When Guns Matter
An Uncomfortable Conversation
The morning after the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Florida, the Gay Pride March was happening blocks away from my home in West Hollywood. Watching the news that morning, tears welling up, I knew something had to be done. Crestfallen, I walked my dogs towards the parade. To my horror and anger, a group of West Hollywood Sheriffs protected a man on a platform holding a megaphone, screaming the most heinous remarks at the parade marchers. Things that I will not repeat here, though some of the comments have lingered in my head to this day. I ran to the cop and said, “What the fuck are you doing protecting this guy?” The response about protecting an American’s First Amendment rights made me realize an amendment needed to be made to the First Amendment. As the world has continued spiraling down into the depths of social media, free speech hell, more than ever, we need to amend the First Amendment. It seems like screaming “fire” in a movie theater is a step up to the crap we are seeing and hearing from both political party extremists.
Shortly after that day, I contacted the newly formed Gays Against Guns in New York City, which opened the Gay Pride Parade a few weeks later. They asked me to start the LA chapter of Gays Against Guns. We formed quickly, did several die-ins, marches, and activations, and created a coalition of gun legislation organizations like Women Against Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign To End Gun Violence. Gosh, 2016 feels like centuries ago. What put a crimp in our activist style was the results of the presidential election when Hillary Clinton lost. Shortly after that, our group disbanded. Nothing mattered anymore. The aftereffect of that election felt like the day the US economy was shut down due to Covid in March of 2020. The end of the world was nigh both times. Life as we knew it was over…is over. Gays Against Guns is still active in several cities and is committed to ending gun violence. They are a great group of anti-gun activists.
We see how gun deaths and violence are at an unprecedented all-time high. Since the lockdown, MAGA fascists are not only lurking in every corner but have been elected to Congress. Racist, homophobic, and antisemitic attacks have multiplied exponentially, and it is unsafe to even go to Traders Joe’s these days.
I read an article today about a group of Orthodox Jewish women in Los Angeles that have started the Frum Gun Club and are carrying weapons to attend synagogue and protect their neighborhoods. Between 2020 and 2021, antisemitic hate crimes increased by nearly 20 percent, according to the FBI, which also said Jews accounted for most religious-based hate crimes committed that year. The number of hate crimes targeting Jews was up 36 percent last year, an all-time high, according to the Anti-Defamation League. And frankly, I don’t blame them. Hate mail is readily distributed in the Jewish parts of LA, and MAGA morons chose Beverly Hills for all their Trump rallies and marches. Talk about, “There goes the neighborhood.” These sharpshooting women have licenses and are properly trained experts at handling Glocks. Most importantly, out of necessity, they are committed to protecting their families and loved ones, and I say, “You go, girls.”
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