Utah Pink Pistols
January 21, 2003 2:07 PM   Subscribe

"A gay Democrat firing a 9 mm pistol is not something you see every day in Utah County."
The Pink Pistols of Utah are ready for trouble. Members say they have joined the group because they want the ability to fight back if they become targets. Gays, lesbians and bisexuals ranked fourth in the FBI hierarchy of hate-crimes victims, according to 2001 statistics*.
*FBI report available here, PDF, 14.3MB
posted by mr_crash_davis (35 comments total)
Heh heh heh! Think twice--the next gay you bash may shoot you! Cool!
posted by Shane at 2:14 PM on January 21, 2003

I've got a long story about armed gays, but basically it boils down to this:

Dusty El Paso alleyway, 1983.

Rednecks at one end, throwing beer bottles and yelling "Hey, faggots!" at me an my group.

Gayest, most effeminate one of the group pulls ladylike pistol out of glittery handbag, fires one shot into the air, then points it at our assailants saying "Don't y'all boys mean to say Hey armed faggots?"

Good ol boys shit themselves and vanish into the night. Femme gun-totin' fag never has to buy a drink again.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:21 PM on January 21, 2003

WolfDaddy, that's a GREAT story. made my day.
posted by dolface at 2:24 PM on January 21, 2003

the loose-knit organization's national motto: "Armed gays don't get bashed."

No, but they're much more likely to end up looking down the barrel of a gun - theirs or someone else's.

That said, more power to 'em. Maybe this is what it takes.
posted by gottabefunky at 2:31 PM on January 21, 2003

So if it was discussed before, why bring it up again?

As someone in that thread said, I don't think the "bashing" angle actually alters the Standard Gun Control Debate. For whatever reason, almost all Americans seem to be in fright of being beaten, robbed, and otherwise abused by the Criminal Element.

I wonder where that bullet landed, Wolf. I wonder what would have happened if one of those rednecks had pulled the .44 he bought to keep them niggers from robbing the house and raping the wife.

Blah. For the record, I hold a principled stance on civil liberties, and I think firearms fit under that umbrella. Nevertheless, I think arming yourself to avoid bashing is probably a bad idea. I think you're already spending your time worrying about what might happen than reacting to what is happening (explanation here) and perhaps worse, alleviating that worry by porting a pistol that has to be retrieved from a glittery handbag before it's of any use. A false sense of security is just as bad as jumping at every shadow.

Mostly, though: blah.

Obligatory rhetorical credibility++: I'm totally a fag.
posted by kavasa at 2:42 PM on January 21, 2003

You know, as a Centrist, I love this story. If anyone needed to carry a gun, homosexuals sure are good candidates.

Next step, designer shotgun racks for high-end sports cars, guns with stylish names like "The Man Slapper!" or "Equience: For safety that screams style."

But hey, I just like issues that make the right-wing redneck conservatives head spin.
posted by CrazyJub at 2:44 PM on January 21, 2003

"So if it was discussed before, why bring it up again?"

Because it beats another SUV thread?

Honestly, I chose to post it because:

A) I'd never heard of the organization

2) I think it's interesting that the Utah chapter was started only in November and is now the largest in the nation

ΒΌ) I think "Pink Pistols" is a hilarious name and ought to be the title of the next 007 movie.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:56 PM on January 21, 2003

If it became widely known that homosexuals carry guns and know how to use them, not many bullets would need to be fired. In fact, not all that many gay people would need to carry guns, as long as gay-bashers couldn't tell which ones did.

I would never ever buy or carry a gun but the value of this is that the word is being spread--the next gay person you bash MAY be armed--i can only hope it'll make a difference, no matter how small...

The quote above is from a good salon article from 2000
posted by amberglow at 3:05 PM on January 21, 2003

When all else fails, shoot to kill.
posted by Quartermass at 3:08 PM on January 21, 2003

hate crime stats are here and the Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines (pdf) is pretty interesting (and sensible).
tables 3 and 5 of the 2001 stats (pdf, slow server, apparently) shows a lot more whites than blacks involved in hate crimes (more white-attacking-black than vice versa). i guess there are more whites than blacks in the usa, but i thought some statistic was being thrown around in an earlier thread about the majority of hate crime being black attacking white.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:18 PM on January 21, 2003

kavasa: wondering things like that, twenty years after the fact, should clue you in to the idea that maybe you over-analyze things and then leap to conclusions that might be unwarranted.

