“The time has come,” Says the Pink Pistols First Speaker
For Immediate Release (Philadelphia, PA) September 23, 2018: At this year’s Gun Rights Policy Conference held in Chicago, a statement was read by Nicole Stallard from the First Speaker of the Pink Pistols, Gwendolyn S. Patton. The following is the original statement from the First Speaker, which was edited for brevity at GRPC:
One Hand Falls, Another Hand Rises…
This is a catchphrase from a recent new favorite science fiction series, Glynn Stewart’s “Starship’s Mage”. In this series, high representatives of the Mage-King of Mars are called his Hands, who are his eyes and ears, and who speak with his voice. They’re not unlike Lois McMaster Bujold’s “Imperial Auditors”, or even E. E. “Doc” Smith’s “Lensmen”, who inspired comic-book history’s greatest interstellar police force, the Green Lanterns.
I was first exposed to the Pink Pistols in 2001, a bare year after it was created by an old and dear friend, Doug Krick. My lifemate showed me an article about the group, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that a friend was responsible for its existence. I sought him out and congratulated him on it very shortly afterward, and as a consequence, he asked me if I might be interested in starting a chapter in the Philadelphia area. After discussing it with my lifemate, Maggie, we decided to start one together. We got our carry permits, she bought me my first gun as a birthday present (a FEG clone of a Browning Hi-Power), and we announced the formation of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Pink Pistols. Our first month’s meeting was just the two of us at a Chinese restaurant, but we started attracting members with the second meeting, notably Thomas Nelson, the current head of the chapter, to whom I bequeathed it when I stepped up to other duties. Soon after came Andrew Greene, who has been the organization’s poster boy, having had to discourage a small mob of louts who intended him harm, having seen him come out of a Philadelphia gay bar. He’s told that story any number of times, since, often to reporters. I have equally-often saluted his patience in this regard.
Somewhere between 2003 and 2005, I graduated into being the officials Media Spokesperson for the organization, since Doug Krick (known as Krikket) really didn’t enjoy talking to the media, and I did. Over time, I took over other duties, such as webmistress and documentation writer. The first “New Chapter E-Book” was written by me, with input from Doug, a useful document that eventually evolved into our current Utility Manual. Then, with a suddenness straight out of the core of Chaos, I suffered an accident. It was around 8:30 on a blustery Friday evening, I having discharged my responsibility to work late one day a month. The weather was dry but very windy, with strong gusts that snapped out of the West without warning. While re-arming myself after a day’s work (which did not allow guns inside the building), one of those gusts, estimated at 40mph, slammed my car’s steel trunk lid on the top of my head.
It was shortly determined that I had suffered a broken neck, three levels of disks literally exploded, the vertebrae jammed together. As soon as it could be accomplished, I had surgery to repair this damage, replacing the disks with banked bone grafts and much chipping and scraping away of bone spurs to make room. This repair was progressing well for about seven months, as did the physical therapy, until complications set in. I was growing sharp bone spurs from all of the fusion joints and everywhere the bone had been scarred during the surgery. Eventually I had a small forest of sharp, rough bone inside and around my spine. I found that I would be rendered utterly unable to plan a day ahead of time, as debilitating pain might come out of nowhere to leave me flat on my back, twitching and wishing it would just STOP. This led to my being put on permanent disability, as I could not promise to an employer that I would be able to fulfill my duties at any given moment. This being beyond any employer’s ability to reasonably accommodate, a government expert determined that I was no longer employable.
I did try to keep running my Pink Pistols chapter, but a couple of years later, I had to set it all down in hands I felt would maintain things properly, and retired to deal with my injuries and their consequences. This condition pertained until early in 2012, when the Sandy Hook shooting occurred. Then I started hearing that the Pink Pistols weren’t responding on the subject, and there was much speculation that the organization was defunct. Before I could respond to this, Oleg Volk called me out of nowhere to upbraid me for the group’s silence. His entreaty to Do Something resulted in my investigation, to find the website mostly dead, more than half its links dead, nobody doing anything I could find, and more than a little validation of the rumor that the group was also dead.
