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The Club Q Shooting in Colorado Springs: This Is What They Want

Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, and Marjorie Taylor Greene sit in the House chamber, looking to the side.

(Content Warning: descriptions of gun violence and hate speech)

Late last night Anderson Lee Aldrich, a 22 year old man with a possible history of violence, walked into Club Q in Colorado Springs, CO, and opened fire. He killed five people and shot eighteen others. Two patrons of the LGBTQ night spot were able to subdue him until police arrived. The club was hosting a punk rock night and usually also hosts weekend drag shows. The club and the Colorado Springs Police Department have both described the mass murder as a “hate attack.” At least five lives have been lost and countless others have been irreparably shattered.

This is what they want.

When LibsofTikTok refers to LGBTQ people as “groomers,” and trans people as pedophiles in her videos and posts, this is what they want.

When Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene and other right-wing zealots rant against laws like the Equality Act in the “name” of “children’s safety,” this is what they want.

When Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott pass draconian laws banning trans-affirmative medical procedures, describe hormone therapy as “child mutilation” and threaten to take trans children away from parents who affirm their gender and use LGBTQ people as boogeymen in their political campaigns, this is what they want.

When Matt Walsh and Tucker Carlson and Alex Jones endlessly rant about queer people being a threat to the “traditional” American family unit, that LGBTQ people are corrupting children, that trans women are safety threats in public restrooms, this is what they want.

They want violence. They want fear. They want drag shows harassed by Proud Boys. They want drag story times in public libraries closed over safety concerns. They want to exploit their constituency’s bigotry and hate. They want to keep us afraid. They want us afraid to attend shows. They want us afraid to go to our safe spaces. They want us afraid to live our authentic lives and dress and express ourselves as we truly are. 

They may spout empty platitudes about “thoughts and prayers” and half-heartedly condemn the violence, but never forget that violence is what they want. They want to control us and force us back into the closets, back into the conversion camps. They want their base agitated and us afraid. 

So as we mourn and grieve and gnash our teeth and hold our loved ones close, as we condemn gun violence for the hundred thousandth time, as we hold our vigils and our marches, we must be loud. And we must remember that fear is what they want.

(Via The New York Times/Image: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

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Brittany is a lifelong Californian (it's a big state, she can't find her way out!) who currently resides in sunny Los Angeles with her gigantic, vaguely cat-shaped companion Gus. If you stumble upon her she might begin proselytizing about Survivor, but give her an iced coffee and she will calm down.