There were no .44s involved because the good ol' boys (and an ethnically diverse group of them at that, I guess you've never been to El Paso?) didn't have them on them, thinking their heterosexuality would win out over any threat we homosexuals could present to them. They were looking for easy prey, in the manner of all bullies, and to their minds nothing would be easier than a bunch of faggots. Which is definitely true, but not in the terms they were thinking about.

The reason our glittery handbag friend had chosen to arm himself is because there had been a number of severe gay bashings in that area of town (the only place in El Paso that had gay bars at the time) in recent months and he knew he couldn't stand up to a bunch of beefy rednecks physically all by himself; he was very tall and willowy, not much muscle on him at all.

Oh, and we're pretty sure the bullet landed on the roof of one of the industrial buildings that made up the alleyway.

Do you really need this information to comfort yourself with your ideas about gun control? Well, there you are, you're welcome to it ...
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:24 PM on January 21, 2003

Counting down until hama7 shows up and claims there's no such thing as a hate crime.
posted by jonson at 3:25 PM on January 21, 2003

There's no such thing as hate crime.

This thread is amazing. I can't wait until the next gun control thread comes up.
posted by Witty at 3:32 PM on January 21, 2003

I thought it interesting that kavasa's link - to a book about fear - had a reference in it: "Customers who bought this also shop for clean underwear."
posted by notsnot at 3:41 PM on January 21, 2003

WolfDaddy: The only bone I have to pick with your friend is that he discharged wrecklessly. It would have been sufficient to brandish the gun as a threat, and, if any hostility continued, fire in self defense and kill the mofo dead.

Other than that, good on him.
posted by jammer at 4:04 PM on January 21, 2003

discharged wrecklessly


Point taken, though.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:10 PM on January 21, 2003

I fired my gun into the air
Where the bullet landed, I know not where
And though the firing was no doubt wreckless
At least my pearl grips matched my necklace.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:14 PM on January 21, 2003

Oh... and the pulling the .44 argument doesn't fly here, as usual. If you think it might, let's try a little exercise.

I see you down the street, and think you're a threat to me. I draw my carry weapon and train it on you, make sure you see it, and let you know that I intend to use it. (And you should *never* draw unless you intend to, and are capable of, pulling the trigger if you have to).

I'm alert, watching you closely, have adrenaline running through my body and am ready to spring into action at a moment's notice. And my gun is drawn and aimed.

I now challenge you to draw yours, wherever you may have it concealed, take aim and fire in less time than it takes me to realize that you're preparing to harm me and move my finger the millimeter it takes to send hot lead ripping through your body.

Unless you're superman, it's practically impossible to out-draw an already aimed and armed weapon.

Now, in a close-combat situation things are different. But this doesn't sound like one. And the aphorism about bringing a knife to a gunfight works the other way -- it's equally bad to bring a gun to a knife fight.

Although I do strongly urge anyone who carries concealed to take a course on close-quarters combat with a focus on gun retention. There are ways to keep your piece from ending up in your enemies hands, and to disable it should the horrible come to happen anyway.
posted by jammer at 4:18 PM on January 21, 2003

In 1998 there was a cover story in my hometown's alternaweekly, "They're Here, They're Queer, They're Kicking Ass." They've got an update this month about the local Pink Pistols.
posted by planetkyoto at 5:03 PM on January 21, 2003

"The next gay person you bash MAY be armed"

Would make a good bumper sticker.

"When all else fails, shoot to kill"

And aim for the head!

An armed society is a polite society.
posted by LowDog at 5:14 PM on January 21, 2003

Nowhere in this mention have I seen any reference to the Lavender Panthers, who some 20(?) years ago were advocating not just guns, but also martial arts training *and* armed patrols.
posted by kablam at 5:31 PM on January 21, 2003

this is disturbing.

but i don't think it will ever become well known, so i don't care much.
posted by rhyax at 5:50 PM on January 21, 2003

