From xxxxxx <[email protected]>
Subject Politicians in Colorado Springs Chose Flouting Gun Laws Over People’s Lives
Date November 27, 2022 1:00 AM
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[The Club Q shooter had threatened his family and told police he
would kill them, too. El Paso County politicians refused to use their
states red-flag laws to prevent him from getting guns. ]
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Tim Miller
November 22, 2022
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_ The Club Q shooter had threatened his family and told police he
would kill them, too. El Paso County politicians refused to use their
state's red-flag laws to prevent him from getting guns. _

, (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via
Getty Images)



The slaughter that took place on Saturday night at Club Q, a gay bar
in Colorado Springs, has brought up a lot of emotions for me since
I’m from Colorado and have spent a lot of formative time in these
types of venues. I shared some more on that elsewhere
[[link removed]],
if of interest.

But for the purposes of this newsletter, I want to separate that out
and address a fundamental reality of the facts surrounding this latest
mass shooting. 

That reality is: This mass murder could have been prevented, but
political leaders in Colorado Springs let it happen. They made a
conscious choice that the lives of unarmed victims are less important
than a lunatics' right to acquire firearms. 

This is not hyperbole. I do not mean it in the esoteric “we all
share responsibility” sense or as a broad critique of gun culture
[[link removed]].
I’m not even talking about the uptick in hateful rhetoric
[[link removed]] targeting
the LGBT community which we’ve seen over the last few years and the
impact it may have had on an attack on a drag show. 

I’m talking specifically about the existing laws in Colorado that
were ignored by local officials.

In January 2020, Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill instituting Extreme
Risk Protection Orders
[[link removed]] (ERPO),
which are commonly known as “red flag” laws. The ERPOs allow for
temporary removal of firearms from people who are considered at risk
of committing a violent act against themselves or others. Per the law,
they can be initiated either by a family member or local police who
then petition the court for review.  

In November, 2018 a poll
[[link removed]] showed
that Coloradoans backed “red flag” laws overwhelmingly with 81
percent in favor and just 14 percent opposed. Polis, the guy who
signed the law, was just reelected in a landslide
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holding his opponent to under 40 percent of the vote. 

Yet despite the law’s widespread popularity and the fact that it
does not _in any way _threaten the rights of _law-abiding_ gun
owners, 37 of the state’s 64 counties declared some form of “2nd
Amendment Sanctuary” wherein the local police have refused to
[[link removed]] the
law. Among those “sanctuary” jurisdictions is El Paso County, home
to Colorado Springs, and site of the Club Q massacre. 

The El Paso #resistance to the new law began even before it went into
effect, when the county commission passed a resolution
[[link removed]] stating
that a red flag law would infringe “upon the inalienable rights”
of its residents, and as such they would not fund any
“unconstitutional seizures” of firearms in the area. County
sheriff Bill Elder made this a cause celébre, saying in
[[link removed]] many
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he would not petition the court for protection orders and would only
do so at a family members request in “exigent circumstances.” As a
result, in the state’s most populous county
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have been zero red flag petitions
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by law enforcement, according to an analysis by 9News
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2. A Textbook Red Flag

That 0-fer is how we find ourselves in a situation where the
perpetrator of a mass murder was able to _legally purchase
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(and keep them) despite being arrested just last year after he made a
bomb threat that_ _led to a standoff at his mother’s home. 

Here’s the pic of that arrest from his ring camera. 

Photo of the ring camera footage of Anderson Lee Aldrich being
arrested in 2021 for making a bomb threat against his mother
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[Image] [[link removed]]

Photo of the ring camera footage of Anderson Lee Aldrich being
arrested in 2021 for making a bomb threat against his mother
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And here, from the _Colorado Springs Gazette_, is video
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that encounter that he live streamed to Facebook. You can see him
wearing tactical gear and calling cops “fucking shitheads.” He
goes on to say  “If they breach, I’mma fucking blow it to holy
hell. So, uh, go ahead and come on in, boys, lets fucking see it.” 

