America's gun problem is a recurring nightmare, one that its citizens cannot seem to emerge from. Just before midnight on November 20, 22-year-old suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich allegedly opened fire on punters at gay nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs. At the time of writing, five people are dead and upward of 18 are injured. Meanwhile, investigators are still determining whether the attack will be considered a hate crime, although a status posted on the nightclub's Facebook page condemned the violence as a "hate attack".
Daniel Davis Aston and Derrick Rump, both bartenders at Club Q, were among two of the five killed at the nightclub. Colorado Governor Jared Polis, who is the first openly gay man in the US to be elected governor, offered up his gratitude to the "brave individuals who blocked the gunman, likely saving lives in the process, and for the first responders who responded swiftly to this horrific shooting," saying in statement on social media.
I've been holding off on posting this until it was confirmed by a major news source. This is now confirmed by ABC.
Daniel Aston, transgender man, was one of the victims.
He once tweeted about how patrons at club Q would tell him "you make me feel safe" pic.twitter.com/znwMsNO3oh
— Erin Reed (@ErinInTheMorn) November 20, 2022
"Colorado stands with our LGTBQ Community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn," the statement continued.
Aldrich, who allegedly entered the nightclub at 11:55pm carrying two guns including a "long rifle" which he used to open fire, was quickly advanced upon, beaten up and bravely subdued by two clubgoers who held the gunman until police arrived at the scene at midnight. Aldrich was taken to hospital to be treated for his injuries.
The act of violence prevented a drag queen brunch scheduled for Sunday from taking place. November 20 is known as transgender day of remembrance, an annual observance since 1999 in honor of trans people who were killed in acts of anti-transgender violence.
Jim and Sabrina Aston’s son Daniel died last night at Club Q. He was a bartender but last night he was also performing. He was a trans man and they feel strongly that speaking out may help others. This is a photo of them holding a photo of Dan at 5 years old. Story TK. pic.twitter.com/X2DeBVTDUE
— Allison Sherry (@allisonsherry) November 21, 2022
Across social media, users are drawing links between the upsurge in anti-LGBTIQA+ rhetoric, especially in the political sphere with legislation like Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' Bill and a bill in Idaho that proposes banning Drag performances altogether, with this sort of violence. At the present moment Drag queens are facing intense unwarranted scrutiny as republican lawmakers across Florida, Arizona, Texas endeavour to prevent minors from attending Drag shows, as well as events like Drag story hour at libraries too.
At Club Q in Colorado, on the eve of Trans Day of Remembrance, directly following a drag show, 5 people were murdered.
Lauren Boebert offered her thoughts and prayers.
The normalization & encouragement of violent bigotry in the GOP is directly responsible for those deaths. pic.twitter.com/dkGQF5hkIn
— robin 🥖 🌹 leigh (@robinskyleigh) November 21, 2022
In the last 24 hours a Colorado Healing Fund has been set up to collect donations for the victims of the Club Q shooting, with its goal to provide both short and long term financial support.