The media can report and comment on current events, as long as those events are easily categorized by labels – Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, etc. – and the narratives that describe these events are easily constructed and controlled by the media. As soon as something comes along that mixes up two [allegedly] diametrically opposed labels, they don’t know what to do with it. So, they ignore it.
Take for instance gun rights groups. The media often portray them as anti-government, militant extremists, or white supremacist, militia members. Open-carriers are portrayed as bullies who want to force their guns down other people’s throats. Concealed carriers are said to have a “hero complex.”
In contrast, members of the LGBT community are portrayed as constantly mistreated and persecuted – victims of hate crimes committed by straight, white males and an overall “heteronormative” society. Members of the LGBT community have been known on many occasions to commit “hate crimes” against themselves, knowing that the media will immediately jump to their rescue. Even when the story is revealed to be a hoax, the media is still there to protect them and remind viewers that these are very emotionally damaged people.
But what happens when you have a “gay” gun rights group like the Pink Pistols? And not only that, but following the Orlando shooting, membership in this particular gun rights group has apparently skyrocketed. From USA Today:
Dylan West says the Pink Pistols gun club in Atlanta has been a stagnant group since he joined a year ago. But that’s all changed now.
The gun club for LGBT people has roughly doubled in size to 230 members following this month’s nightmarish shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub that left 49 dead and 53 injured.
“There’s always been a necessity for self-defense in the LGBT community,” said West, who grew up in Alabama surrounded by guns.
Pink Pistols has 35 active chapters across the U.S., and nationally, its Facebook membership has increased from 1,500 before the shooting to about 6,500 as of Monday afternoon, spokeswoman Gwendolyn Patton said. That hike has encouraged some and worried others.
Patton said several of the chapters have become active since last week. The organization helps its members “select a firearm, acquire a permit, and receive proper training in its safe and legal use for self-defense,” according to its website.
I imagine that the major media’s general response will be mixed. How can they take a group that they’ve been stigmatizing and trying to bury for decades and marry it with another group that they’ve put on a pedestal? I think they’d rather just not bring it up in the first place.
Timothy McCarthy – the director of the Sexuality, Gender, and Human Rights Program at Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy – said that while he understands people being afraid following the mass shooting in Orlando, more guns is not the answer. “The more guns we have in circulation, the more guns we have in use, that sets us up for more violence,” he said.
He also pointed out that the 6,500 people who are members of the group on Facebook only represent a “tiny, tiny fraction” of the LGBT community. “So I also don’t think we should make so much of this,” he said. In other words, let’s just not bring it up anymore.