Papa Libertarian helped to organize and promote several Pink Pistols chapters; groups of LGBT folk and friends who meet to practice and advocate for the safe, responsible, and legal use of firearms for self-defense and recreation.
While LGBT folk come from everywhere, including gun-friendly homes, beginning shooters are not always comfortable “coming out” in gun organizations. There’s a negative stereotype about red-necked NRA members. It’s true, a lot of older members, especially from the military, aren’t going to be our best buddies when it comes to gay rights. But the younger generation has different attitudes; and I have delivered talks and competed in competitions; nobody has ever given me grief for being gay. When everybody is armed, grief-making tends to be minimized.
On the other side, I’ve taken flak from gay rights activists who really don’t understand why people would arm themselves; why not just call the police?
Recent events may cause people to reconsider the advisability of calling the police for help; all too often, you might become a victim of a beating or choking or shooting incident – by a person with a badge and uniform! A lot of us would prefer to stay away from the police nowadays. Much of the news has reminded us that minorities are often presumed to be “thugs” or “perps.” Sexual minorities aren’t in much better position, are they?
So, then, self-defense. A black man, asked why he carried an AR-15 in Arizona, replied “It’s easier than carrying a cop around.” Dialing 9-1-1 and waiting seems like a nice theory, but when you think about the response time, and the possibility of being harmed by your “protectors” and “servants”, that prescription starts to smell of pink unicorns and rainbow farts.
There are a hundred reasons not to pick up a weapon, some of which are valid. You might, for whatever reason, be incapable of taking a human life, even in self-defense. You might be too crazy, too prone to taking life for bad reasons. If so, by all means, self-limit; do not purchase a weapon. You may be concerned about training – nothing you can’t fix, by taking lessons and applying yourself.
Or you might have a hundred bogus reasons. For help with those, turn to Gun Facts, a free PDF which debunks many of the common myths. As I post this, they’re up to version 6.2.
One of my favorite books is Negroes With Guns, by Robert F. Williams.
Williams, in Monroe, NC, had a problem. His friends and neighbors were getting beaten, lynched, and harassed, and the local police were no help at all. In fact, some of the local police were wearing white sheets at night and riding with the KKK. If the police would not defend Negroes, if the police were part of the problem, then Negroes had to defend themselves. And so he formed the Deacons For Defense.
He heard many arguments against, and refuted them all. One was that armed Negroes would be dangerous – the answer is “only to those who mean them harm.”
Another argument is that this would spiral out of control, into a war of Negro against White. The gist of his argument is that armed, peaceful defense is self-limiting. Actual defense does not lead to war. Let the KKK withdraw, and there would be peace.
Williams and his armed neighbors did face the KKK. A few shots were fired, and the folks under the sheets did an existential re-calculation; when people can and will shoot back, your own life is at risk. This isn’t as much fun as attacking defenseless people. It is no longer risk-free. So the KKK withdrew. They did not want a level playing field.
When all is said and done, that’s what Pink Pistols is about: a level playing field. A declaration that our queer lives are worth defending, and will be defended.