Letter to the ACLU
by David Rostcheck
Civil Rights Activist, Pink Pistols
Originally published on this
website July 6, 2001
The ACLU sent me a fund-raising letter "signed" by the executive director. I thought it over and used their postage-paid envelope to return this letter to them, addressed back to him.
July 4, 2001
Mr. Ira Glasser
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10275-0397
Dear Mr. Glasser,
I recently received a letter from you asking for donations to help the ACLU fight discrimination, abusive laws, and government abuses of civil liberties. I am myself
a civil rights activist. I work on those issues every day, and as a front-line activist in the area where the worst civil rights violations take place, I'd all but forgotten of the ACLU's existence until I got your letter. Your letter brought up all sorts of issues from racial profiling to illegal search and seizure to lack of due process - all issues where the worst violations lie in my territory, unfortunately outside the ACLU's protective embrace. I thought I would write to tell you about my world, and explain what it's like to fight in the civil rights territory you abandoned.
In my field, racial profiling is not just done, it is enshrined in law and politicians win votes by speaking openly in favor of it. In my state, police can (and do) legally decide to deny civil rights to the town Jews, the town blacks, gay candidates, or the town's female (or male) occupants. Each police chief is given the power to make up his own standards for who gets civil rights and who doesn't. He or she need not disclose these standards to the public, and if he denies or removes a citizen's civil rights he doesn't need to tell them why. They can appeal in court, of course, but since he has the legal power to remove their rights, they lose almost 100% of the time. The rights are enshrined in the State and Federal Bill of Rights, of course, but courts, legislators, and prosecutors agree to ignore that.
But this is just the beginning - my state Attorney General has, to suppress an unpopular minority, made up 'consumer safety standards' that have no legitimate basis in safety but are instead designed to physically discriminate. Consumer goods are required to be difficult for women, elderly, and arthritics to use, to the point where many simply can't physically operate them. People who do not have children are required to follow restrictive 'child safety measures' that sometimes cost them their lives. Citizens are regularly searched and their personal information cataloged in criminal records databases (even though they are not criminals) if they dare to apply for permission to use their rights. Recently in my state legislators have begun fighting to publicize these databases as a new sort of 'sex offender database' (though the cataloged population has committed no crimes other than being unpopular people), and I expect them to win. And even though my population commits crime at a far, far lower rate than the general population, every night I come home to see them demonized on television as demented criminal murderers.
You see, Mr. Glasser, these people own guns. I am a civil rights activist for the
Pink Pistols, a group of GLBT shooters that defends the right to keep and bear arms. I work in Boston, a city once a
crucible of American freedom, and every day I walk by buildings in which brave patriots fought to defend rights I no longer have. Now, I'm sure you're jumping to rationalize this letter, quickly calling to mind some legal 'analysis' that ignores all the opinions of those who wrote our Constitution and claims that the right to keep and bear arms is not an individual right. You will perform some mental gyration to hold this concept in your head even while maintaining that the other rights in the Bill of Rights are individual rights, and that the 14th Amendment secures those rights against state infringement also. But honestly, Mr. Glasser, regardless of how you feel about the Second Amendment, I'm just not sure why you get up in the morning. Why do you bother to fight against the War on Drugs and defend against 4th Amendment violations? For every 4th Amendment case you win, my people lose two. It's the same Amendment, and it doesn't matter for what cause our rights are undermined - once they are legally dismantled, those decisions can (and will) be used against other persons claiming 4th Amendment protection. In short, Mr. Glasser, your job consists of going to work and filling in a trench with a shovel, while ignoring the backhoe digging out the other side of the trench. When you look back on your career, you will find that you fought hard and bravely for many rights but they're still gone anyway, and perhaps scratch your head over how that happened. True, your positions did keep you from having to deal with scary 'gun rights' activists like myself, but honestly sir, was it worth it? Was it really worth the cost?
But there is still something you can do. It's not too late to help in the fight. When you donate money to the Pink Pistols, we promise we will use it to fight against any civil rights violation that comes into our view, no matter what right it may violate. We fight against unfair treatment under the law, we fight against the War on Drugs, and we acknowledge and defend all of our civil rights. Your donation will not be tax deductible, but it will go to defray the expenses of grassroots activists, real ordinary people who take time and money from other needs in their lives to fight for the civil rights others will not fight for. It's not too late, Mr. Glasser; if we speak proudly and bravely of our civil rights even in the face of those who would demonize our rights and those who use them, the people may begin to see that all of us deserve all our rights, and if the people begin to demand their rights be acknowledged and uninfringed, no government can stand against them.
Civil Rights Activist, Pink
Related Reading on the ACLU's Anti-rights
of Rebuking an Inalienable Constitutional Right:
Hypocrisy of the ACLU
by Jeremy D. Blanks, Ph.D.
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