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Self-defense and Inclusion Outreach at Columbus Pride (OC event) - 6/17/17

BB62

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From the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/115515345694262/

The primary purpose of this open carry event is to provide visible outreach to members of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer) community on the subject of self-defense – a topic which I’ve been told is of greatly increased interest recently. To those who are curious or who otherwise show interest, we’ll talk about self-defense, gun rights & privileges, and just plain old engage in civil conversation.

Last year, I and other Outreach participants had a number of rewarding and informative conversations at Cincinnati Pride.

The secondary purpose of this event is to raise the subject of the exclusionary and discriminatory requests/demands of Stonewall Columbus regarding the right of self-determination of one’s legal means of self-defense.

**Although firearm possession is legal at both the Festival and Parade**, Stonewall requests that “firearms not be brought to the Pride festival or Parade” and insists that “Firearms, loaded or unloaded, concealed or exposed, are strictly prohibited from any float or walking group throughout the Parade or at any booth or area at the Pride Festival.”

Even after multiple communications with Lori Gum, Festival Coordinator, she simply wouldn’t address or acknowledge what I was told at Cincinnati Pride and what I know from other conversations: that even in the wake of individual and collective attacks, many members of the LGBTQ community have been made to feel like pariahs or lesser members of “the community” because of requests or demands like those Stonewall has made or because of their appreciation and/or exercise of constitutional or statutory rights related to firearms.

As far as I’m concerned, Stonewall’s requests/demands only serve to exclude and condone discrimination against law-abiding members of their own community. We ALL share the same inherent right of self-defense and the right to choose our legal method(s) of exercising it.

>> SIDEARMS ONLY << please.

Although we’ll gather at a meeting point we will NOT circulate in a large group, but rather will do so singly or groups of two or three.

Some Pride Festival attendees may be apprehensive, some may be receptive, and some may be belligerent about our presence - so if you're not prepared to deal with a range of emotions/reactions, ** STAY HOME **.

This description will be modified as necessary for parking, meetup, timing, etc. reasons, including for example, as responses are received from various parties.

CIVIL DISCUSSION HERE: The aim of this event and this page is to spark >> dialogue and discussion << (not insult), so if you can't control yourself enough to engage in one or both, your post(s) will be removed, and if necessary, you will be reported to Facebook.

*** This Open Carry Outreach event is not affiliated with or endorsed by Columbus Pride, or any other entity or organization, unless specifically stated. ***


For informational purposes only:

Columbus Pride webpage: https://columbuspride.org/

Pink Pistols (LGBTQ gun group): http://www.pinkpistols.org/about-the-pink-pistols/
 

BB62

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In order to see where the secondary purpose of this event came from, here are the communications I had with Stonewall Columbus, the organizers of the Pride Parade & Festival: (any ellipses shown were in the original messages)

I sent this via the “Contact Us” page https://columbuspride.org/contact-us/ on 3/12/17:

Are firearms permitted at the Pride Festival?

Thank you.
From: Lori Gum
To: BB62
Sent: Monday, March 13, 2017 1:02 PM
Subject: Firearms at 2017

Thank you for your inquiry. While we ask that firearms not be brought to the Pride festival or Parade.... we are required to follow the state laws regarding such and at this time, firearms are permitted in Columbus City Parks.

--
Lori Gum
Program Coordinator &
Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival Coordinator

On Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 9:49 AM, BB62 wrote:

Thank you for your reply.

Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade 2016 Rules: https://columbuspride.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Stonewall-Columbus-Pride-Parade-2016-Rules-2.pdf (pdf also attached)

From page 3 of the *rules*: “Firearms: Firearms, loaded or unloaded, concealed or exposed, are strictly prohibited from any float or walking group throughout the Parade or at any booth or area at the Pride Festival. Exclusions include Stonewall hired Columbus Police officers pertaining to security contracts.”

I’m concerned both because I see conflicting information on the Pride website and because I have gun-owning friends who are members of the LGBTQ community. Over the years, and even in the wake of The Pulse nightclub attack, my friends have told me that they have been made to feel like pariahs or lesser members of “the community” because of both rules/requests like that Stonewall has made and because of their appreciation and/or exercise of constitutional or statutory rights related to firearms. I’ve also been told that attacks against LGBTQ community members are on the increase, causing greater interest in self-defense classes (with or without firearm involvement).

In my opinion, rules/requests like those Stonewall have made amounts to this message: The peaceful exercise of some individual rights should be done freely, but the peaceful exercise or appreciation of others should be kept in the closet!

I’d like to ask that Stonewall change its rules regarding legal firearm possession and that Stonewall stop requesting that individuals limit their exercise of legal rights regarding their choice of self-defense methods.

I look forward to your response and thank you for your consideration.

