Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

"I Fight With Weapons" -- Guns, Good Guys, and the Buffyverse

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • "I Fight With Weapons" -- Guns, Good Guys, and the Buffyverse

    Buffy said "these things? Never helpful" on the subject of firearms. Over the course of seven televised seasons, she makes clear she doesn't care for them or at least feel any use in relying on them. In Season 8, (spoiler, but very general)
    Spoiler:
    this personal choice is made into a mandate for all the Slayers in her organization -- with varying degrees of success.


    What do we make of this? Why are guns of the bad in the Buffyverse, for Slayers in particular? Is it just for Slayers that they are inappropriate, or for any good guys? Does it matter which series we're in, is it just right for one idiom over another?

    As best as possible, this shouldn't be a discussion of personal political opinnions about the real world -- granted, the Buffyverse itself is an extension of the beliefs of those that create it in some sense, but that's not what I'm interested in. Should Slayers, or any of the good guys, be allowed to use firearms as they see fit?
    sigpic
    Banner by LRae12

  • #2
    I never understood why Buffy hated guns so much, to be honest. I mean, is shooting someone any worse than shoving a stake in the heart? Would it have been better if Warren stabbed Tara instead of shot her? I really don't think it matters how you kill something, it's just the fact that you did the actual killing. In more modern times, it's easier to go around with a gun, but I do not understand why Buffy is all, "Yay! Knives and axes" and is then all, "Boo! Guns". I feel that she doesn't have a valid argument for this philosophy.

    Comment


    • #3
      Wesley's known for his use of firearms. It almost becomes his trademark. A rifle was sure useful in bringing down Skip. Half of Wesley's fighting capability was his marksmanship. It was Wesley's use of guns that allowed him to rival the muscle of Angel and Gunn.

      I think it's just a political anti-guns thing for Buffy.

      The ironic thing is how well guns have been shown to work. Buffy wasn't prepared for Darla to bring guns to the fight (and would have been in trouble if it hadn't been for Angel) and Warren did spectacular damage with a gun in Buffy's own sunny backyard. A threat that Buffy was not prepared for.
      Last edited by NileQT87; 12-01-09, 02:22 AM.

      "If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."
      "Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh and cruel. But that's why there's us. Champions."

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't think guns are generally helpful in taking down demons. Except for the rocket launcher taking down the Judge. Also, it'd make for a much duller and shorter series.

        Giles: Are you ready to train, Buffy?

        Buffy: (readies a pistol). Yep.

        Giles: Go.

        (Buffy shoots Giles in the kneecap)

        Giles: Good work.
        Last edited by C.O.D; 12-01-09, 02:36 AM. Reason: My original word choice for readies wasn't approved.
        And then Buffy staked Edward. The End.

        Comment


        • #5
          A simple external reason was given by Joss years back, stating that the reason he never used guns on the show was that he felt uncomfortable showing high school students packing guns, which I totally get. Especially considering what's gone in the US.

          However, for an in-verse reason, I do understand it a little. Buffy feels uncomfortable with it because her main job description is "vampire slayer" and guns don't kill vamps, but they can kill her. I understand Buffy choosing stakes over guns. A vampire could turn a stake on her, in fact it did in 'Fool For Love' and somewhat in 'Helpless' but Buffy can still stake the vamp. A gun is useless against a vamp but it isn't useless against her, if the vamp manages to turn the weapon on her, it could be game over for Buffy. I think that's the most practical reason. Why pack a weapon that's useless against your most common enemy?

          ~ Banner by Nina ~

          Comment


          • #6
            Aside from holy water and the cross, *every* weapon Buffy uses could be turned against her if she were disarmed. Indeed, she's been staked before in "Fool For Love", and nearly was killed with her stake in "Helpless". The time she was shot, she didn't bring the gun. So that argument doesn't persuade me much.

            I'm personally torn -- I get not having superheroes use guns in general, and I like the medieval weapons and martial arts in the Buffyverse. But I gotta admit, it does puzzle me that her rule seems to include everyone around her, like Giles, Xander, even Willow before she was so powerful. In "Angel", the darker of the two, guns were common place amongst the good guys. Kate, of course, carried a gun as a police officer. Wesley of course. Fred used them.

            In Season 4 of "Buffy", we got the Initiative who used firearms, and Buffy seemed pretty agreeable to the blaster and only gave up on it when she found it was sabotaged.
            sigpic
            Banner by LRae12

            Comment


            • #7
              Guns weren't around when the first Slayer was given her powers, and sharp, pointy objects were preferred. I think this trend continued on through the Slayer line and just became the norm. Giles taught Buffy how to use stakes, knives, etc. She got used to these weapons and felt safe using them, so guns were just unfamiliar and uncomfortable to her.

