Pink Pistols: Displaying Good Judgement and Common Sense After Orlando Shooting, LGBT Group Embraces Armed Self-Defense

la-me-lgbt-guns-pink-pistols-photos-001

Without self-defense, there are no gay rights

Hailey Branson reports: Jonathan Fischer is never sure who’s going to be more surprised when he, as he likes to put it, comes out of the gun closet — the gun aficionados who find out he’s gay or the gay friends who find out he likes shooting guns.

“If someone was to try and break into my home, and especially if someone were armed, I don’t want to fight back with a kitchen knife, and I don’t think that’s extremist or crazy.”

— Jonathan Fischer

When the 38-year-old television editor showed up last month to a defensive handgun class near Piru with a Glock 27 pistol on his hip, he wore a T-shirt sporting a rainbow-colored AK-47. His “gay-K-47,” he said.

In the days after 49 people were fatally shot at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., this summer, Fischer wanted to do something to make his community safer. So he started the West Hollywood chapter of the Pink Pistols — a loosely organized, national LGBT gun group.

“If someone was to try and break into my home, and especially if someone were armed, I don’t want to fight back with a kitchen knife,” Fischer said.  “And I don’t think that’s extremist or crazy.

la-me-lgbt-guns-pink-pistols-photos

“We wish to dispel the misleading and insulting caricature that supporters of Second Amendment rights are either tobacco-chewing, gap-toothed, camouflage-wearing rednecks or militia posers who are morbidly fascinated with firepower.”

It’s a stark contrast to how the overwhelming majority of LGBT activists andemily-gun organizations responded to the Orlando massacre, which has sparked calls within the community for gun control.

[Check out Emily Miller’s book Emily Gets Her Gun” from Amazon]

In the wake of the shooting, some gay bars like the Abbey in West Hollywood beefed up security. The same day as the Orlando mass shooting, L.A.’s annual gay pride parade was rattled after a heavily armed man en route to the event was arrested.

For all the anxiety Orlando has caused, many gay activists say becoming armed is not the answer.

“Some people say you need a gun to protect yourself from the bad guys. We just fundamentally disagree with that,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “We don’t want to live in a world where you have to be packing heat to live your daily life.”

la-me-lgbt-guns-pink-pistols-photos-007

But for a small subset of the community, Orlando has become a call to arms.

[Read the full article here, at the LA Times]

When the firearms instructor at the range near Piru asked each person in the class why he or she was there, Fischer ticked off several reasons and mentioned the Pink Pistols.

concealed-carry-afp-640x480

“What is the Pink Pistols group?” a man asked.

There was a pause.

[Read the full text here, at the LA Times]

“We’re — a gay gun group,” Fischer said hesitantly. He tried quickly to explain.

Gun owner Elizabeth Southern, left, trains with a handgun at a gun range near Piru.

“No, that’s awesome,” the man said, nodding reassuringly.

Interest in the Pink Pistols has increased since the Orlando attack, with new chapters springing up across the country, including the West Hollywood chapter and another one in North Hollywood. There was such an outpouring of support from firearms trainers, many of them straight, that the Pink Pistols’ website now has a map listing LGBT-friendly firearms instructors in every state.

[Read the full story here, at the LA Times]

The week of the attack, signs depicting a rainbow-colored Gadsden flag and the hashtag #ShootBack appeared in West Hollywood, where an estimated 46% of the population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. City officials were outraged.

la-me-lgbt-guns-pink-pistols-photos-009

“Not all that many gay people would need to carry guns, as long as gay-bashers couldn’t tell which ones did.”

“Even during our heightened days of civil disobedience and protest, we have only advocated peaceful means, never arming ourselves and retaliating with violence,” said City Councilman John Duran, who is gay.

Gwendolyn Patton, the national spokeswoman for the Pink Pistols, has spent the summer trying to keep up with the more-guns-less-crimeall inquiries about the group and how to start new chapters.

[See John R. Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition (Studies in Law and Economics) at Amazon]

“People don’t like to feel helpless,” said Patton, a lesbian who lives outside Philadelphia.

The Pink Pistols has received a mostly negative response from the broader LGBT community, she said. Some LGBT centers, she said, have even specifically banned the Pink Pistols from using their facilities.

The group dates to 2000 when gay author and journalist Jonathan Rauch wrote an article for Salon.com calling for gay people to “set up Pink Pistols task forces,” get licensed to carry guns and arm themselves to protect their community.”

1-katherine-mystik-gunn-122000-from-3-tournaments

“Not all that many gay people would need to carry guns, as long as gay-bashers couldn’t tell which ones did,” Rauch wrote.

Rauch told The Times he wrote the article at a time when the brutal murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard negores-guns-bookwas still fresh in the public consciousness. It woke people up, he said, to what gay people had known all along: “that we were targets of day-to-day terrorism.”

[Order Nicholas Johnson’s book “Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms” at Amazon]

“There is a huge amount of anti-gay stereotype in America that has to do with weakness — people calling us limp-wristed and fairies,” Rauch said. “Over the years, many gay people came to internalize this stereotype and assume that we are weak and defenseless, and of course we are not.”