Cordially,
BB62
From: Lori Gum
To: BB62
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 12:51 PM
Subject: Re: Firearms at 2017 - ** REQUESTS **

Hello BB62.....

Thank you for your input and feedback. We sincerely appreciate the time you took to do so. We are reviewing our Pride "firearms" policies as we speak along with CPD and city and state officials. I will update you as to the revised policies as soon as we have them firmly determined.

Respectfully,

Lori

On Mon, May 15, 2017 at 11:10 AM, BB62 wrote:

Ms. Gum,

Your e-mail of two and a half weeks ago (April 26) said, regarding Pride’s firearm policies: “I will update you as to the revised policies as soon as we have them firmly determined.”

However, last Friday, while awaiting a response from you, I checked Pride’s 2017 Parade Rules and found language identical to the 2016 language: “Firearms: Firearms, loaded or unloaded, concealed or exposed, are strictly prohibited from any float or walking group throughout the Parade or at any booth or area at the Pride Festival. Exclusions include Stonewall hired Columbus Police officers pertaining to security contracts.”

I’m simply floored.

From the 2017 Pride FAQ’s: “We stand ever firmly behind our LGBTQ community and all of our communities that demand inclusion, full enfranchisement and equality before the law.”

How does a LGBTQ individual who’s been asked to limit their peaceful exercise of legal rights regarding their choice of self-defense methods while at Pride feel “full enfranchisement and equality”?

I would very much appreciate a note of explanation, because I’m just flabbergasted.


Cordially,

BB62


Attachments: 2017 Pride Parade Rules & 2017 Pride FAQs

https://columbuspride.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Stonewall-Columbus-Pride-Parade-2017-Rules.pdf

https://columbuspride.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Columbus-Pride-Parade-FAQ-1.pdf
From: Lori Gum
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2017 12:26 PM
To: BB62
Cc: Riana Brewer; Karla Rothan
Subject: Re: Firearms at 2017 - ** REQUESTS **

Hello Mr. Smith....

After further conversations with local and federal law enforcement officials regarding this issue..... we stand by our policy as stated and this will remain the policy of the 2017 Pride Parade and Festival. This will be my final word on the matter.

Respectfully,

Lori

On Tuesday, May 16, 2017 8:33 AM, BB62 wrote:

Ms. Gum, Ms. Brewer & Ms. Rothan,

I’m certainly not insensitive to the requests of law enforcement…

So are you saying that while Stonewall Columbus fully supports the right of self-determination regarding legal means of self-defense – that law enforcement agencies have asked that you request (in the case of attendees) or demand (in the case of Parade and booth participants) that individuals limit their legal means of self-defense to something not involving firearms?

I would appreciate any clarification you’d like to give.


Thank you,

BB62

There was no reply to my 5/16/17 e-mail.
 
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Rusty Young Man

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Good effort, though I doubt the snowflake will reply to your email. Notice she never said who she spoke to, which department, nor what "federal law enforcement officials" have to do in the matter, since the event doesn't appear to be on some sort of federal reserve (heck, even national parks are expected to comply with the STATE laws).
 

BB62

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Good effort, though I doubt the snowflake will reply to your email. ...
Without rendering an opinion on the "snowflake" part, I agree - I expect no response.

... Notice she never said who she spoke to, which department, nor what "federal law enforcement officials" have to do in the matter, since the event doesn't appear to be on some sort of federal reserve (heck, even national parks are expected to comply with the STATE laws).
I know. Hence my records requests, which so far have produced no records. Imagine that! :rolleyes:
 
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DrMark

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"...we are required to follow the state laws regarding such and at this time, firearms are permitted in Columbus City Parks."
-- Lori Gum

See, no problem!!
:)

Best wishes for productive conversation at the event.

 

BB62

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RECORDS REQUESTS FILLED

Because of Ms. Gum's implication that she/Stonewall had allegedly been in contact with LE agencies regarding Stonewall's firearm policy/demands I contacted every applicable LE agency I could think of, including the Columbus Police, Ohio Highway Patrol, and Ohio Homeland Security.

NONE have records of communications with either a) the festival coordinator, and/or b) Stonewall Columbus about suggesting or demanding that firearms be kept from the parade or festival.

Imagine that! :rolleyes:
 

Firearms Iinstuctor

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Because of Ms. Gum's implication that she/Stonewall had allegedly been in contact with LE agencies regarding Stonewall's firearm policy/demands I contacted every applicable LE agency I could think of, including the Columbus Police, Ohio Highway Patrol, and Ohio Homeland Security.

NONE have records of communications with either a) the festival coordinator, and/or b) Stonewall Columbus about suggesting or demanding that firearms be kept from the parade or festival.

Imagine that! :rolleyes:
Anti's lie all the time if they knew and told the truth they would not be anti.
 

