I’ve held off writing on this topic as I wanted as much information as feasible to go on before dissecting the midnight assault that killed 5 and wounded 18 in Colorado.
11:56pm: A 22 year old man enters club Q with a long gun, probably semi-automatic given the injury counts, and begins firing. He is engaged quickly by club patrons of extraordinary courage and is subdued quickly.
12:00am: Police arrive
12:02am: Shooter is in custody.
This represents one of the quickest resolutions to an attack that we have on record.
Unarmed Resistance to an Armed Assailant
Armed resistance, firing back, was unavailable as an option under Colorado law. A bar is a gun free zone and the only exception would be employed armed security, a facet that would spoil the mood of a club meant to be a carefree safe space for the LGBTQ community. The likelihood of the left leaning LGBTQ club community developing a large enough interest in the profession of arms to harden their clubs and shape the laws to match is unfortunately unlikely. Public spaces, welcoming spaces, are impossible to truly harden.
But the community doesn’t lack courage and even in the face of the attack patrons didn’t wait for another Pulse to happen, where the government delivered an abysmal response to the attack and dozens bled to death.
Instead former Army Major Rich Fierro, Thomas James, and shortly after that one of the performers, closed with the shooter, yanked him down by his cheap armor or vest, and beat him into submission. The cops would be on scene and have the shooter in custody a couple minutes later.
Fierro said he just reacted, he attacked the shooter himself and started giving orders for support. The performer is said to have beat the shooter with a high heel to the face.
If you want to support Fierro after his heroic actions, his wife’s brewery sells pretty awesome merch.
The shooter was arrested the previous summer, 2021, for threatening his mother, law enforcement, and the community with a bomb in a multi-hour standoff with police. However the government did not prosecute any of these charges to a conviction, they dropped them all and to the best of our knowledge didn’t even commit the shooter.
The shooter by all accounts should have been the poster-child for criminal and mental prohibited person, the video of the police stand-off can be found online. But the government did not conclude this case with a prohibiting result. It may have not helped in the end, the shooter may still have had access to weapons, but the government did not put this man in a prison or a sleeveless coat after this incident and another incident occurred. The government didn’t do what they promise is supposed to prevent these events and this time 5 died and 18 were wounded.
The government is once again left holding an empty set of restraints for a person they knew about and the blood splatter upon the government visage is getting abhorrently incompetent. How many times must they fail in their promises?
The Renewed Call for a Ban on Assault Weapons
Despite these very obvious government failures, with an ugly feeling of being repeated, the Biden administration is already calling for the absurdly impossible ban on assault weapons. A ban which the government, with their lengthening list of failures, would be in charge of enforcing. The government which has shown themselves entirely inept in preventing these now wants you to trust them to stop “assault weapons” from doing bad things anymore by just making it more illegal.
They cannot be assed enough to prosecute the far smaller number of problematic people in the nation, but they’ll totally get all the guns. They promise.
The Uvalde Contrast.
It has been pointed out by many that a retired Army Major, an additional patron, and a drag queen did in less than four minutes what nearly 400 officers failed to do.
They did it unarmed too.
You cannot substitute a uniform for the will to act.
The Obvious Question
We don’t have one yet. It could be the prominence of LGBTQ, especially Drag shows and their at times inappropriate association with young children in certain locales, media portrayal. Those instances are not the norm for these events, this specific midnight event was all adults and seems to have been rather indiscriminate in the killing. Abortion clinics have seen similar attacks, as have Christmas and Independence Day parades in recent times. No side holds the monopoly on their crazy people willing to go lone-wolf.
We don’t know if this was a target of convenience, a short-term lethal fixation on this topic and group where last year it was a stand-off with the police. This may be a longer and deeper prejudice. It has been noted the shooter’s grandfather is in congress, and a Republican, this has been used to delineate an “obvious” anti-LGBTQ motive putting aside just how different most grandchildren are from their grandparents.
Until and unless we find the rhetoric to support the conclusion that this was directed at the midnight Drag event because it was a Drag event we must remain open to the possibility that the shooter could have been motivated otherwise.
The likeliest theory however is this was a fixation, maybe one of several and unknown whether recently held or longer held. A triggered a violent ideation, not unlike the standoff which we saw from the shooter last year. Like the older abortion clinic attack it could be a retributive ideation, a likely motive, or it could be one more focused on directing attention to the shooter himself, which is also fairly common it attacks like this.