The first Pink Pistols chapter, taking its name directly from Rauch’s article, was started in Boston just after its publication, Patton said. Today, there are 50 chapters in the U.S. and Canada. Read the rest of this entry »


The Power of Hidden Law

breakfastattiffanyspartycrop

Don’t interrupt the conversation of civilization

“…there’s a strongly held view in Hollywood and D.C. that says that without the government in Washington American society would descend into anarchy almost instantaneously.”

Jonah Goldberg writes: Hidden law was a term coined by Jonathan Rauch, who basically updated a lot of ideas familiar to readers of Burke, Hayek, Oakeshott, and Albert Jay Nock. Calling himself a “soft communitarian,” Rauch put it very well so it’s worth quoting him at length:

A soft communitarian is a person who maintains a deep respect for what I call “hidden law”: the norms, conventions, implicit bargains, and folk wisdoms that organize social expectations, regulate everyday behavior, and manage interpersonal conflicts. Until recently, for example, hidden law regulated assisted suicide, and it did so with an almost miraculous finesse. Doctors helped people to die, and they often did so without the express consent of anybody. The decision was made by patients and doctors and families in an irregular fashion, and, crucially, everyone pretended that no decision had ever been made. No one had been murdered; no one had committed suicide; and so no one faced prosecution or perdition.

“The enemy of hidden law is not government, as such. It is lawyers.”

Hidden law is exceptionally resilient, until it is dragged into politics and pummeled by legalistic reformers, at which point it can give way all at once. The showboating narcissist Jack Kevorkian dragged assisted suicide into the open and insisted that it be legalized (and televised). At that point, the deal was off. No one could pretend assisted suicide wasn’t happening. Activists framed state right-to-die initiatives, senators sponsored bills banning assisted suicide, and courts began issuing an unending series of deeply confused rulings. Soon decisions about assisted suicide will be made by buzzing mobs of lawyers and courts and ethics committees, with prosecutors helpfully hovering nearby, rather than by patients and doctors and families. And the final indignity will be that the lawyers and courts and committee people will congratulate themselves on having at last created a rational process where before there were no rules at all, only chaos and darkness and barbarism. And then, having replaced an effective and intuitive and flexible social mechanism with a maladroit and mystifying and brittle one, they will march on like Sherman’s army to demolish such other institutions of hidden law as they encounter.

bunchoflawyers

The enemy of hidden law is not government, as such. It is lawyers. Three years in law school teach, if they teach nothing else, that as a practical matter hidden law does not exist, or that if it does exist it is contemptibly inadequate to cope with modern conflicts. The American law school is probably the most ruthlessly anti-communitarian institution that any liberal society has ever produced.

Read the rest of this entry »


Gut Check: Lessons in Lockstep

gut_check

Greg Gutfeld writes: Last week, Nelson Mandela died. There were more than enough touching eulogies, and any attempt by me would be shoddy, with the depth of a contact lens. Better to sit back, shut up, and think about a lesson to learn from this great man’s life.

I remember in college avoiding the apartheid issue because it wasn’t part of the way I saw the world. As a staunch anti-communist, I could not abide by the African National Congress, who were backed by the USSR among other nondemocratic entities. I was on the right team, no doubt, as history has shown, but I was wrong on where my allegiances took me, regarding South Africa. I wasn’t supportive of the place. I just wasn’t crazy about any of the players.

My point: The danger of dedicating yourself to “the team” is an immunity to critical thinking. You avoid having to make tougher decisions, or listening, or admitting you might be wrong if you adhere completely to the ideology of the group you’re in.

Don’t get me wrong. The fight against communism was the fight worth having. But it prevented me from seeing that, despite the relationship between communism and Nelson Mandela, I should have been able to handle several thoughts and truths. Why can’t I renounce communism, want to win the Cold War, but accept the necessity of Mandela’s fight? I can enjoy both death metal and poppy electronica — so why can’t I be a cold warrior and a proponent of legitimate revolution? It’s a shallow comparison, but I am a shallow person.

Read the rest of this entry »


What Obama and the Tea Party Have in Common

State Senator Barack Obama, Hyde Park Herald, July 11, 2001

State Senator Barack Obama, Hyde Park Herald, July 11, 2001

George F. Will: writes:  Much is wrong with Washington these days, including much of what is said about what is wrong. Many Americans say there is “too much politics” in Washington. Actually, there is too little. Barack Obama deplores “politics as usual” here. But recently Washington has been tumultuous because politics, as the Framers understood it, has disintegrated. Obama has been complicit in this collapse.His self-regard, the scale of which has a certain grandeur, reinforces progressivism’s celebration of untrammeled executive power and its consequent disparagement of legislative bargaining. This is why Obamacare passed without a single vote from the opposition party — and why it remains, as analyst Michael Barone says, the most divisive legislation since the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act.

Obama and his tea party adversaries have something important in common — disdain for the practice of politics within the Framers’ institutional architecture. He and they should read Jonathan Rauch’s “Rescuing Compromise” in the current issue of National Affairs quarterly. Read the rest of this entry »