BB62

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>> AFTER EVENTS REPORT <<

COTA bus ride page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1678956515745578

First, my thanks and deep appreciation to Albert Cowlan, Kimberly Cowlan, and two others who wish to remain anonymous for attending both the bus ride and the outreach event yesterday. Thank you for your presence and active involvement - the hallmark of these types of events.

Combined report on the COTA bus ride and Pride Festival Outreach:

*BUS RIDES:*

Five of us assembled at a late-arranged location for the ride to the Pride Festival. Because both the Columbus Police and COTA failed to respond to my notices, I changed the meetup location and notified people privately of the new meetup spot. I did this so as not to have a "welcoming committee", and as a way to force COTA to address, on a system-wide basis, the possibility of openly armed riders on COTA buses.

The plan worked! The bus driver informed me that bus drivers had recently received instructions that openly armed people were not to be molested as long as they didn't appear to be a threat - which sounded good to me. A records request will be forthcoming to determine the exact instructions given.

The return bus ride was packed, with more and more people (Pride & otherwise) getting on at each stop. A number of firearms-related questions were asked of us by other riders.

In sum, the bus rides were on-point, yet uneventful. :D

*PRIDE FESTIVAL*

We arrived at the Statehouse and walked a few blocks west on Broad Street headed toward Genoa Park. This afforded us a view of the tail-end of the parade, which contained all sorts of 'fashions', and alongside of which stood a number of protesters. As mere openly-armed individuals with "Guns SAVE Lives" stickers, we were decidedly *low-key*. ;)

The parade route and the main thoroughfare of the festival was hot and packed! Did I mention HOT, HOT, HOT? Wow.

Regarding our open carrying, we got a number of fist-bumps from people, "I agree!" (wrt the stickers), "thanks for being here", questions, conversations, and at least one "I can't even!" followed by a rude finger gesture from someone apparently incapable of civil dialogue.

Regarding the hypocritical position of Stonewall Columbus regarding firearm carry, people we spoke to, **including those in booths promoting self-defense**, were astonished and disturbed to learn of Stonewall's "no carry" demands (of parade and booth participants) and requests (of festival attendees).

Yep, Stonewall allows people to hand out whistles (Buckeye Regional Anti-Violence Organization), show off electric shock devices, advise people not to become victims, offer counseling services, but don't you DARE think that *paying* for a booth or a parade spot allows you to carry one of those eeeevil 'instruments of death'! <gasp>

Stonewall's communications with me as well as their firearm restrictions make it clear that their position on firearm carry is a **political statement**. Yes, an organization that clearly despises discrimination doesn't seem at all bothered by practicing (and implicitly endorsing) some of their own.

For next year, remember to bring sunscreen, water, and stay off the main "cattle drive" route!

P.S. - No problems were encountered with LE, attendees, or various protesters of attendees.
 
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solus

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June 2018 columbus pride:
Well as i stroded through the multitudes of parade watchers & celebrants wearing my bright orange shirt [To celebrate mom’s against everything stand against gun violence, I mean really, I truly abhor gun violence myself] while OC’g ~ absolutely nobody twitched, winced, panic’d, or went screaming for Columbus’ finest.

While wandering the vendors’ booths, an acquaintance of a friend I was with, stoped to say hello and i noticed they were scantly attired with short shorts while wearing an uncle mike’s frayed drop down holster holding an XD 9. We briefly chatted regarding how good it was to see another carrying, OC’g and all.

Attended a gala event at an outdoor venue which has an open framed eight story office building being constructed immediately next door, and was surprised there were no PD present on the poorly secured property. That changed quickly when someone at the venue {who was exercising excellent SA :uhoh:} pointed out to the nice CPD Sgt there was movement on the top floor about 2.5 hours into the event!

Observation, always surprises me how naive LE planning is and fails to heed the past shooting events to implement a ‘precautionary measure’ to put uniforms in strategy positions overseeing crowds of its citizens!

Extreme heat notwithstanding, a good time was had by all and Columbus’ economy is the better for the event
 
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BB62

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June 2018 columbus pride:
Well as i stroded through the multitudes of parade watchers & celebrants wearing my bright orange shirt [To celebrate mom’s against everything stand against gun violence, I mean really, I truly abhor gun violence myself] while OC’g ~ absolutely nobody twitched, winced, panic’d, or went screaming for Columbus’ finest. ...

... Extreme heat notwithstanding, a good time was had by all and Columbus’ economy is the better for the event
Yes, just as I expected, and the predicted temperature was the reason I missed it after creating a Facebook event page.

I'm fair skinned, and having been sunburned a couple days before, knew that lotion would never last in the combination of the heat and my perspiration.

Thanks for the report, and maybe I'll see you next year!
 
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