Following the June 12 attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., security has been tightened at the Capital Pride Festival in Washington DC and the LA Gay Pride Parade over concerns about “copycat killers.”
After America’s deadliest mass shooting event, that so far has claimed 50 lives and left 54 wounded, federal, state local authorities are concerned that the wall-to-wall coverage of the tragedy may spark a “contagion effect” that could play into potential killers’ desire for notoriety and encourage similar crimes.
According to Sherry Towers, Professor at Arizona State University who studies the phenomena, “In the high-profile tragedies like mass killings and school shootings … there was evidence of contagion” associated with the level of media coverage.
Expecting up to 350,000 to attend the continuing Capital Pride Festival, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a public statement that she had been “briefed by Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier about increased security measures,” adding that “we will not be deterred by hate as we gather to celebrate love.”
Just minutes after the horrendous news of the Orlando attack broke, the Los Angeles County Sheriff activated their terrorist response teams to monitor information about the shooter’s links to ISIS, and possible local threats.
Concerns were especially high as the 46th annual Gay Pride Parade, America’s oldest and largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning gathering, had expected to attract over 400,000 along West Hollywood’s Santa Monica Boulevard by the 11 a.m. in the morning.
Sheriff’s Lt. Edward Ramirez told City News Service this morning, “In light of the unfortunate shooting incident in Orlando, Florida, the Sheriff’s Department is fully prepared to respond to a similar situation, should the need exist,”:
“As a result of the Pride Weekend, security has been increased. We, as a department, are in heightened awareness and our Criminal Intelligence Bureau has been activated today and they are gathering and disseminating information, as they receive it.”
“We want to ensure the public that had a large law enforcement presence and we encourage (the public) to come to West Hollywood and enjoy the parade, music, food and festivities.”
The normally rambunctious celebration of liberation and hedonism was subdued with many of the early arrivals for today’s Pride Weekend seen in tears. One woman told Los Angeles TV station KTLA Channel 5, “But I think that for me (the mass murder) is more of a reason to stand out here to say, ‘I am gender queer and these are my people.