Gonna be a short letter this week and next, after which I will take a little break.
In recent weeks we've seen some talk out of the fascists who have, rather predictably, started clamoring against Trans people arming themselves. This is an obvious step for them because if you want to harm a people, typically that's easier to do if those people are unarmed. Ginning up fear of Trans people and their defenders is the first step in forming a rhetoric of disarmament of Trans people–and that will spread, as their desire for genocide will spread, to others.
We're talking guns and gross, genocidal opinions in this letter. Skip it if you need to.
Tucker Carlson and the Obvious
About two weeks ago, Tucker Carlson got up on his shabby soapbox and responded to a piece on NPR about Trans people in New England arming up and going to the range for self-defense. He referred to this as, critically, not an exercise of the 2nd Amendment, but an incitement of political hysteria. It shouldn't be surprising that he made some wacky claims because that's his bread and butter, but he went on to imagine a reality in which Trans people are armed not just with AR-15s, but fighter jets–like in Ukraine, being his logic.
A cogent argument is not necessary here. The aim, as ever, is to attack the marginalized by planting ideas in the heads of the public. Armed Trans people? An incitement? Hysteria? That's all it takes. Trans people now are not just "groomers" to some of his viewers, but gun-toting and ready to fight, as well.
This would be easy enough to ignore, perhaps, if it weren't supplemented by darker speech from the further-right ends of the media. The thesis of most of these statements is that Trans people have a mental illness, and a mental illness not only deserves no recognition as an identity, but that people with such a mental illness should not be allowed access to firearms. It's a one-two punch of dehumanization and disarmament that has unfortunately gained a lot of ground recently.
The Covenant School Shooting
There is a lot of fog surrounding the identity of the perpetrator of the Covenant shooting, and some of it deliberate. I don't know that a conclusion has been arrived at that can be trusted, nor do I think it is that important in the bigger picture. I will do my best to refrain from referring to the shooter so as to avoid any potential misgendering. A few things regarding this tragedy we know to be true: white cis males are far and away the majority of shooters in these situations; one perpetrator of one identity does not speak for all; we have a problem in this country beyond that which I typically address.
I am not going to spend much time pontificating on mass shootings in America. There is an obvious correlation between access to guns in this country and the amount of gun violence, but at the same time I find it very important that access to firearms not be curtailed. The reason for that is because marginalized people will always be sought out and disarmed first; law enforcement will be the ones to disarm everyone; and the privileged will rarely have these laws applied equally.
In the wake of the Covenant shooting there has been a massive outcry against Trans-perpetrated violence–but in reality it hardly exists. Reality, however, does not matter. This is a tragedy that has been seized upon by the right in order to push against Trans people, and in particular it will be used to discuss them as mentally ill or otherwise unfit to have methods of self-defense. It should strike you as rather transparent that this move is gaining prominence just as the movement for arming Trans people for protection is picking up momentum.
It leaves a bad taste in my mouth to suggest that marginalized readers rush out to arm themselves after such a horrible event, so I will simply say that we should be taking the far right's efforts to remove armed Trans self-defense as a possibility very seriously. It is practically a meme to say that authoritarians take away guns as a matter of course in their move to consolidate power and persecute minorities, but it's a meme for a reason. Disarmament allows for unopposed consolidation of power and precedes genocide. It should be increasingly clear to you that we are headed in that direction.