“Lock and load. Time to get on the news,” someone, going by the handle nihilism-88, said on Tumblr after another user, by the handle humunanunga, posted a flier for the Pride picnic.
Around 400-500 people were expected to attend the celebration, which is an annual event put on by College Station’s Pride Community Center.
LGBT activist Mandy Perry noticed the threat and contacted the event organizers as well as the FBI. Perry, who lives in Pennsylvania, told local CBS affiliate KBTX-TV that when she read the comment her “heart just stopped.”
After the shooting in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub claimed the lives of 49 and injured dozens more, threats such as these are being taken more seriously. Police presence at Pride events has increased.
Police issued requests to Tumblr to help identify the person who made the threat, but have received no response. They released the following statement:
On Wednesday, June 29, members of the Pride Community Board of Directors received notice of a threat made against their annual picnic on the social media app Tumblr. They reported the threat to CSPD. CSPD investigators, in conjunction with the FBI, began attempting to identify the source of the threat. A subpoena was served on Tumblr requesting information to identify the poster. On June 30, CSPD received another report of the threat from a member of the community. By the morning of July 1, Tumblr had not responded to the subpoena, so CSPD again served them requesting the information to identify the poster. As of 5:00 PM on July 1, there was still no response from Tumblr. With no ability to determine the credibility of the threat, members of the Pride Board opted to cancel the picnic in the interest of public safety. Despite the cancellation, CSPD investigators will continue to follow up on the situation and will work with the FBI to identify any potential charges.
Organizers say they hope to hold the event at a later date. They posted the following message to Facebook (edited for grammar):
Dear PCC friends,
The Pride Picnic, scheduled for next Sunday July 10, has been postponed.
Pride received a threat of violence and while the police and FBI are actively investigating, the Board of Directors deemed it best to hold the picnic at a future date.
We hope that our LGBTQA+ community and allies will join us at that time for an even bigger event. We’ll see you then!
Fears of violence against the LGBT community have been felt around the world. The Paris Pride parade route was cut in half this year due to security concerns.