This is where we are as a country:
Fears of active shooters at Pride events in New York City and San Francisco caused chaos Sunday, overshadowing the celebrations amid heightened concerns about previous shootings at LGBTQ spaces and the frequency of mass shootings in the United States.
New York City police said on Twitter there were “NO shots fired” at Washington Square Park, the center of Pride celebrations in the city, after loud noises sent crowds fleeing and nearly caused a stampede. “After an investigation, it was determined that the sound was fireworks set off at the location,” police said.
With many Pride events — which are often held in June — returning this year for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, extremism researchers have highlighted increased risk.
President Biden warned last month of “rising hate and violence” targeting LGBTQ communities. On Saturday, two people were killed in a shooting at a gay bar in Oslo, and police in Idaho foiled a plot this month by affiliates of a white supremacist group to disrupt a Pride celebration in a park.
I’m old enough to remember when you’d have to keep one eye on the Pride festivities and the other eye out for trouble of any kind. But even back then your first worry wasn’t guns. It was carloads or truckloads of men with fists and boots and crowbars and baseball bats.
Those times were bad enough.
But this gun thing adds a whole other terrifying dimension to fears I thought we’d mostly relegated to the ash heap of history. (In most parts of this country, anyway.)
I should have remembered, as Jews have always had to remember: Even the most civilized societies can turn barbaric given the wrong kind of leaders exploiting fears and bigotries.
BTW the Times of Israel and some onlookers say there was as an actual stampede, albeit one short enough to prevent any serious injuries.