              As for Season 8:
              Spoiler:
              The ancient weapon with power only a Slayer can access is a scythe--another large blade. I think that, subsequently, this weapon became Buffy's trademark. It, along with the other knives/stakes/etc. became the symbol for Slayers. Using guns became taboo because it wasn't the norm for a Slayer.


              I don't think Buffy was averse to others using guns (seeing as how they saved her before and are actually quite effective), but I think she was referring to Slayers in general (especially herself) when she said that guns were never helpful. She had been trained to use other weapons, so they weren't helpful to her. Also, like you said Nile, Buffy saw great damage done when she herself was shot and Tara was killed. This just reinforced her already negative opinion and thus affected Season 8 as it did.

              EDIT: A few of you posted while I was writing my reply, so sorry if I repeated anything you said already.
              Last edited by ivory_lines; 12-01-09, 03:01 AM.
              Love isn't brains, children! It's blood, blood screaming inside you to work its will.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                Aside from holy water and the cross, *every* weapon Buffy uses could be turned against her if she were disarmed. Indeed, she's been staked before in "Fool For Love", and nearly was killed with her stake in "Helpless". The time she was shot, she didn't bring the gun. So that argument doesn't persuade me much.
                But not every weapon she brings with her can only kill her. Why bring a gun on patrol with you when it can't kill a vampire but can kill you? At least with the stake it's as deadly to them as it is to you, it'd basically be like bringing the Gem of Amara out on patrol. It does nothing good for you but it does pose a bigger threat to yourself, because should they get their hands on it during a fight it aids them. It can't do the same for you.

                ~ Banner by Nina ~

                Comment


                • #9
                  True, but guns can kill other demons. Her job isn't to just kill vampires. Guns would be incredibly useful to kill other demons. It's like a crossbow x100 speed, and more powerful. I agree with KoC, on a RL level, I can understand it, but if we're trying to make real sense of it, I honestly don't think there's a great way to make sense of it.

                  Instead of running up to a demon getting close, making Buffy more in danger, she could just be farther away and shoot the demon. *shrugs* Makes more sense to me

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well, I'm a die-hard pistolero myself, but I can think of a couple of reasons for the Slayers to avoid guns:

                    1. If you miss your target with a bow/crossbow/sword/stake, there's a very limited range for causing "collateral damage", while even small-caliber firearms can endanger people a mile away or more. It's the same reason I'm opposed to arming civilian police with fully-automatic weaponry such as the .22 machine gun some departments were given a few years ago that had a rate of fire of like 1200 rounds per minute. Too much risk of killing other people.

                    2. Slayers have always tried to be relatively covert. Banging away on the streets at midnight doesn't really help with that. Silencers don't really work that well on handguns, either; most silenced pistols tend to be in the .22 range, and, while a .22 will do the job if you put it in the right place, it requires precision shooting on a human, let alone demons with extra-human strength.

                    3. Following up on #2, getting caught with an unlicensed concealed firearm would result in a quick trip to the local lock-up in a significant portion of the U.S., not to mention other parts of the world where gun laws are even stricter than they are here. Add an unlicensed silencer to that mix, and you're looking at an even more serious charge. On the other hand, swords and bows and even stakes could be passed off relatively easily as weapons for a martial arts class, and each Slayer squad could set up a "class" as a cover to corroborate the story.
                    "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange..." - Willow Rosenberg, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                      What do we make of this? Why are guns of the bad in the Buffyverse, for Slayers in particular? Is it just for Slayers that they are inappropriate, or for any good guys? Does it matter which series we're in, is it just right for one idiom over another?
                      Given that guns don't kill most demons, and certainly not vampires, a gun isn't the handiest weapon in a slayer's armory. Though I always wondered why they couldn't make wooden/charcoal/whatevertheyare bullets, like on Supernatural.

                      Rowan Hawhthorn points out some other sound practical reasons why slayers and guns are unmixy things (collateral damage to non-demons, not terribly sneaky for late night graveyard activity, the social/political/legal difficulties that gun-toting bands of slayers might come into).

                      But I think the main reason behind Buffy's anti-gun stance is more of a gut-feeling thing, from the writers and for Buffy herself - she just doesn't feel comfortable with them. Perhaps it's part of the idea that the slayer isn't there to mete out human justice, so using arcane weapons seems to reinforce her separate sphere of responsibility? Also, she's at school at a time when school shootings were beginning to be a big thing, so that would have bad associations.