That's right, this motherfucker had a _standoff with local
police_ where he threatened to blow them to bits.1
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As a result of this incident, neighbors were evacuated
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their homes. His mother, who was scared enough to call the
cops, moved out of the house
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she had been renting a room. And the perpetrator was charged with
several crimes including kidnapping. 

But then, earlier this year, the charges were dropped, and the case
file was sealed by the (Republican) district attorney’s office.

What we have here is the most obvious case for an Extreme Risk
Protection Order imaginable. His mom was afraid of him! He threatened
violence against the police! 

Even if this is all a big misunderstanding, any reasonable police
department would, as a  precautionary matter, want a judge to at
least review whether a dude cosplaying as a cop killer in full
tactical gear should have access to semi-autos. After all, Blue Lives

Not in El Paso County. 

Instead, Republican elected officials and the sheriff's office decided
that they wouldn’t even consider petitioning for such a protection.
Because of their “principles.” These ideologues decided that a
deranged murderer’s right to an AR-15 had primacy over state
law _and_ the interests of the people they serve _and_ the lives
of the victims whose bodies now lie cold.

This decision to go rogue and not enforce the state’s red flag law
is _THE DECISION_ that allowed these murders to happen. It would be
convenient for those who want to throw up their hands and do nothing
if this story was more complex. For it to be an impossible-to-untangle
amalgam of mental health failures and hate and isolation and video
games and the broken culture. But it isn’t.

It’s a story about Republican politicians making a choice to skirt
the most common sense gun law imaginable for radical ideological ends.
And the result of this choice being mass slaughter in a gay bar. 

God willing the people of Colorado Springs will see this simple
reality and replace these zealots with elected representatives who
care whether or not their constituents live or die. Who want their
neighbors to be able to go to their place of refuge—be it a gay bar,
a church, or school— without fearing that some nutcase is packing
heat because the people who are supposed to protect them are unwilling
to act on the law they are sworn to uphold. 


We shouldn’t live in a world where you have to be a hero at a gay
club. But we do and Richard Fierro was that hero. 

Fierro had done four combat deployments as an army officer. He told
[[link removed]]_New
York Times
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he was “done with war.”  Tragically, war wasn’t done with

Richard M. Fierro said he was at a table in Club Q with his wife,
daughter and friends on Saturday, watching a drag show, when the
sudden flash of gunfire ripped across the nightclub. His instincts
from four combat deployments as an Army officer in Iraq and
Afghanistan instantly kicked in. Fight back, he told himself. . . 

“I don’t know exactly what I did, I just went into combat mode,”
Mr. Fierro said, shaking his head. “I just know I have to kill this
guy before he kills us.

As the fight continued, he said, he yelled for other club patrons to
help him. A man grabbed the rifle and moved it away to safety. A drag
dancer stomped on the gunman with her high heels. The whole time, Mr.
Fierro said, he kept pummeling the shooter’s head while the two men
screamed obscenities at each other.

If any weapon was going to help take this killer down, I’m glad it
was a good gal in a high heel.2
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_You can support the victims of this senseless, preventable
tragedy here.
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if you ever find yourself in Colorado Springs, support Atrevida Beer
Company, [[link removed]] which is owned by our hero
and his wife._

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Must be nice to be a white suburban kid who can not only walk away
from such a threat alive, but be free and easy on the streets a year

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Del Lusional, a drag queen at Club Q that night, tweeted that the
stomper was actually a trans woman.

[Twitter avatar for @UnluckyBanshee]
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Del Lusional @UnluckyBanshee
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The one who saved my life and stomped the shooter’s face in was not
a drag queen, she is a trans woman. Let’s not call trans women drag
queens during this time of grieving over a transphobic attack.
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* gun violence
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* mass shootings
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* Gun Laws
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* Colorado
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