The initial narrative about the shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado appears to have hit a snag.
In the wake of the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs that left five people dead, several commentators appeared on TV to assign blame for the shooting to Republicans and conservative media.
On MSNBC, former FBI Assistant Director Frank Figluizzi suggested the 22-year-old may be a fan of some big names in the conservative ecosystem such as Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. He also argued they should face civil consequences for their rhetoric about the LGBTQ community.
And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) accused Boebert of “elevating anti-LGBT+ hate rhetoric and anti-trans lies.”
But the claim that the suspect was motivated by rhetoric from conservatives may have hit a snag.
According to Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, a reporter for The New York Times, court documents show the suspects’ attorneys say their client is nonbinary and “they use they/them pronouns.”
Additionally, the lawyers use “Mx” instead of Mr. or Mrs. to refer to their client.
In new court filing, public defenders for the suspect in the mass shooting at a Colorado gay club that left 5 people dead say that their client is non-binary and that "they use they/them pronouns." The lawyers refer to their client as Mx. Anderson Aldrich. pic.twitter.com/dPaUpiFXKN
— Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs (@NickAtNews) November 23, 2022
It is entirely possible the suspect did not identify as nonbinary until this week and is just trying to sow confusion. And perhaps the suspect had consumed a lot of conservative media and was fueled by the rhetoric.
But it’s also possible the suspect identified as nonbinary for a while and was not motivated by bias against the LGBTQ community.
Officials filed preliminary charges of murder and hate crimes against the suspect. Still, The Washington Post noted law enforcement officials are still searching for a motive.
So at this point, it is probably too early to definitively make a claim as to what fueled the violence.
The Post also notes the suspect had a troubled childhood and went through the process of a name change at age 15 after enduring online bullying. Additionally, the paper noted the suspect was arrested after an alleged bomb threat and charged with kidnapping as well as felony menacing in 2021 — however, he was not prosecuted.
It is possible to express shock, sadness, and anger after a shooting without getting in front of the cart and accusing conservatives of fueling it. No prominent conservative politician or commentator has called for their followers to gun down members of the LGBTQ community, or engage in other kinds of violence.
But what many in the media are doing is a form of moral bullying. They are essentially arguing conservatives cannot voice concerns about gender theory or transgender females competing in women’s sports because a crazy person might hear those arguments and decide the appropriate response is to engage in violence.
Yet before all the facts were even close to being in, many on Twitter and TV were irresponsibly quick to blame conservatives’ rhetoric for the shooting. However, if it turns out the suspect is not a consumer of conservative media, for many people it will not matter. The narrative is baked in.
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