                      Given the teen-focus of the show, perhaps BtVS is trying to unpick the guns = glamour equation. IE you can kick ass without packing heat, kids. Frank Miller would probably faint at the thought.

                      I think there's also something about the aesthetic of the show that's quite making it up as you go along - improvised weapons as well as coming up with plans on the fly. So, you can make a stake out of anything wooden, while a gun is more of an industrialised object, not something you can knock up in wood shop.

                      Guns seem to fit more naturally in the world of AtS, with its street gangs and big city setting. Plus, it's more of a "professional" setting - Angel has a business, their enemies are a big business company, there are plenty of professional assasins and others in the mix.


                      -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                        A simple external reason was given by Joss years back, stating that the reason he never used guns on the show was that he felt uncomfortable showing high school students packing guns, which I totally get. Especially considering what's gone in the US.

                        However, for an in-verse reason, I do understand it a little. Buffy feels uncomfortable with it because her main job description is "vampire slayer" and guns don't kill vamps, but they can kill her. I understand Buffy choosing stakes over guns. A vampire could turn a stake on her, in fact it did in 'Fool For Love' and somewhat in 'Helpless' but Buffy can still stake the vamp. A gun is useless against a vamp but it isn't useless against her, if the vamp manages to turn the weapon on her, it could be game over for Buffy. I think that's the most practical reason. Why pack a weapon that's useless against your most common enemy?

                        I think this goes to the heart of it. She fights all manner of demons, but she's still called a 'vampire slayer' -- and guns, while not totally useless against them, aren't a lot of help there. And then there's the fact that few Slayers in recent times have been old enough to own handguns in most Western countries (Warren would not have been able to buy one at all, much less leave the store with it the same day in California, where there's a waiting period at least five days long) and the general difficulty of carrying them around.

                        The "never helpful" remark in "Flooded" is mostly just lampshade hanging, of course; they do that from time to time to cement the basis of what is really just a storytelling decision: Not only is it bad form to have teenagers running around shooting people, they wanted a show with lots of hand-to-hand combat. So they denigrate guns and mostly give them to characters we're not going to emphasize with (Cain, Warren, Darla, &c). It isn't always possible to give good, satisfying in-verse explanations for such decisions, but in this case there's at least some rational in-verse reasons for it.
                        Cordially,
                        Amuk

                        I didn't jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.
                        Addicted to Buffy

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm not sure I can come up with a good reason, but perhaps, it could be argued that she'd be breaking tradition in a way that's unfavorable to her side:

                          It seems that not only slayers, but most of their enemies, prefer to go for traditional weapons. If slayers began packing guns and shooting demons, chances are demons would do the same and shoot back.

                          Gunfights would take away most of the slayers' fighting advantage, and in fact it would give many demons (who aren't killed by guns) the upper hand.

                          Now, if demons regularly used guns, slayers would have to do so as well.
                          Last edited by EvilVampire; 12-01-09, 06:05 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, I'd never see the Buffyverse turn into "Equilibrium". And it's not even Buffy that I have in mind -- but I guess I would have liked to have gotten the impression that she wasn't adverse to guns given their practicality. Compare to Angel -- ("Angel: After the Fall" spoiler)
                            Spoiler:
                            when he fights Illyria he grabs for a gun and comes up firing at her, because it was about the most productive thing he could try. Granted, this is before the big reveal, but it didn't seem out of place for him, even as a vampire fighting her, to at least try.


                            As an aside, I always thought that Slayers may have a native understanding of all weapons. Buffy looked more than competent disassembling Jonathan's rifle, like she'd been doing it for years, and she certainly seemed competent with the pistol she took off the Watchers in "Who Are You?"

                            Didn't Buffy actually wield a gun at some point in the early seasons? Like, she took it off someone? I could have sworn that Buffy brandished a gun on someone early in the series.
                            sigpic
                            Banner by LRae12

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                              Didn't Buffy actually wield a gun at some point in the early seasons? Like, she took it off someone? I could have sworn that Buffy brandished a gun on someone early in the series.
                              Well, she does use a rocket launcher, so she's clearly not averse to mechanised weapons - nor is she un-handy with them - when it seems the right tool for the job


                              -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                As an aside, I always thought that Slayers may have a native understanding of all weapons. Buffy looked more than competent disassembling Jonathan's rifle, like she'd been doing it for years, and she certainly seemed competent with the pistol she took off the Watchers in "Who Are You?"