The likeliest, in my opinion, is it is a combination of the two. A delusion of needing to strike against a group that you’ve been told by your pocket “true” media is a threat to people, especially children, and a fixation on being the “hero” in that fight. The other likely scenario is the “fuck it” one where a high profile location, and LGBTQ club doing a Drag show would be among the highest profile locations at present, is chosen because of the coverage, attention, and turmoil it will cause, but without a retributive motive against the LGBTQ group specifically. This is similar in initial efforts to the self staged hate crimes, the location or group is picked to garner the attention, but where the self staged is usually a con for gain (think Jussie Smollett), this is a terror attack for attentions sake.
This could be a hate crime, very easily and very likely. This could also be a crime of attentive convenience, which in many ways is more sinister yet. If it is for attention itself, it plays to the media trends and the likeliest reactions. If this is the case, the current media circus of whether or not this was a hate crime is exactly the chaos and attention he wanted.
Praise the heroes. Praise Fierro, James, and all those who helped them. Praise the quick response of the police.
Then hold the prosecutor’s office, and the government at large, responsible for their failings. Do not let them sell you their snake oil gun control promise when they can’t be bothered to convict and imprison obviously problematic individuals, it will just be another thing for them to fail at.
A Disturbing Narrative
What I’ve noticed recently in online spaces is the consistent low key assumption by any definable group, whether it’s gamers, gun guys, or gays, that they are in particular being attacked. It is usually just a consequence of both algorithm and mods fighting off the truly abhorrent things that don’t get seen by many, the splash over is hitting legitimate content all the time and those instances get shared within their communities. The community gets more and more righteously indignant with each moderation mistake.
Moderating the online space is hard, ask Elon.
But the consensus of loosely or tightly correlated divisible groups that they are under special attack by the ‘powers that be’ or ‘other group’ seem to be manifesting in the small portion of the population within those groups that will react violently to the conclusion that they are being attacked. It is easy to justify fighting back. Even if they aren’t in objective terms, they believe they are and the belief is enough, in even one person properly motivated, to result in tragedy.
Those sentiments will then, unfortunately garner some portion of sympathy/understanding from their group, who feel attacked, even as they condemn the excess of violence. So both the attacker’s ‘group’ and the attacked ‘group’ feel some form of righteously aggrieved status, compounded by the algorithmically engaged media they are consuming on the subject, and more objective consensus on the event is less likely to result.
The LGBTQ groups and those supporting them are unlikely to see this as anything other than a hate crime, even if there is strong evidence this was an attack motivated by something else.
Conversely groups feeling they are catching the blame for this attack, and who felt in some way righteously aggrieved previously, are less likely to support the conclusion it was a hate crime, even if there is strong evidence to support the conclusion of a hate crime motivation.
The consistent online perception by multiple identifiable spaces, it seem most spaces in fact, that they are the target of discriminatory practices while another space is perceived as receiving special status is negatively contributing to the hostility in this nation between people who should otherwise get along amicably. Even if these people disagree, they should disagree as opponents and not adversaries or enemies. Digital social content, by targeting based upon interest, consequently tends to echo chamber your chosen affiliations.
This became most prominent to me recently as I explored a segment of the formerly religious, these groups of now atheist or agnostic people, with very legitimate grievances against segments of organized religion, also feel an aggrieved online status. The complaints levied by this group about their suppression, shadow bans, etc. could be copied and pasted into a hardline conservative space without edit. The same with gamers, gun guys, gays, streamers, you name the space and they probably have felt pressure.
We need to get some air, touch grass as they say these days. Get away from our algorithmically charged screen time and just hangout with our neighbors and communities. Realize that they are all folks just trying the best they can each day too and that so few of these people around us are actually a problem of any sort beyond the annoyance level.
Sure, evil exists. We saw it here and in the attack prior and in the attack next. We saw it as Putin crossed the border into Ukraine and as Iran open fired on their own people and the Kurds simultaneously. We’ve seen it before and we will see it again, we need to remain ready to punch it or shoot it in its stupid face as appropriate. But it isn’t half the nation. It isn’t half the world. We aren’t alone on these small echo chamber islands, most of us are frustrated by very similar things day in and day out.