It happened again. This time in Colorado. The LGBQT community in Colorado Springs at Club Q experienced massive and fatal violence. Anderson Lee Aldrich is facing five counts of first degree murder. Witnesses say Aldrich entered the club with tons of weapons and started his violent rampage.
It appears as though he simply walked into the club and immediately opened fire! He killed five people and injured 25 others.
Various reports say that 911 calls came through around 11:56 PM. Officers dispatched at 11:57. In addition, an officer arrived at the club around midnight. The suspect was detained at 12:02 AM.
There are many conversations to be held around this violent event: Gun legislation. Safety issues within marginalized communities. Homophobia. Policing issues. Hate crimes. The list goes on.
What can’t be overlooked is how this event triggers memories of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016. The extremely horrific similar storyline is chilling! A lone heavily armed gunman casually walks inside the club and harms unsuspecting individuals who were just enjoying themselves at a predominantly gay club.
The LGBQT community was once again failed by legislators and local police. It must be noted that even though the police were called and dispatched, law enforcement did not apprehend the suspect. According to the timeline and witnesses, the shooting only lasted a few minutes, because the people inside the club were the ones who subdued Aldrich. Not the police.
As communities in Colorado and Florida scramble to regain hope and dignity, there must be continued organizing and legislative work around gun issues as well as needed protection of our most vilified individuals.
Lessons from the Pulse debacle and scandals afterwards should govern how and where our advocacy and support are aligned. Impacted individuals must be supported directly. Many from the Pulse Massacre never received or received less compensation and support than others. Club owners and elected officials built platforms around the Pulse tragedy which intensified chaos, injury and trauma.
Let’s take the power back and place in the hands of survivors, their families, and those directly impacted.
Meanwhile, we condemn hate crimes and all structures of white supremacy, including homo/transphobia, misogyny, hegemony and all oppressive ideology designed to harm.
Robin Harris is an activist for LGBTQIA, low-income, and other marginalized people. She is an organizer for Central Florida Mutual Aid and collaborates with GO Humanity service team Orlando Oasis on disaster recovery. She also works as an activist to hold OnePULSE Foundation accountable for not giving funds to survivors.