                                Didn't Buffy actually wield a gun at some point in the early seasons? Like, she took it off someone? I could have sworn that Buffy brandished a gun on someone early in the series.
                                In "Homecoming", she picks up the hunter's rifle when he steps in a trap and threatens him with it, and then takes it with her when she and Cordelia leave. Unfortunately, Cordelia wastes the last shot in the magazine. Buffy has also used the tranq rifle a couple of times.
                                "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange..." - Willow Rosenberg, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                  Didn't Buffy actually wield a gun at some point in the early seasons? Like, she took it off someone? I could have sworn that Buffy brandished a gun on someone early in the series.
                                  She took the cop's gun away from Giles in "Band Candy" but he was the one who brandished it to threaten Ethan. Xander has one that actually proves somewhat useful in "Halloween". And, of course, Buffy takes a rifle off of the hunter in the bear trap in "Homecoming" (in that case, it's the only weapomn available).

                                  IOHEFY probably doesn't count.
                                  Cordially,
                                  Amuk

                                  I didn't jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.
                                  Addicted to Buffy

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                    Well, I'd never see the Buffyverse turn into "Equilibrium". And it's not even Buffy that I have in mind -- but I guess I would have liked to have gotten the impression that she wasn't adverse to guns given their practicality. Compare to Angel -- ("Angel: After the Fall" spoiler)
                                    Spoiler:
                                    when he fights Illyria he grabs for a gun and comes up firing at her, because it was about the most productive thing he could try. Granted, this is before the big reveal, but it didn't seem out of place for him, even as a vampire fighting her, to at least try.
                                    You bring up Buffy's use of a gun in Who Are You? and that's comparable to your Angel: After the Fall example. Both Angel and Buffy use a gun when it's the only weapon at hand. It's all Angel had at the time and it's all Buffy had to use for leverage to be freed. Yet Angel never carries a firearm during After the Fall when he arguably could use one (Angel: After the Fall spoiler)
                                    Spoiler:
                                    being human and all - so why does Angel not carry a gun when he's human but Wesley has in the past?
                                    .
                                    Last edited by Emmie; 12-01-09, 08:12 PM.
                                    sigpic

                                    Banner Set by thedothatgirl

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Buffy fights with whatever weapon is handy pretty much all the time -- we've seen her patrol unarmed before, pretty often. She's good with improvised weapons and taking weapons off enemies (she claims them more than a few times -- such as the sword in "Older and Far Away").

                                      As a minor point of interest, I was reading Omnibus Volume 5 of the original, non-canon Dark Horse comics, most of which is set around and during Season 4. In some of these issues, Buffy carried what appears to be basically a revolver with an extra-large cylinder (think Hellboy's gun) -- it fires stakes. It seemed incredibly more useful than the more common crossbow.

                                      I've said before in conversations with friends that the "Buffy" and "Blade" mythologies aren't all that different in terms of killing vampires, just with wood vs. silver. People have thought before of the potential of wood or wood polymer slugs in firearms that Buffy could use. Now, this does come up against the core aesthetic of the series, and also the practical concerns of Buffy having unlicensed weapons. But it again reminds me of the innovations possible and the things Buffy could still use. And "these things? Never helpful" just isn't all that convincing. Amuk is right, it was basically there to hang a lantern on the show just not using guns at all.

                                      Thanks for spotting the "Homecoming" thing -- Buffy clearly had no compunction about firearms there, and claimed that rifle as surely as she would have used a a dropped sword or a piece of wood.
                                      sigpic
                                      Banner by LRae12

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                        Buffy fights with whatever weapon is handy pretty much all the time -- we've seen her patrol unarmed before, pretty often. She's good with improvised weapons and taking weapons off enemies (she claims them more than a few times -- such as the sword in "Older and Far Away").
                                        Right. All I'm saying is that particular example of Angel using a gun wasn't done because he consciously chose it as the best weapon to bring to a fight. It was the only thing he had at hand so he used it. Just like Buffy. She'll use a gun when it's handy, but she never goes out of her way to arm herself with guns. The only characters who do consciously arm themselves with guns are Wesley and Lilah. Sidebar: when does Wesley start packing heat 24/7? Was it after he was stabbed in the throat by a very human Justine?

                                        But back to slayers. Would it be fair to say the majority of demons they face are vampires? And guns are inadequate in a vampire fight (unless it's a massive shotgun that'll blow off the vamp's head). So guns aren't the ideal weapon for a slayer to be carrying around. I think we've found enough examples of Buffy using guns when it suits her, but she doesn't see them as useful enough in day-to-day slaying.
                                        sigpic

                                        Banner Set by thedothatgirl

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X