SEATTLE – Many of Seattle’s nightclub and bar employees spent Monday afternoon taking a crash course in how to deal with an active-shooting situation.
After the deadly Orlando gay nightclub shooting, many of Seattle’s LGBT community wonder what they can do to stay safe.
Several gay pride festivals are scheduled to happen this coming weekend, and tens of thousands of people are expected to visit.
Monday’s meeting was the first of three active-shooter training sessions put on with the help of the Seattle Police Department. It’s an effort to train people what do to if the unthinkable happens.
“This training is really tailored to club owners and event producers so they can start thinking about their space,” Joe Mirabella, a director of communications with the city of Seattle, told Q13 News.
The goal of the training is to teach nightclub employees to minimize casualties during a shooting or mass attack -- and how to keep everyone attending gay pride in Seattle safe.
“We have been targeted in our homes, in our churches, in our businesses and this is a tragic event but it’s important to remember this has been happening for way too long,” said Roger Nyhus, a member of the Seattle Human Rights Campaign.
Joan Wilson worries her recently out, gay son could be a target during this year’s pride weekend.
“I worry about Orlando,” she said. “I mean that you could be targeted just for your sexual orientation is just horrific.”
Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., said the Orlando shooting should be wake-up call for lawmakers to examine what can be done to stem the violence.
“We need to have a conversation about what we can do to end gun violence,” she said. “We have not even gotten to a point where we can lift a ban on federally funded research on gun violence.”
While Monday afternoon’s training session attendees hope to never use this specific kind of training in the real world, many in the LGBT community believe that hiding back in the closet in fear is not the answer to acts of terror.
“Those will not deter us from showing the community and the world of who we really are,” said Nyhus.
More training sessions are scheduled in Seattle on Tuesday and Wednesday. Anyone with an interest is asked to RSVP online here.