Sadly, San Francisco's gayborhood is preparing for the worst this New Year's Eve following a deadly mass-shooting in Colorado Springs — the second mass shooting in the U.S. in six years to target the LGBTQ community specifically.
First there was the tragically deadly Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, on June 12, 2016, in which 49 people were murdered and 53 others were wounded. Then, last month, there was the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, in which a lone gunman shot and killed five people and wounded 25 others.
Now, bar owners and employees in San Francisco's Castro District are preparing for the unthinkable, should the unthinkable eventually come to our city. It could, of course, come at any time, but the volunteer citizens' group Castro Community on Patrol organized a meeting with bar workers and owners ahead of likely big crowds on New Year's Eve.
"The best thing to do is to think ahead of time," says Castro Community on Patrol organizer Greg Carey, per KTVU.
Carey added, per NBC Bay Area, that it's all about "What you can do to protect yourself without having to make it all up in a split second between the first gun shot, and when something actually might be coming your way,”
Erik Thomas, the head of security from Beaux — one of the larger drinking and dancing venues in the neighborhood — tells KTVU that his team has already beefed up security at the door of the club. But for New Year's they will be employing metal-detector wands as well.
And other, smaller bars were being encouraged to do the same thing on big event nights.
"Having other businesses in the area that are now expressing this level of interest is definitely very comforting," Thomas tells KTVU.
Castro Community on Patrol was encouraging all bars to have a safety plan, and to make their security efforts as visible as possible at the door.
"If someone is looking to attack something in the Castro, they're likely to look for the one that is least protected so if you have that visible presence, that can deter that person from executing whatever plans they might have," Carey said, speaking to KTVU.
Photo: Max Templeton