Five people were killed and 25 injured in a cold-blooded massacre over the weekend targeting Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. The Party for Socialism and Liberation offers our deepest condolences to the victims of this mass shooting and their loved ones.
The shooter appears to have been taken into custody last year for making violent threats against his own mother, including a bomb threat. The owners of Club Q have said that they do not recognize the shooter, who is currently in custody but reportedly refusing to speak to authorities. The shooter was not captured by the police — he was subdued thanks to the heroism of patrons of the club who tackled him and wrestled the gun from his hands, saving countless lives.
While details are still emerging in this terrible crime, what is absolutely clear is that this comes at a time when there is a rising wave of anti-LGBTQ bigotry pushed by right-wing politicians who are creating a climate of violent hostility across the country. Colorado Springs, dominated by the military-industrial complex and a base of right-wing Christian fundamentalism, is well-known for being a center of this type of reactionary politics.
Right-wing state governments have passed a wave of outrageous legislation designed to promote hatred against LGBTQ people. For many rising stars in the Republican Party, it has become a twisted sort of competition to see who can enact the most hardline bigoted policies to distinguish themselves at the national level. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott are among the figures most associated with this, pushing measures like “don’t say gay” laws that effectively ban acknowledging the existence of LGBTQ people in schools or policies that would criminalize gender-affirming care for trans youth.
In two weeks, the Supreme Court will hear a case that could make it legal for businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ customers. Arguments in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis revolve around whether or not a company that designs websites for weddings can have an official policy refusing service to couples of the same gender. The court is packed with right-wing bigots, including fundamentalist zealot Amy Coney Barett. Ex-members of People of Praise, a shadowy fundamentalist religious group Barett belongs to, are demanding she recuse herself from the case due to her membership on the board of directors of Trinity Schools Inc., the private school network affiliated with the sect. Trinity Schools has an official policy of banning LGBTQ children and the children of LGBTQ parents on the basis of a prohibition on “blatant sexual immorality.”
The rising tide of hatred is not a spontaneous phenomenon, it originates from the ruling-class elite. While professional politicians know they need to stop short of openly advocating violence, it is no secret that acts of violence and even mass murder are inevitable byproducts of this type of bigoted demagoguery that seeks to demonize a whole section of society with outrageous lies.
Right-wing terrorists want to force LGBTQ people to live in fear, imposing an ultra-reactionary agenda shared by powerful ruling class-elements. But this hatred is rejected by the majority of people in society. In the wake of the terrible massacre in Colorado Springs, unity and solidarity in the fight for equality is as important as ever.