Seven people were hospitalized in a stampede at DC Pride on Saturday after loud “popping sounds” were reportedly mistaken for a shooting.
According to Capitol Police, no shots were fired. However, many woke commentators still faulted “homophobia” and America’s lax gun control laws. One straight couple was singled out for blame.
The mass hysteria started around 7:30 p.m., when rumors started to spread that there was an active shooter at the parade. Video from the scene shows participants trying to stampede their way to safety, knocking over barricades and causing more panic with the ensuing loud crashing noises. Streets around Dupont Circle flooded with people sprinting away from the assumed violence.
“In all my years I have never seen this level of panic for something that didn’t occur,” a police officer with over a decade of experience working the nation’s capital told the Washington Examiner.
In addition to the seven people who were taken to the hospital and treated for injuries sustained amid the chaos, several more were treated on site. A young boy was among those who were stepped on as others fled.
Capital Pride Alliance, the organization that produces the gay pride celebration, may have helped to contribute to the chaos by tweeting out encouragement for attendees to “get to safety.” Even after police had made clear there was no shooter, the organization continued imply that there was a threat to the event in subsequent tweets.
The parade has ended. Be safe. The police is on site and the threat has been contained.
— Capital Pride (@CapitalPrideDC) June 8, 2019
Homophobia to blame for fake DC Pride shooting
In the immediate aftermath of the panic, liberal Twitter users blamed anti-gay sentiment for the scene that unfolded and the resulting injuries.
“Why should people be running for their lives,” one commentator questioned, before declaring that “gun control” needs to happen and “homophobia” needs to stop, even if the DC Pride shooting was a hoax.
even if it was a false alarm for an active shooter at dc pride today why should people be running for their lives at an event like this? gun control needs to happen & homophobia needs to stop now.
— Claire Mary Smith (@clairemmarys) June 9, 2019
“THIS is why we need pride,” proclaimed another user, saying she was”still SCARED” over the “threat” of homophobia.
hearing about what happened at DC makes me so fucking sick and terrified. THIS is why we need pride. we are still being fucking threatened, even if marriage is legal, even if we’ve come a long way. homophobia is STILL a problem and i am still SCARED. #DCPride
— maddie loves pride month !! (@taylrhswift) June 9, 2019
A report in LGBTQ Nation blamed a straight couple that was “behaving badly” for causing the chaos, saying that the man pointed his BB gun at an attendee he accused of assaulting his girlfriend. According to the report, the site of the “realistic” gun was what sparked the mass panic.
Hoax hate crimes are on the rise
DC Pride participants could be forgiven for having the jitters given the breathless media coverage of hate crimes in the Trump era.
According to FBI stats, the number of reported hate crimes has risen significantly in recent years, including a 17 percent increase to more than 7,000 in 2017. Liberal activists have argued that such incidents are still underreported.
However, many conservatives see the whole category as largely subjective and subject to inflation. Reason’s Robby Soave argued last November that anyone talking about hate crime increases should keep one “critical detail” in mind: “The overall number of law enforcement agencies reporting hate crime data also increased greatly—approximately 1,000 additional agencies contributed figures in 2017 than in 2016.”
According to Soave, this means that “it’s not obviously the case that hate crimes are more prevalent in 2017.”
Kmele Foster, another libertarian commentator, also took issue with how hate crimes are classified during an appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” in February.
“When we talk about hate crimes, we talk about there being 15 percent increases in these things–a hate crime is not the sort of thing that we can simply look at and say ‘It is absolutely a hate crime.’ There’s some supposition about that,” Foster said. “There is a great ambiguity about what makes something a hate crime. There are subjective determinations there.”
Meanwhile, in response to the Jussie Smollett saga, Quillette editor Andy Ngo in February began compiling an ever-expanding Twitter thread of reported “hate crime hoaxes.”