On Saturday night, a gunman opened fire inside the LGBTQ+ nightclub Club Q. The shooter was disarmed and taken down by heroic patrons, including an army veteran who went into “combat mode” and helped saved “dozens and dozens of lives.” Tragically, the attack killed at least five people and injured 25 more and was described by Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers as having “all the trappings of a hate crime,” though he added that an official motive is “still under investigation.”
In the aftermath of the shooting, conservatives have doubled down on their anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, including former legal adviser to Donald Trump, Jenna Ellis. In a description for her Tuesday episode of The Jenna Ellis Show, Ellis attempts to addresses what she calls “the left’s narrative” that focuses on “Christians hate homosexual and transgender individuals and somehow that ‘hate’ led to the shooting.” The description then goes on to make an irrational parallel between abortion and the Colorado shooting, asking: “Why aren’t leftists as angry at the murder of unborn children as they are the murder of LGBTQ people?”
Yet in the episode she directly points out that the five people killed that night had “no evidence at all that they were Christians” and that “they are now reaping the consequences of having eternal damnation… We should be having that conversation.” Ellis continues, “Instead of the just tragedy of what happened to the body, we need be talking about what happened to the soul and the fact that they are now in eternal separation from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Earlier this year, Ellis was ordered to appear before a grand jury investigating whether Trump and others illegally tried to influence the outcome of the 2020 election. However, much of her time since then has been dedicated to attacking the LGBTQ+ community on social media including a social post where she appeared to equate gay men to monkeypox.
Trump’s ex-lawyer echoes the use of inflammatory rhetoric against the LGBTQ community both before and following the killings in Colorado Springs. On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson condemned the shooting, yet four minutes into his 14-minute monologue, a graphic reading “Stop Sexualizing Kids” displayed across the screen as he blamed the left for “mutilating” and “sexualizing” kids.
Tim Pool, a conservative YouTuber and podcast host with 1.4 million followers on Twitter, seemed to blame the venue where the shooting occurred. “We shouldn’t tolerate pedophiles grooming kids,” Pool tweeted. “Club Q had a grooming event. How do prevent the violence and stop the grooming?” He appeared to reference the all-ages drag Sunday brunches hosted at Club Q.
Matt Walsh, a prominent conservative YouTuber with 1.9 million subscribers, posted a video on Tuesday titled, “Why The Left Is So Desperate To Expose Children To Drag Queens.” “Is it that hard to not crossdress in front of kids? Is the compulsion that overwhelming?” he said in the video. “If it’s causing this much chaos and violence, why do you insist on continuing to do it?”
While far-right conservatives continue to villify and blame the LGBTQ+ community for the horror that took place in Colorado Springs, the city itself is focused on supporting the victims and their families. During a press conference, the Mayor Suthers added that while Colorado Springs is a “community in mourning,” the city is “determined to make sure that the actions of a lone gunman don’t define our community.”