An Oklahoma group organizing a biathlon event called Oklahoma Run ‘n Gun, which combines running and shooting. raised eyebrows when they featured a rainbow flag as a shooting target in a recent Facebook post.
From Oklahoma City’s NBC affiliate:
The post angered many people who took it as a direct threat to the LGBT community.
Event organizers say they did not expect the response they got and that it was all meant as a joke.
“People got really offended and really upset and people were really feeling threatened,” said Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson.
The picture shows two men with rifles standing beside a rainbow flag and the caption reads “new high visibility targets on the 500 yard range.”
“People took it as a threat, people felt very threatened,” said Stevenson.
“Since it said our new target and it had guns that I took it as a threat,” said human rights activist, Mahkesha Hogg.
“I think for many gay men and women in the state of Oklahoma, we feel as if we walk around as targets,” said Scott J. Hamilton, an advocate for the LGBT community.
Stevenson says he reached out to event organizers after seeing the picture.
“He assures us that it wasn’t meant as a threat. It was a situation where I don’t think the people doing it understood social media or how bad their joke was,” said Stevenson.
The race organizer tells NewsChannel 4 some people had been complaining about not being able to see the targets, so this was their response… a brightly colored one.
He says it was meant to be funny.
The event organizer tells us they are a fitness and liberty minded group, not a hate group.
Making the symbol of LGBT Pride your target to shoot at? Gee, I can’t imagine why gay folks would feel threatened.
You’ll all recall when former half-term governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, promoted “targeting” Democratic lawmakers during an election cycle and soon after Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot by a gun nut.
Words and images matter people.