On the night of Saturday, November 19, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich entered Q nightclub – a popular LGBTQ+ venue in Colorado Springs – armed with a long rifle and began shooting. Aldrich killed five people and injured 25 others before he was subdued by patrons at the venue.
As of November 21, no motive has officially been established, however Colorado Springs Police and the FBI are investigating whether the attack was a hate crime. The attack came on the eve of the national Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday, November 20, and is reminiscent of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL in 2016.
In the wake of the attack, neo-Nazis and white supremacists on social media celebrated it as an assault on the LGBTQ+ community, praising the shooter as a saint and claiming that more violence will come. Some users argued that the attack was justified, citing extremist talking points such as drag queen story hours and LGBTQ+ content in school curriculums in claiming that the attack was a defense of children. Some, distancing themselves from the attack, claimed that they do not endorse the targeting of civilians, but suggested that the LGBTQ+ community invited violence upon themselves.
The DTTM tracks anti-LGTBQ+ hate in the United States and around the world, and have produced numerous reports on homophobia and transphobic violence. This June, the DTTM project produced a large, two part report on neo-Nazi and white supremacist reactions to Pride month and increasing anti-LGBTQ+ hate.[i]
The following report highlights extremist reactions to the Colorado Springs shooting from across social media, including Telegram, Incels.is, 4Chan, and Gab.
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In a homophobic Gab group, a user posted on November 21 a video of a Pride flag being burned and commented: "I heard that 5 filthy faggots got what they deserve in Colorado recently... Here's to hoping the body count rises." In the comments, users called for more violence.
One user wrote: "they got exactly what they deserve. What they all deserve."
A neo-Nazi wrote: "block all exits and fire bomb the place."
Another wrote: "In the end the only two options will be kill these f*ggots or let them fuck your kids."