Andrew Cooke> To be perfectly honest, hate crime statistics are incredibly untrustworthy, and I wouldn't attempt to draw any sort of meaningful conclusion from them. Black-on-white crime is rarely investigated as a hate crime, nor are inter-minority disputes such as Chinese and Vietnamese gangs shooting one another, or the tension between the Black and Korean communities on the eastern seaboard, or the fairly violent intra-religious war currently going on between the two sects of Canadian Sikhs over whether furniture should be allowed in temples or any number of other examples. So far as I can tell, "hate crime" legislation exists mostly to counter a perceived systemic bias in Southern courts to lightly sentence white criminals whose crimes were committed against blacks. I don't honestly know whether such a bias exists, and most of the methods I've seen used to investigate it have serious flaws and cannot be considered trustworthy.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 5:52 PM on January 21, 2003

crash, I hope you know the double entendre of pearl necklace, but even if you don't, I still wuv you. Your poem caused several monitors to be encovered in various caffeinated beverages here in the office.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:18 PM on January 21, 2003

Yes, more guns will certainly fix the problem. As a gay male who long ago took it upon himself to learn self defense and has never had to use it, it sickens me to see cheerleading for more pistol-toting as a cure for a social ill.
posted by holycola at 7:17 PM on January 21, 2003

it's not cheerleading for more pistol-toting; it's creating the belief that we ARE pistol-toting without actually toting pistols...

And we've had Pink Panthers doing patrols here in NYC for years, kablam...
posted by amberglow at 7:32 PM on January 21, 2003

Counting down until hama7 shows up and claims there's no such thing as a hate crime.

No time today, but a crime is a crime.

As far as packing heat: fine by me and my friend Mr. Heston. And Smith. And Wesson.
posted by hama7 at 8:30 PM on January 21, 2003

Crash - fair enough.

Just to make it crystal clear: I don't support legislative gun control. I think it's a bad idea. Gun control has nothing to do with my point, I have thought it through fairly thoroughly and no single anecdote would affect it either way.

Wolf - the time past or the results obtained don't really affect what I'm saying. I think "over analyzing" is a term to be used in situations where people don't die. I didn't really leap to any conclusions. I mentioned the bullet fired into the air because, and let's be honest here, innocent bystanders get shot. I'm saying the problem isn't reducible to "armed queers v. bashers". I'll get the .44 in a bit.

The ethnicity of the bullies doesn't really matter; the attitude with which people arm themselves does. Americans get handguns because they are afraid. You may interpret this however you wish and you may debate whether that worry is warranted, but I think you're pretty constrained to accept that statement as true. Considering the Pink Pistols' tagline is "armed gays don't get bashed."

Ok, back to the .44. Yes, Jammer, our girly friend would have killed himself a redneck. Or, perhaps worse, shattered his spine, leaving him alive and raring to sue. Not to mention he lives in Tejas and he drew first. Was it self defense? Were those rednecks throwing bottles? Remember, no one was taping this. It's the word of a bunch of faggots v. the word of a bunch of upstanding citizens in a court of law. And I'm sure the well-ccessorized and eagle-eyed shooter would have no problems dealing with having killed another human being. After all, it's not as if soldiers ever suffer consequences from killing people who are trying to do the same to them. My point, again, is that this isn't an easily reducible problem because even if it were queers v. bashers, you simply cannot write off "dead basher" as a happy ending. Hell, you can't even write off the apparently happy ending as being one because your whole point is that more queer gun-toters will equate to more situations in which they avert a bashing and each time a situation like the one described occurs there are chances that shit will get funky.

You never did address my final point, which is that a concealed pistol is no guaranteed defence. In point of fact, those assholes were doing everything but bashing. And uh, let's consider the oft-mentioned case of Mr. Shepherd. Imagine Matt had with him a pistol in a handbag. Considering the reconstruction of the events of the night which lead to his death, do you think he would have been able to get to it? How much assistance is that handgun when the first hint you're being bashed is when the baseball bat hits the back of your head? Frankly, the statement "armed gays don't get bashed" is specious. I'm sure Mr. Femme felt might safe with his pistol, and I'm sure that feeling wasn't warranted.

So. In the end, I feel the story is more disturbing than uplifting, I feel that the society which led to the creation of the organization is suffering from substantial ills, and I think the members of that organization are fooling themselves and dangerously so. I don't think the pink pistols are the solution to a problem they cast themselves as.

Not taking a "moral stance" or anything. I merely think it's a bad idea acted on with poor reasons.

Giant pile of text attack - GO!!!
posted by kavasa at 8:34 PM on January 21, 2003

"I hope you know the double entendre of pearl necklace"

But of course. My poetry is like an onion.

