US: The Grotesque Politicization of the Colorado Springs Gay Bar Shooting | Opinion

Colorado Springs community mourns Club Q shooting victims: 'We all feel shock and grief'

  Colorado Springs community mourns Club Q shooting victims: 'We all feel shock and grief' Mourners left flowers and signs in a memorial to the victims after a gunman opened fire in the Colorado Springs, Colorado, club, killing 5 Saturday.Couples holding hands and parents with babies bundled in fleece blankets shuffled along where a makeshift memorial of cellophane-wrapped flowers and handwritten notes had been steadily growing outside the gay and lesbian club since early Sunday.

Americans are once again reeling in the face of unspeakable tragedy, after a mass shooting at a Colorado Springs gay bar left five dead and at least 25 injured. But while we collectively mourn, some cynical actors on the Left are grotesquely exploiting this unspeakable horror to take partisan cheap shots.

Bouquets of flowers and a sign reading © JASON CONNOLLY/AFP via Getty Images Bouquets of flowers and a sign reading "Love Over Hate" are left near Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on November 20, 2022.

Because the shooting occurred at a gay bar, some have leapt to assume that it was a targeted anti-gay hate crime. They went on to then cast blame on Republicans for supposedly fomenting anti-LGBT sentiment—saying this makes them culpable in the shooting.

Police say LGBTQ club shooter used 'long rifle' and acted alone: What we know about the attacker and Colorado gun laws

  Police say LGBTQ club shooter used 'long rifle' and acted alone: What we know about the attacker and Colorado gun laws El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen said investigators were looking into whether the attack should be prosecuted as a hate crime. But charges against the suspect “will likely include first-degree murder,” he said.Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning. The shooting rekindled memories of the 2016 massacre at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people. Colorado has experienced several mass killings, including at Columbine High School in 1999, a movie theater in suburban Denver in 2012, and at a Boulder supermarket last year.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offered perhaps the most prominent example of this partisan blame-casting in her response to the condolences offered by Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert.

"You have played a major role in elevating anti-LGBT+ hate rhetoric and anti-trans lies while spending your time in Congress blocking even the most common sense gun safety laws," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "You don't get to 'thoughts and prayers' your way out of this. Look inward and change."

5 dead, 25 injured in shooting at LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs: Live updates

  5 dead, 25 injured in shooting at LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs: Live updates Occurred on October 1, 2022 / Springfield, Tennessee, USA: "We drove up to a deer in the road not moving. I got out of the car and petted the deer before it moved."

Similar sentiments were shared by countless progressives on social media.

There are so many problems with this narrative it's hard to know where to start.

For one, it's completely unfounded to blame people who allegedly foment anti-gay hate for this shooting when we don't even know yet if it was motivated by anti-gay hate. While that could well be the case, it could also not be; sometimes mass shootings are random acts of violence or driven by motivations sane people struggle to immediately make sense of.

For example, the tragic 2016 massacre at the gay nightclub Pulse was (and is still) widely assumed to be an anti-gay hate crime. But we later learned that the shooter was actually motivated by U.S. bombings of the Middle East. In fact, the FBI's investigation found no evidence that the shooter intentionally targeted gay people.

'There's blood on your hands': Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric surged ahead of Club Q shooting

  'There's blood on your hands': Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric surged ahead of Club Q shooting Fifth Avenue in New York comes to a halt as Elton John performs outside iconic department store Saks, for their holiday window lighting. (Nov. 23)

So we cannot assume that Colorado Springs shooting was an anti-gay hate crime simply because it affected the gay community. Reality can be more complicated than that.

This is why it's beyond grotesque to throw blame about, accusing people of having "blood on their hands" for supposedly fueling the shooter's motivation when we don't even know what that motivation was!

Yet even if it was an act of anti-gay hatred, it's still unreasonable and actually insulting to turn this tragedy into a partisan blame-game. You cannot tie a direct line from act of hatred to comments made by certain elected officials or thought leaders.

Are we really supposed to believe that this shooting wouldn't have occured if Congresswoman Boebert hadn't tweeted about transgender people? Or that some segment on some right-wing media outlet caused something like this happen?

This is deeply unfair, in part because it is so nebulous and impossible to disprove. Moreover, almost no one in the U.S.—even the most far-right, anti-gay commentators—advocates for or condones this type of horrific violence.

What is collateral relief? Colorado Springs suspect had criminal record wiped before shooting

  What is collateral relief? Colorado Springs suspect had criminal record wiped before shooting A new trend in criminal justice reform wipes the slate clean for some accused of crime. That happened for Anderson Aldrich, the suspect in the Colorado Springs attack.Back in 2021, sheriff's deputies in SWAT gear responded to his home for a bomb threat after he allegedly threatened his mother with a homemade bomb, forcing neighbors in surrounding homes to evacuate while the bomb squad and crisis negotiators talked him into surrendering.

Shifting blame to those who have certain viewpoints is not only unjust; it's actually insulting to the victims, because it takes away responsibility for the atrocity from the actual criminal. It paints the evil killer as almost a helpless actor without agency who was brainwashed to commit the crime by all the Mean Words from Team Red. In reality, the murderer had agency and chose to commit this atrocity, meaning 100 percent of the blame lies with him and him alone.

Progressive partisan attacks that, intentionally or unintentionally, spread around the blame actually serve to partially let the killer off the hook for his crimes. That's an absolute disgrace and an insult to the victims' families.

And, if we're being honest, it's often done with openly cynical motivations. By conflating speech they dislike with violence, they seek to advance the censorship of this speech. Some are really not being at all subtle about this.

But, as even toddlers are taught, words are not violence. If we cede this dangerous ground, then free speech itself will quickly be eroded as each side casts the other's expression as "violent" or "fomenting hate."

Just like Richard Fierro in Colorado Springs, data shows that 64 unarmed civilians have apprehended the gunman in mass shootings since 2000

  Just like Richard Fierro in Colorado Springs, data shows that 64 unarmed civilians have apprehended the gunman in mass shootings since 2000 Recent data conducted by Texas State University and the FBI show that over 50 unarmed civilians have apprehended gunmen in mass shootings since 2000.The army veteran had been sitting at a table inside the club with his wife and daughter the night of Saturday, November 19 when a gunman entered and opened fire, killing five people and injuring eighteen. After hearing bullets, Fierro ran directly towards the shooter, who has now been identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, pulled him down, and beat him with his own gun before police arrived on the scene.

All these partisan attacks distract from the healing our country needs in the aftermath of such a heinous tragedy.

Leaders should be remembering the victims, honoring the heroes who took down the shooter, and waiting for the facts—not exploiting this horrific killing to attack their political opponents.

Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative journalist and the co-founder of BASEDPolitics.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.

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‘Master of Silly Business’ among 5 dead in Colorado shooting .
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — On a typical night at the Club Q, a bastion for LGBTQ people in the largely conservative city of Colorado Springs, Daniel Aston could be seen letting loose and sliding across the stage on his knees tailed by his mullet to whoops and hollers. The venue provided Aston, a 28-year-old transgender man and the self-proclaimed “Master of Silly Business," with the liberating performances he had long sought. But on Saturday it became the site of the latest mass shooting in the U.S. when a gunman with an semiautomatic rifle opened fire and killed Aston and four others. Twenty-five others were injured.

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