Interview with Club Q shooting survivor
Interview with Club Q shooting survivor

Five peo­ple are dead and more than two dozen wound­ed after a gun­man wear­ing body armor and wield­ing an assault weapon entered a night­club in Col­orado Springs and opened fire, mass media report­ed today.

The hor­rif­ic attack, which author­i­ties are inves­ti­gat­ing, remind­ed many of the slaugh­ter at Orlan­do’s Pulse night­club in 2016, which remains the dead­liest inci­dent in the his­to­ry of vio­lence against LGBTQ+ peo­ple in the Unit­ed States and one of the worst mass shoot­ings in Amer­i­can history.

Accord­ing to the Den­ver Post: “Author­i­ties received a report of a shoot­ing at Club Q, 3430 N. Acad­e­my Blvd., at 11:57 PM [on Novem­ber 19th, 2022] and respond­ed with­in min­utes, said Lt. Pamela Cas­tro of the Col­orado Springs Police Depart­ment. The gun­man start­ed shoot­ing imme­di­ate­ly after enter­ing the club.”

“Emer­gency respon­ders direct­ed all units to respond to the club around mid­night, declar­ing it an active shoot­er sit­u­a­tion, accord­ing to archived record­ings of police radio traf­fic. The first offi­cer arrived on scene at mid­night and the sus­pect was detained at 12:02 AM, Cas­tro said. At least two patrons inside the club con­front­ed the sus­pect and stopped him, she said.”

The sus­pect has been iden­ti­fied and is in custody.

NPI is not nam­ing the indi­vid­ual in this post because we’d rather focus on the vic­tims of the attack than the perpetrator.

A sur­vivor told KRDO that “this was our only safe space in the Springs.”

“Where are we gonna go?” he asked.

“This is hor­rif­ic, sick­en­ing, and dev­as­tat­ing,” said Col­orado Gov­er­nor Jared Polis.

“My heart breaks for the fam­i­ly and friends of those lost, injured, and trau­ma­tized in this hor­rif­ic shoot­ing. I have spo­ken with May­or Suthers and made it clear that every state resource is avail­able to local law enforce­ment in Col­orado Springs.”

“We are eter­nal­ly grate­ful for 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. Col­orado stands with our LGTBQ com­mu­ni­ty and every­one impact­ed by this tragedy as we mourn together.”

“While no motive in this attack is yet clear, we know that the LGBTQI+ com­mu­ni­ty has been sub­ject­ed to hor­rif­ic hate vio­lence in recent years,” said Pres­i­dent Joe Biden in a state­ment dis­trib­uted by the White House on Sun­day morning.

“Gun vio­lence con­tin­ues to have a dev­as­tat­ing and par­tic­u­lar impact on LGBTQI+ com­mu­ni­ties across our nation and threats of vio­lence are increasing.”

“We saw it six years ago in Orlan­do, when our nation suf­fered the dead­liest attack affect­ing the LGBTQI+ com­mu­ni­ty in Amer­i­can history.

“We con­tin­ue to see it in the epi­dem­ic of vio­lence and mur­der against trans­gen­der women – espe­cial­ly trans­gen­der women of color.

“And trag­i­cal­ly, we saw it last night in this dev­as­tat­ing attack by a gun­man wield­ing a long rifle at an LGBTQI+ night­club in Col­orado Springs.”

“Places that are sup­posed to be safe spaces of accep­tance and cel­e­bra­tion should nev­er be turned into places of ter­ror and vio­lence. Yet it hap­pens far too often. We must dri­ve out the inequities that con­tribute to vio­lence against LGBTQI+ peo­ple. We can­not and must not tol­er­ate hate,” the Pres­i­dent said.

“Today, yet anoth­er com­mu­ni­ty in Amer­i­ca has been torn apart by gun vio­lence. More fam­i­lies left with an emp­ty chair at the table and hole in their lives that can­not be filled. When will we decide we’ve had enough? We must address the pub­lic health epi­dem­ic of gun vio­lence in all of its forms. Ear­li­er this year, I signed the most sig­nif­i­cant gun safe­ty law in near­ly three decades, in addi­tion to tak­ing oth­er his­toric actions. But we must do more. We need to enact an assault weapons ban to get weapons of war off America’s streets.”

“Today, Jill and I are pray­ing for the fam­i­lies of the five peo­ple killed in Col­orado Springs last night, and for those injured in this sense­less attack.”

Biden’s state­ment call­ing for an assault weapons ban is very wel­come and demon­strates a will­ing­ness and com­mit­ment to act rather than just offer­ing use­less “thoughts and prayers.” How­ev­er, due to Repub­li­can obstruc­tion­ism, get­ting an assault weapons ban through Con­gress would require either amend­ing or abol­ish­ing the Sen­ate fil­i­buster before the end of the cur­rent Con­gress, which is unlike­ly to hap­pen since Democ­rats don’t have fifty votes to change the rules.

The prospects for action at the state lev­el — at least in states with Demo­c­ra­t­ic tri­fec­tas — are bet­ter. Wash­ing­ton State Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son is ask­ing the Leg­is­la­ture to pass an assault weapons ban and NPI’s research shows that a major­i­ty of like­ly 2022 vot­ers are strong­ly sup­port­ive. A non­par­ti­san, non­aligned con­sor­tium work­ing with Sur­veyUSA has ver­i­fied NPI’s find­ing.

Cal­i­for­nia, Con­necti­cut, Delaware, the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, Hawai’i, Mary­land, Mass­a­chu­setts, New Jer­sey, and New York have banned assault weapons at the state lev­el. But Col­orado has not. Nor have Wash­ing­ton and Oregon.

All three states will remain Demo­c­ra­t­ic tri­fec­tas in 2023 and 2024 (Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nors + Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tures). Get­ting a ban passed must be a priority.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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