional, suggesting that people on the spectrum lack empathy in anyway is a bit of a stereotype and I’d ask you not to spread it. Specifically, trouble expressing empathy is a common issue people on the spectrum have. Some of the most sensitive people I know are on the spectrum, constantly weighed down by how to help their friends without understanding how to do so. Not knowing how to help them, and not knowing what they’re expressing beyond your prior experiences inform you of, is very much a spectrum issue though.

So to recap

1.) Saying ‘people use words and they don’t understand what they mean’ is something people on the spectrum might experience, because they lack the inherent ability to understand the many, many other cues currently going on in the conversation. It is, in fact, a common issue I regularly run into myself.

2.) You can empathize all you want and still be on the spectrum. Lacking empathy has nothing to do with the spectrum or autism and the reason people think that, and are more and more associating the spectrum with sociopathy, is due to people not understanding that.

3.) Ironically these points are brought up specifically because of improper word usage and a failure to understand what they might convey on your part from other perspectives.

Jackie’s analysis of word usage during conversation could also mean that he speaks with a significant number of people who do not understand how to use words properly. For example, people say “respond back” incessantly within my workplace and it drives me to distraction because it is absurdly and obviously redundant. My entire family notices the same problem in their workplaces and in the general public, which doesn’t mean that we are autistic or have Asperger’s, it means that a large portion of the populace, regardless of education level, do not know how, or do not care, to use the English language correctly.

Until the commentary on this page I had never heard of “on the spectrum” and I couldn’t even deduce what it meant from context, so I had to google it. Expecting everyone to be familiar with the phrase seems a bit presumptuous to me, but that problem can easily be remedied by educating people as necessary. As with most things in life, proper communication makes life much easier, which is one reason why words are so important. If more people cared about language usage we’d all have an easier time expressing ourselves in a manner that others could understand. Unfortunately, that is becoming an increasingly uncommon attitude (at least in the US), and sometimes the indifference is made worse by open hostility to those who put the most effort into helping clarify communication. It may seem funny to call someone a grammar/spelling “Nazi”, but it only further illustrates the dismissive attitude towards clarity. Add to that the prevalence of (mostly) younger generations communicating almost entirely through abbreviated texting and social media chat and you have a growing divide in not only how people communicate, but how they perceive the world.

TL;DR – I don’t get the impression from any of Jackie’s posts that he has trouble understanding social cues, I think that he just suffers from a high degree of intelligence and facility with the English language, something which is increasingly rare and therefore increasingly frustrating to Jackie and those like him. He may have other issues (of which he mentions from time to time), but written communication is not one of them. If I’m wrong then I’m sure he’ll let me know in clear language. ;)

I can understand the last part of your post; as surely as Jackie would do: high facility , a relatively complex usage of your language can often put a barrier in communication with others that may not be so privvy to some elaborate phrases or diverse vocabulary on your part, thus making a conversation perhaps a bit awkward if you’re not careful. That is exhausting for some people, and kind of irritating or unconfortable to bear. I myself feel about this a lot, even on my mother language: I live in a part of my country which has plenty of mannerisms and speech figures, very local. Many people have told me, that my way of speaking is a bit from “the outside”, and quite well read, but that’s not all… despite living all my life in there, I speak like someone who has just come recently from the capital. None of that common lisping, and that soft tone used by the people around there isn’t present in me

This sort of misses the point about what the Spectrum, and Autism for those reading this conversation later, is about. High functioning autistic people are, on average, usually more capable in regards to intellectual discourse. Knowing all the words but not understanding how other people use them is not a sign of intelligence, it’s a sign of social dissonance that could be related to an inability to comprehend context clues provided by body language, tone and other social cues the majority of people comprehend to one degree or another inherently.

As someone who is a writer as a profession, I know all the bloody words and their use, and while I often need a few sweeps in long winded posts and chapters to make sure I am using them correctly, I don’t have that problem when listening to or reading other people talk. What I have a problem with is the context. In a book, someone will often write something like ‘in an angry tone’ or ‘in short, terse words’ to convey annoyance or anger. In real life, you have to know that’s what someone is conveying. When you don’t, you aren’t picking up on something fundamental happening in the conversation.

It was one said, quite arrogantly, that the average man is having five conversations at once. What he’s saying, what his tone is saying, what his body language is saying, what his words and what he is trying to convey. In a similarly funny moment, it was said that women were usually having eight or nine conversations.

Ultimately it was a bunch of pseudo-science people used to sound smart, but it has a note of truth, as many science headlines do these days. Language, i.e. the use of words to convey meaning, has not existed for as long as sapients on this planet have. We developed it some time after we had long created a knowable, understandable means to communicate with each other using sounds that meant little combined with body language and tone, among other things. Some part of every language still uses that. In some ways, a very simple and grammatically correct sentence can mean many different things based on the tone and body language used to express them.

An intelligent man might understand and grasp all the words meanings, but fail to grasp their intent, the thread that connects each word, the tone that is used on each word, the body language when each word is spoken, and so on. In this way, he is handicapped, blind to a truth the majority of people can see. But to him, it seems like people are simply not precise enough, or are too inarticulate, or are even improperly using those words when normally someone would understand based on context ‘the gist’ of what someone was trying to convey.

