"Gang-bang": It's alive!

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 31 03:29:57 UTC 2014

Back in The Lou, ca. 1950, I learned "(to) gang-bang" as "(to participate
in a) fight between two gangs." That BE meaning has long since been
superseded by the WE meaning, "(to participate in a)
gang-rape/cluster-fuck," though the original meaning of "gang-banger"
kinda-maybe-perhaps lives on in hip-hop and cop-operas.

In the course of the reality-TV show, "Vegas ER," a black youth is
explaining to an ER doctor  how he happened to get shot:

"A dude walked up to me with a pistol in his hand. And he aksed me, 'Where
you from, man?' I raised my hands and I said, 'I don't _gang-bang_, man.'
And he shot me, anyway."

Needless to say, sadly, the practice of the gang-rape is also well-known in
the 'hood. The act is "(pull) the train" in StL and elsewhere, "(pull) a
train" elsewhere, especially in hip-hop.

_pull "the train"_ "commit serial rape"

Reports of cases and matters determined by the Supreme Court and ...
South Carolina. Supreme Court, South Carolina. Court of Appeals - ‎1997,
P.191 and P.192
aiding or abetting his friends in "running the train" or successively
sexually assaulting Victim; defendant informed witnesses about "running the
train" on Victim before, during, and after incident, and defendant engaged
in consensual kissing with Victim, but then stood in room and watched while
two of his friends successively sexually assaulted and beat Victim. ...
Kilgore communicated this plan before, during, and after the rape of Victim
and participated in its execution. Reynolds testified that, at the party,
Kilgore told him that they "were going to

_pull the train_"

on Victim. Kilgore and his friends took Victim to Marseglia's apartment. He
invited her into the bedroom for the ostensible purpose of showing her the
room he used to occupy. Although the kissing between Kilgore and Victim was
consensual, this initiated the series of acts that would lead to Victim's
rape first by Marseglia and then by King. While these events were
transpiring, Kilgore was standing in the room.


"Run the train" is new to me.

"Pull *a* train" is decades older than hip-hop. In 1956, Jimmy Reed, a
native of Mississippi, released a side that contained the phrase,

"I'd rather see you pull _a_ train"

This phraseology caused mild consternation among St. Louisans because, in
context, there seemed to be an element of *non*-rape implied: "*see* you"
and not "*make* you," not to mention "_a_ train" and not "_the_ train." The
same - possible willingness on the part of the female participant WRT
"pulling *a* train" - seems to true of the current hip-hop use, too, in the
sense that it's many women and one lucky man and not one unlucky woman and
many men.

Since "pull a/the train" and "run the train" are prosaic, everyday strings
that date back to the 19th C., I consider myself fortunate to have found
even this one relevant cite.

And yes, I am prepared to deal with being told that this and much, much
more are to be found in V.III of HDAS. :-(


- Wilson
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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