Was the Colorado nightclub shooting caused by hate speech?

By Mitchell Blatt
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, December 2, 2022
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A makeshift memorial is set up near Club Q  in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Nov. 20, 2022. [Photo/cfp.cn]

Was the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs caused by anti-LGBT rhetoric from American politicians and hate leaders?

That's what some columnists and pundits are suggesting. New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg called the attack "shocking and entirely predictable." Gay nightclubs have been the target of mass shooters before. In 2016, an anti-gay thug shot up a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49.

While a lot has changed in the last six years, vile hate speech and discrimination against LGBT people continue to be significant problems. Just before midnight on Nov. 19, a killer entered Club Q and murdered five people with an AR-15-style assault rifle. Twenty-five other victims were injured. 

More innocent lives would have been lost if not for the heroics of the gay men and women and their allies who fought back. However, these men and women have been demonized by some Republican politicians and conservative activists who have accused them of "grooming" children. 

These narratives are inspiring fear of LGBT people and causing transphobia.

The same people have opposed LGBT rights for decades. Years ago, they targeted their ire at same-sex marriage. However, since the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in 2015 legitimized same-sex marriage, they started to deemphasize the issue. 

In recent years, right-wing activists and politicians have changed the manner of rhetoric by focusing on attacking transgender Americans. Ron DeSantis filed a lawsuit to try to ban a drag show in his state, saying, "That is not consistent with our law and policy in the state of Florida, and it is a disturbing trend in our society to try to sexualize these young people."

The attack at Club Q occurred while a drag show was being held. The shooter had been fed a stream of media sound bites telling him that LGBT people were a threat to children. 

Drag shows are not everyone's cup of tea. There are bound to be some people who take some time to get used to it. However, people in a so-called free country, like the U.S., should be able to choose whether they want to attend or not. Leaders should try to help society work more harmoniously instead of using controversy as a wedge to inspire more social division. 

Mitchell Blatt is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit:


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