Conservative False Victimization Is More Than Irritating: It Feeds a Climate of Anti-LGBTQ Bigotry

How the hell did Anderson Lee Aldrich have a gun? That is one of the biggest questions that linger. the aftermath of the shooting at Club Q on November 19. On December 6, Aldrich was indicted on 305 separate criminal counts after a shooting left five dead and 22 wounded, all staff and customers of an establishment that has been characterized as a “sanctuary” for LGBTQ people in the largely conservative community of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Despite the fact that conservatives take advantage of Aldrich’s lawyers say defendant is non-binary In a court filing, Republican District Attorney Michael Allen included 48 counts of hate crimes in the charges.

This wasn’t Aldrich’s first run-in with the law, though the word “run-in” really downplays what allegedly happened in June 2021. The stories have been leaking out of Colorado for a couple of weeks, but on Wednesday Associated Press published an impressive and detailed report that should raise the question of why Aldrich had been allowed to own guns.

“You die today and I’ll take you with me,” Aldrich was quoted as saying. “I’m loaded and ready.”

Thus began a day of terror Aldrich unleashed in June 2021 that, according to sealed police documents verified by The Associated Press, brought SWAT teams and the bomb squad to a normally quiet Colorado Springs neighborhood, forced grandparents to flee for their lives and prompted the evacuation of 10 nearby homes to escape a possible bomb blast. It culminated in a confrontation that the then-21-year-old broadcast live on Facebook, showing Aldrich in tactical gear inside his mother’s house and threatening officers outside: “If they breach the breach, I’m screwed.” Holy hell!” — before finally giving up.


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A thorough search of the home later turned up bomb-making materials, according to the report. Aldrich, who according to the report claimed to want to be “the next mass murderer,” was arrested by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and charged with three felony kidnapping and four other counts. Then, for reasons still unknown, the charges were dropped. According to the AP report, there is no record of law enforcement seeking a warrant to seize the weapons Aldrich possessed under Colorado’s “red flag” law that allows the sheriff’s office, among others, to do so in the face of a threat of violence, even if there are no criminal charges. While those seizures are temporary, the court can be asked to extend them, and such a move could have kept Aldrich on law enforcement’s radar.

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“Red flag” laws are actually very modest gun reform. But NRA has gone to great lengths to paint the laws as a liberal conspiracy against gun rights. When Colorado passed its own version of the law in 2020, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder tried to play off this narrative, casting gun owners as the “real” victims. El Paso County Republicans declared themselves a “Sanctuary of the Second Amendment” and Elder continued “60 Minutes” to brag about how he wouldn’t enforce the provision. He has even threatened to Question “the constitutionality of this law.”

We don’t know why the red flag law was not invoked in Aldrich’s case. But the habit that conservatives have of presenting themselves as victims and the actual victimization of LGBTQ people are not related. Those who are so caught up in self-pity for imagined politicized slights are often unable, or unwilling, to see how they are contributing to a climate conducive to real violence and abuse directed at queer people.


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This has been most evident in the rise of the despicable accusation of “barber” taxes against LGBTQ people and their allies. Popular right propagandists like TikTok’s Libs Twitter account Y Fox News has equated expression of LGBTQ identities with “groomed up” children as if simply being gay and being around children is the same as manipulating children to make them easier to abuse. False claims that conservatives are trying to “protect” children from “grooming” have been made as a basis for violent protests at drag shows and legalize discrimination against LGBTQ people. Most notable is the “don’t say gay” law in Floridain which vague wording about “instruction” about “sexual orientation or gender identity” scares both teachers and students into staying locked up in school.

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In the world of psychology, there is a term for a strategy. domestic abusers use against victims: “DARVO“, which is short for “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.” This also describes the rhetorical strategies that the right uses to justify bigoted or dangerous rhetoric or behavior. The “coach” lie is a classic example. Wallow in DARVO too Time can distort a person’s view of reality, and can even turn a person who allegedly claimed to want to be a mass murderer into a potential victim of would-be gun hoarders.

On Monday, the Supreme Court witnessed just how bizarre and delusional this kind of conservative self-pity can be. It started with the case itself, 303 Creative vs. Elenis, in which a Colorado website designer challenges the state’s anti-discrimination law, arguing that she might want to tell a gay couple that she won’t create a wedding website for them. It doesn’t matter that no one has hired her to do such a thing or complained about her not doing it. She doesn’t even do wedding websites. Such is the level of anti-LGBTQ victims: now they are invoking imaginary gay couples to argue in fantasy settings. (For more on why this case is so stupid it shouldn’t have even made it to the Supreme Court, read Mark Joseph Stern’s story on Slate.)

During the discussions, Judge Samuel Alito, always eager to troll, began to present hypothetical examples of how anti-discrimination laws could hurt people he imagines liberals care about, like, uh, “Black Santa.”

“If there’s a Black Santa at the other end of the mall and he doesn’t want to take a picture with a kid in a Ku Klux Klan outfit, does that Black Santa have to do that?” Alito asked the Colorado attorney general.


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Any lawyer could tell you that the question is painfully stupid. As Colorado’s attorney general reminded Alito, “Ku Klux Klan attire is not protected characteristics under public accommodations laws,” while sexual orientation is. Alito tried to cover up his mistake with a crude joke about “black kids in Ku Klux Klan suits,” but it was too late. He had gone on record as equating gay couples planning a wedding to people in KKK garb harassing a Black Santa.

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Alliance Defending Freedom, the anti-LGBTQ group behind this lawsuit, is trying to present it as a harmless protection case for “sincerely religious” people. And yet, the arguments quickly reached a conservative judge who equated LGBTQ people simply living their lives with people dressed in the uniforms of white supremacist terrorist groups. Talk about investing victim and offender.

Which is why the outcome of this case could have dangerous ramifications, far beyond the seemingly narrow question of whether creative professionals can refuse to work for same-sex weddings. It feeds into a larger fake Republican narrative that presents bigotry as victimhood at the hands of an alleged “woke” conspiracy of authoritarians. LGBTQ people who are somehow hurting conservatives by performing or hosting drag shows, getting married, or just living out of the closet. And that rhetoric, in turn, helps fuel a rising tide of actual victimization of LGBTQ people, allies and spectators.

As Vice reports, armed militias such as the Proud Boys or the Patriot Front “in at least four states mobilized to shut down and intimidate events involving drag queens over the weekend.” in Louisiana, an information line is open for people to report librarians for having books with LGBTQ characters on the shelves. In California, a gay state senator reported being the target of a bomb threat by people who call him a “barber”.

There’s nothing new about Republicans posing as victims to cover up their own bad behavior, but it’s safe to say the trend has worsened in recent years under the leadership of Donald Trump, who is perhaps the most whiny fake victim in the country. . We are subject to weekly, often daily, tirades from Trump about how he is a victim, often when he is being criticized or the subject of legal investigations into his various schemes to victimize others, from election officials to the president of Ukraine. in the age of rise in hate crimes against LGBTQ peopleThe false conservative self-pity is beyond disgusting. It is undermining public safety.