Knowing the words, but not grasping how and why they’re being used in a sentence, is a sign of a high functioning spectrum person. Not a guarantee mind you, but a definite indicator. Because one is rote memorization and the other is intuitive knowledge like fight or flight. Saying ‘he’s too smart to be autistic’ or ‘he’s likely just smart, not autistic’ fails to grasp that Autism is not always a form of mental retardation, i.e. a learning disability. As mentioned earlier, the average intellect of a high functioning autistic is usually higher. This fact is so prevalent that intelligence despite social ineptitude is actually considered an indicator by many, though not all, doctors who study this spectrum.

Other things to look out for
-Some Sensory input causes mental stress. Be it a loud noise, certain fabrics, some textures or tastes and even certain colors or patterns; any one of these can be an indicator that you are a person on the spectrum. I found out that I had been diagnosed as a child (the fact was hidden from me) by researching the question of why I couldn’t touch most common fabrics without being given the sensation of ‘nails on a chalkboard’ levels of distress, at minimum.

-Pain killers or local anesthetic either don’t work for you or have minimal effect. This is one of the newer ones to be discovered and linked to the spectrum. It has to do with how or body and brains process chemical inputs and what they produce in reply.

-Similarly, uppers and downers affect you differently. I don’t just mean hardcore drugs, though technically sugar should count was one as much as anything else considering it’s more addictive then cocaine. I mean caffeine, sugar and even alcohol. I find that in small doses, sips mostly, caffeine works for me as it does for anyone else. Beyond that it does the opposite. It makes me less aware, drowsy, so much so that I often seem ‘drunk’ when I consume to much. I once had a cup of something that was specifically brewed with warning signs for the feint of heart and it put me to sleep pretty darn quickly.

how does one use the English language correctly? When there are few set rules to start with? There are multiple variations on English as well eg. British, American, southern American etc. which one is correct?

Yeah I find some of the things said in the comments VERY OFFENSIVE. I’m high up on the spectrum and I have loads of empathy………………….. >:(

Every single incident of “shot self while cleaning guns” that I’ve heard about has involved alcohol. This is not an actual statistic, but I find it telling nonetheless.

I help with a couple of sci-fi and anime conventions, are a lot of people in those groups who are ‘on the spectrum’ and also a lot of assholes. I find a pretty sure way to tell which is which is to point out their actions. Someone who has trouble with social interactions will change what they were doing. Maybe to something also inappropriate, but they are trying to modify their behavior. An asshole will just keep being an asshole.

My father “suffered” from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He really ended up messing my sister and me up psychologically, belittling us whenever he got the chance and only saying nice things about us when it made him look good (ie. “well, my son just got his master’s degree”) etc. On at least one occasion, he choked my mother for embarrassing him, and belittled her when he found out she had been raped prior to their marriage. He divorced her when I was a teenager, moved to Mexico, and later married a girl younger than me (at the time, he was in his 60’s and she was 22). He cheated on both his wives regularly with prostitutes, and at some point he contracted HIV from one of them. That (combined with lymphoma) ended up killing him this year, after about a year of intense suffering.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t mourn him at all. He was my dad. But mostly the feeling was relief that he was finally gone. That seemed to be a common feeling, even from his brother. It is hard to feel bad for someone who spent their entire life treating like treating you like dirt, even when it is a family member who suffered and died.

[rantmode]I just don’t get it.I was a professional for years — an armed guard who made his living with a gun. When I was a kid, two people we knew — one was a neighbor nobody liked and the other the father of two kids we went to school with — died by a gun in their own hand. In both cases, we were told “The gun went off while he was cleaning it. Both had problems — the neighbor, well, that was pretty obvious, and many, many years later Mom stated she was surprised he didn’t take anyone else with him — and the kids’ father had insane financial issues. He was the meat department manager at a local chain grocery store (yeah, the one frequently mentioned in Family Guy), but he owed more than his house was worth in gambling debts. Like $60K in 1973 dollars.

My issue is this, though. I carried a gun for a dough for ten years. I own around eighty firearms — I have a special collector’s Federal Firearms License. I’ve forgotten more about guns than most people who read this will ever know. But how the hell do you shoot yourself while you’re trying to clean a handgun? For a revolver, the first thing you have to do is open the cylinder. That takes it out of battery and for most types, you can’t even pull the trigger. Even if you could, the firing pin is here and the round is here. No contact. For a semiautomatic, you take the slide off, or at least open it. Again, the gun can’t be fired. So no, I don’t believe it. [/rantmode]

“I have an almost crippling level of empathy with other beings. Sometimes even with inanimate objects. If there’s a reverse version of not being able to read social cues and having empathy that’s what I have.”

I get that, but I have social skills problems anyway because any time I tried to exercise my social skills when I was little, TERROR WAS INSTILLED UPON ME! My mother was very sick that way, but there were at least two other women who would do it too.

I tried to do the nuanced words thing too, but there was so much hate and I couldn’t tell it from discipline. I couldn’t tell the difference in facial expressions between upset but sympathetic or actual stern disapproval, either.

I never really wanted to be a lone wolf, but I had to in the end. That’s a real lone wolf; the concept has become divorced from its origin. Sometimes I want to make a film about how it really is. Huh… maybe I should make it the story of my comic. Would be painful to tell, but maybe possible now.

Going back to the emotion thing, I wonder if it’s related to histrionic personality disorder? I only learned about that the other day, and several details fit uncomfortably well.

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