Vandals Slash Tires of Thirty Chicago Pride Floats

This sounds like it could indeed be an awful hate crime. The tires of the 30 floats were slashed overnight just before today's Pride parade in Chicago. According to the Windy City Times:

2011Logo03Big Chuck Huser, owner of long-time Pride float provider Associated Attractions at 4834 S. Halsted on Chicago's South Side, said the floats were fine when he left 8 p.m. Saturday night, but when he returned 5 a.m. Sunday to start preparation for drivers to depart, he found two tires punctured each on more than 30 floats.

"This is catastrophic," he told Windy City Times at 8 a.m. June 26. "This has never happened before, and we have been doing this since 1989."

The attackers broken in but did no other damage to the floats, and they took nothing else, leaving Huser to believe this had to be a hate crime. No notes were left.

Huser has filed a police report, but his main focus the morning of the Pride Parade was finding an open tire shop, where they were running back and forth to repair the tires.

"They didn't want these folks to go out," Huser said. He added that he has no disgruntled employees or customers, and that most of his workers have been with him more than 20 years.

Openly gay Illinois state Representative Kelly Cassidy on if this might be a hate crime: “It’s hard not to think so a couple of days after New York’s huge victory."

Twenty other floats, all stored indoors at a separate location, were not damaged and will participate in today's Pride parade in Chicago. Huser and his team are currently scrambling to find replacement tires for the vandalized floats before the parade begins at noon today. I hope it works out.


  1. Bryan says

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    – Mahatma Gandhi

    We’d be wise to prepare for a whole lot more of this sort of thing. And to note that Gandhi omitted the “then they try to kill as many of you as they can” stage which often precedes winning.

    As the Christofascists and other bigots come to realize that they’ve lost not only this particular battle, but the respect of an entire nation, all moral authority, and significant political power along with it, they’ll increasingly resort to violence. Crimes against property will be the least of it. Historically, people who have convinced themselves they’re doing God’s will have never shrunk from atrocities of any kind, and unscrupulous leaders can always make use of shock troops whose actions they can disavow. God and guns go hand in hand, particularly during economic crises, and so far as destruction goes, scapegoating minority populations is an historical recreation second only to war.

    This strikes me as a fine time for some enterprising queer entrepreneur to start a nation-wide security firm. As we saw with the recent police raid of the NYC Eagle, no matter what’s said publicly, the old tried-and-true tactics of oppression are never far away, and we simply cannot trust heterosexuals to have our backs.

  2. Chuck Mielke says

    Because of the intolerance promoted by “Christian” interests, this sort of thing IS increasing: I work in a very progressive cooperative where I regularly advertise my activities in openly gay theater and singing groups. A month ago, posters I had placed to advertise a play called “Queer Shorts” was torn down, ripped up and discarded. I found the pieces and posted them with a critical note, on a very obvious posting, and the incident was not repeated. Speaking up makes a difference. Our silence protects the haters.

  3. says

    well, for all the people who think ‘pride’ (has anyone else noticed that the word ‘gay’ has almost disappeared from it?) is all about throwing beads and drinking mimosas in public and hooting and cheering nearly naked marchers (not that there’s anything wrong with all of that), this is a reminder that there are people who hate us. and those people now are increasingly desperate. we will win, but no one said it would be easy.

  4. Francis says

    Obviously a hate crime, slashing a couple of tires would be more likely a random attack. Slashing 30 tires, located in a warehouse, takes time and takes intent. Sounds like there is one insane individual who holds so much hatred that they need to try to bring down the Chicago gays. Luckily, I read almost all of the floats made it out to the parade.

    More than anything, incidents such as this should be a very real reminder that although we have gained acceptance and are gaining more social and legal equality, there is still a lot of hostility, both on the surface and underneath, and that our gains will embolden these haters to attack us more readily. More than ever we have to be strong as a community and fight for our rightful place in society.

  5. Paul R says

    I’m glad the guy trusts his customers, but someone obviously knew the floats were in there. Very few people outside the LGBT community would know (or care) where the floats were stored.

  6. ratbastard says

    There’s nothing ‘obvious’ about this story. Could have been any number of individuals, for any number of reasons. CCTV would be nice. Seems almost every time I read a story about an anti-gay hate crime like this [storage facility, store, bar,home…], there was no security camera footage. Really, these cameras are really inexpensive to set up today, and would clear up, even solve, a lot of incidents.

  7. ratbastard says


    Grow up. Gays [and ‘progressives’] can be a**holes, liars, criminals, frauds….just like anybody else. You think anyone who questions any gay hate crime story or any other PC-type story should be bullied, ganged up on, mocked, called names? Why? Who is insecure, me or you?

  8. No More Republicans says

    I continue to pray for the day that Andy changes the site so that commenters’ names go above the comment, not below. That’s because I continue to read Ratbastard’s comments by accident.

  9. ratbastard says

    @no more republicans,

    I’m not a ‘neocon’ or Republican, if it makes you feel any better, big guy. I didn’t like GW, but don’t like Obama either. What’s so hard to understand? Why are tools like you so rigid [and I don’t mean that kind of rigid.]

  10. Paul R says

    I was violently mugged outside a subway station in San Francisco last October. There were several cameras that were supposed to have footage of it. They didn’t….because the trees around them hadn’t been trimmed recently.

    Then the people who stole my credit cards used them at several retail locations (gas stations, grocery stores, etc.) that all have cameras. I could provide the date, times, and amounts charged. The police couldn’t get the merchants to provide the footage without a judge’s order (too much work and expense for money they still got paid, and a very common occurrence), and since I didn’t lose any money either, the police didn’t pursue it.

    Cameras are also easily broken, footage is taped over, etc. They are not the answer to every crime.

    Is RatBastard the new–or same–Tank?

  11. MGB says

    Well, I live in Chicago, and the haters didn’t win. The parade started on time, and a tire shop open on Sunday fixed the floats. They just traveled in an slightly different order than originally planned. The sky was blue, there were no clouds. 72 degrees Fahrenheit and a breeze off the lake. It was beautiful. And one the the most crowded pride parades I’ve seen in this city.

  12. Shannon says

    I was at the parade today here in Chicago….YOU HATE MONGERERS DID NOT WIN! Our day today was beautiful…..beautiful people….we all fun with each other…and came together! By the way….I hope you guys get caught soon…and get what is coming to you with jail time…

  13. Greg says

    There is so much lockstep puritanical bullsh*t on here… like I am supposed to buy a big jumbo-sized container off the shelf at a RainbowDepot called “Gay Beliefs, Judgments, and Stereotypical Behaviors”, and take it home, put it on, and never take it off… some of you grew up believing that the “brass ring” of mainstream thought and living is something to genuflect to 24/7, as if that’s the way forward… for chrissakes think for yourselves instead of parroting back the party lines fed to you by people who you place WAY too much faith in… good grief it’s pathetic.

  14. ratbastard says

    A storage facility like this should have secure and logged access, alarmed and have CCTV. This is 2011. It’s not like they were parked on the street overnight or something.

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