I called Krikket and offered to pull its mivonks out of the grinder. I just had one request. If I was going to resurrect the organization, I wanted it to be MINE. I wanted the keys and the pinks. He agreed, arranged for the domain to be transferred to me, and gave me his blessing. I selected “First Speaker” as my title, to follow his “The Founder” (which I translated as “La Fondinto” in Esperanto, yet another sci-fi homage to Philip Jose Farmer’s “Riverworld”). I put the website to order, wrote some press releases, and rolled up my sleeves.
In 6 years, I coordinated the rebuilding of the organization, practically from the ground up. The organization helped with many judicial amicus briefs for some very high-profile cases, from DC. v. Heller to Peruta to Grace & Pink Pistols v. DC. We had some of our best coverage in the media, including the horrific deluge following the tragedy at the Pulse Nightclub, the LGBT community’s own 9/11. The last half decade has been a pleasure and a terror to deal with, exhilarating and maddening in its headlong flight between the Scylla and Charybdis of the 2016 election. The Pulse shooting led directly to the founding of Operation Blazing Sword, out of the massive flood of support offered by the shooting community across the continent and even a bit beyond. Swamped by reporters, I begged for help with those offers, and our own Erin Palette stepped up to the plate and took a swing at it. She’s done a magnificent job, and I’m beyond proud of her achievements, as if I invented her or something.
And so we arrive at the present day. The injury and its consequences that I originally retired to deal with has not gone away. In fact, it has somewhat worsened over the years. Just as I can’t handle a lot of recoil up arm, stress has become another source of exacerbation that frequently leads to me flat on my back, going “ow, Ow, OW”. And just as I had to go on disability because I could no longer fulfill my obligations to employers, I am once again faced with the reality that I must direct my energies to my own health. And, truth be told, the social structure we find ourselves in, 18 years after the founding of the Pink Pistols, is not the same as the one that pertained all those years ago. Back then, the LGBT community was in far more danger, being less accepted than it is now. The system we devised to deal with the potentialities of “Imperial Entanglements” is less necessary than it was back then as well. Some changes are called for.
One such change is that I must once again hand over the Pink Pistols to another to administer. Truth be told, I’ve been on the lookout for someone to hand it TO for many years. It is my heartfelt belief that I have found this person.
A while back, I was approached to join the Board of Directors of Operation Blazing Sword. As the duties aren’t very difficult, I agreed. I also started the process of re-converging the two organizations into a single entity. After all, OBS came from the Pink Pistols. It’s only fitting that they unify once again to take the Pink Pistols into the next phase of its existence. We’re as yet uncertain what the final structure of that unity will resemble, but at the very minimum, the Pink Pistols will be in most excellent hands.
Over the next few months, I will be handing over my role to Erin Palette. This will not be a sudden thing, as was my medical retirement in 2010. Instead, it will be a careful, measured transition, involving a corporate attorney, so we have every “I” dotted and every “T” crossed to the best advantage of both the Pink Pistols and OBS. I have every faith in Erin and OBS to carry the Pink Pistols onward.
I won’t be going away completely. I will be there for Erin to consult with, and I hope I will remain of help when she needs it. If they will have me, I intend to stay on the Board so they will have access to my 17 years of knowledge regarding the operation and management of the organization. Also, they’re dear to me, and retirement should not necessarily mean that one loses one’s friends. But make no mistake, this is a retirement. To be honest, I need it. To be equally honest, the Pink Pistols needs someone younger, with different viewpoints, with different strengths, and fewer impediments. There will be changes in the structure of the Pistols, but great effort will be taken to prevent the loss of what makes it so special.
It has been my honor and my pride to do what I could do for the Pink Pistols over nearly two decades. I hope to give what advice and support I can in the future. But the best thing I can do is to hand it over to those I feel will serve you at least as well as I, and hopefully better. I have been dedicated to each and every one of you being as strong as you can be, as well defended as can be achieved, and as supported by our nation as can be arranged.
I don’t know what title Erin will choose for herself. She may choose to carry on as the First Speaker, or she may choose a title more commensurate with the eventual structure the unified organization will suggest. Please give her the support she is due. She has already done much for the Pink Pistols, and I’ve grown to recognize that she will do no less than her best for all of us.
One Hand Falls…Another Hand Rises.
Gwendolyn S Patton
First Speaker, Pink Pistols