It stinks?

No, it has layers.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:50 PM on January 21, 2003

Next: "A black man directing an orchestra is not something you see every day in...."
posted by Poagao at 9:11 PM on January 21, 2003

The ethnicity of the bullies doesn't really matter; the attitude with which people arm themselves does.

Nuh unh ... you used a very stereotypical assumption on the racial makeup of our assailaints back then and you were wrong, wrong, wrong. How can I then give credence to your understanding of people's attitudes when they arm themselves?
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:50 PM on January 21, 2003

All I'll say is that a couple of assholes once broke into my house at 6 AM, just before I got in the shower. I scared them off by waving a fireplace poker at them and screaming like a crazy fucking madman. Afterwards, I wondered if I'd have been any safer if I'd had a gun. I really don't think so. If I'd had a gun, I'd have had to wave it at my intruder, and if I'd have waved it at him, I probably would have been inclined to use it. And if I had shot my intruder, I would have shot to kill him because I'd be afraid he'd come back if I didn't. So that would've been one person dead, on my conscience, and me with all the legal ramifications to deal with. Or maybe my intruder--fearing for his own life--would've wrestled my gun away from me and shot me. Not good either way.

I don't presume to extrapolate policy from a single anecdote. All I can say is what occured to me in a split second. Though I support the control of guns, I also support the right of people to protect themselves with legal firearms. I especially support the right of minorities--in this case sexual minorities--to defend themselves. I dunno though, I just have doubts if the best way to do so is by packing heat.

( Anyway, WD, it's a great story.)
posted by octobersurprise at 11:43 PM on January 21, 2003

I don't know if it's the best way either, certainly, octobersurprise. I don't and never have owned a gun. My friend Sam thought it was the best way for him, though. I can't argue with what he thought was best for him at that time.

all, I've eliminated, here, the more interesting background details--such as just what it was like to be a young queer in Texas in 1983, during the height of the blood supply scare, nor the extent of the severity with which some people had been beaten or otherwise humiliated in our local community at that time, and a couple of people did die--that probably influenced his thinking, and our thinking, in ways that they wouldn't today 20 out of the closet years later and from the comfy confines of a California college town.

But for that place, that time, those people, I'm damn glad he had what he had and did what he did when he did it. To this day. I bear a great deal of affection for him for doing it. I have no doubt that the situation would have gotten real bad--if out of our need for some kind of revenge or rough justice if nothing else--had he not done what he did.

As I said when I posted the anecdote itself, it was boiled down, and it should be obvious it was boiled down to the humorous points. That doesn't mean the weightier issues weren't considered then, nor does it mean they're not being considered now.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:04 AM on January 22, 2003

If that's your only objection to my entire post then, Wolf... I'll note that I didn't just leave it at that. I said that:

"Hell, you can't even write off the apparently happy ending as being one because your whole point is that more queer gun-toters will equate to more situations in which they avert a bashing"

Remember the tagline of Pink Pistols. Consider that your friend definitely armed himself because he was afraid of getting bashed. No judgement or anything there, the fear was to some extent warranted. Nevertheless, that was the reason.

Defence is the most-stated reason for lawful arming of one's self. Furthermore, the assumption that your assailants were white racists has, well, nothing to do with the assumption that were one to have armed himself, he would have most likely done so with the stated and earnest reason of defending himself and his family.

So, in review, you can give my position as to why people arm themselves because: your friend that had a gun agrees with me, the pink pistols agree with me, pretty much everyone who argues against gun control for reasons other than hunting agrees with me, and a substantial portion of the hunters do, too. So can we please move on from a half-line gag in what is now several hundred words worth of posts? Jesus.
posted by kavasa at 10:30 AM on January 22, 2003

That's not my only objection, kavasa, but it's the most salient one, which only bears itself out with your further postings.

My friend armed himself not out of fear, but out of a willingness to kill or be killed in order to demonstrate his over-arching desire to go on living his life in a manner in which he saw fit to live it, without suffering physical harm or degradation from those who had irrational fears of him simply because he was who he was. You won't ever understand that type of feeling, I fear. And while it's a fine world that allows one to never have to consider a kill or be killed situation, it's not everyone's world and to assume otherwise is foolish.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:42 PM on January 22, 2003

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