Saturday’s mass shooting at Club Q, an LBGTQ-friendly bar in Colorado Springs, came as a shock, but not a surprise, to people watching for extremism. Meanwhile, Twitter – days after restoring extremists to its pages – has banned the account of a pro-gun anti-fascist collective that protects similar LGBTQ events from those who wish them harm. And in Hawaii, two Native Hawaiian men are convicted of hate crimes for a racially motivated attack on a white man.
It’s extremism week
Experts predicted Club Q attack
Saturday’s mass shooting at Club Q, a longtime haven for the LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs, came after more than a year and a half of mounting rhetoric against the far-right LGBTQ community. The attack, in which 5 people were killed and 17 injured, follows a long-standing pattern, where the country’s far-right extremist fringe clings to hysterical media coverage and conservative politicians against a group minority, often with fatal consequences.
After:Club Q attack comes as no surprise to extremism experts who have seen a decades-old pattern
- “Any community deemed a threat to the way of life of the population is then targeted as a group to be arrested,” Marilyn Mayo, senior researcher at the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism told USA TODAY. “That, in turn, leads people to marginalize this group and then take action.”
- While the motive for the attack was still unclear to authorities on Thursday, the alleged attacker had previously told his family that he ‘wanted to be the next mass shooter,’ according to arrest documents relating to an incident that happened last year.
- According to the suspect’s attorneys, they identify as non-binary. Experts said it should make no difference whether the incident is charged with a hate crime.
Learn more about Club Q:‘I didn’t have time to scream’: As bodies fell, army vet stood up
The victims:An artist, a “sustainable” friend, an “incredible mother”
Twitter bans account calling on LGBTQ people to arm themselves
There’s a lot going on on Twitter. Former President Donald Trump’s account has been reinstated, members of the Proud Boys flooded the platform seemingly unchallenged. Every day seems to bring a new controversy.
And while new owner Elon Musk has made waves reinstating accounts that were previously suspended, there’s at least one long-running account that’s been newly suspended Tuesday: the Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club.
The group has made headlines for appearing while armed to stand guard at LGBTQ events in Texas, as these events have come under increasing threat from far-right extremists. But a tweet after the Club Q shooting apparently led to Twitter shutting down the group’s account.
- The shooting club made headlines this summer when members showed up, dressed in black and carrying pride flags and ribbons, to protect an all-ages drag brunch in Roanoke, Texas.
- On Twitter, a relief account for the club shared a screenshot showing tweets for which the main account has been suspended. It reads “Every queer a riflethem,” an apparent call for LGBTQ people to arm themselves to defend themselves from attack, and possibly a play on the Marine Corps slogan “Every Marine a rifleman” — but with inclusive pronouns.
- The tweet violates Twitter’s rules against hateful conduct, according to the company’s response posted by the group. The tweet was posted two days after the Club Q attack.
- As of Thursday, the account was still suspended.
After:‘Am I safe in public?’ For many, mass shootings convey an inescapable sense of danger
Hate crime conviction in Hawaii
Two Hawaiian men have been convicted of hate crimes in a 2014 attack on a white man in the remote village of Kahakuloa on the island of Maui, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. The attack happened after Christopher Kunzelman was attacked while working on a house he had just bought in the village.
- “The defendants in this case committed a horrific attack on the victim because of her race,” Deputy Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigations Division said in a statement. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will work to bring to justice anyone who uses threats and violence to intimidate an individual because of racial bias.”
- A jury found the men guilty last week. Sentencing in the case will be handed down on March 2, 2023. The charge on which the two men were convicted carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Catch up:Last week in extremism