The Castro — Prepared for the Worst?

Note: This story was reported and written in 2017.

By Jessica Delatorre

     Last year, headlines spanned worldwide of the Orlando shooting in which Omar Mateen opened fire in a gay nightclub in Florida, killing 49 people. The Castro neighborhood is popular for its prideful LGBT scene which can be a target for a similar mass shooting.If that happens, would the Castro be prepared for the worst?

    While residents anticipate the Castro getting flooded with people each Halloween, Drew Hynes, Human Rights Campaign Action Center and Store worker, said it’s a relatively safe area that doesn’t scare easily.

    The New York Times characterized it as the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Times reporter Dan Barry wrote a June 6, 2016 article detailing in vivid description the multiple nightmares:“The Orlando massacre turned a sanctuary of fantasy and escape into a sobering scene all too familiar in America.”

    Fred Long said there isn’t a problem with Castro’s night life. Long, a manager from Midnight Sun, a bar on Eighteenth Street, said they have security most nights. He rarely sees a problem but if a hate crime happened, the suspect would be “outnumbered,” he said.

    Jovani Gonzales, who often goes out in the Castro, said he always feels safe in the neighborhood.“Everyone in San Francisco, especially in the Castro, is so open and accepting that I feel safe going out, but in reality, it only takes one person to f— it up.” He added that the thought of a hate crime can be scary.

    Twin Peaks Tavern, located on Market and Castro streets, shows its LGBT pride with rainbow flags outside the bar. Twin Peaks Tavern declined comment on the topic of a possible hate crime happening in the Castro. But many locals have said the odds of a hate crime happening in the Castro are unlikely. They agreed that if one were to happen, the community is strong enough to overcome such an incident.

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