In the aftermath of the hate-fueled shooting at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub that left five people dead and at least 25 injured, many right-wing pundits are grotesquely doubling down on the kind of rhetoric that helped lead to such violence in the first place.
Figures like Matt Walsh, Candace Owens, and Ben Shapiro apparently didn’t have time to denounce the shooter or the hate crime. Instead, they focused on what they see as the real violence: some imagined progressive agenda to violate children. That actual people died, and why they did, was of less interest to them.
These posts not only show little actual concern for those harmed in the shooting, but they also come from individuals who have been on the forefront of fomenting brain-melting, blood-pressure-rising conspiracy about LGBTQ people.
Just last week, Shapiro warned that any Republican who voted to codify same-sex marriage “should not be in the Republican party.”
Walsh, alongside reactionary Twitter account ‘Libs of Tiktok’ (run by Chaya Raichik), was a leading voice claiming that bomb threats against Boston Children’s Hospital were hoaxes—until a woman was arrested and charged in September for making one of these threats. Walsh and Raichik have spread conspiracies about, and incited harassment towards, hospitals like Boston Children’s Hospital that provide gender-affirming care. Boston’s Children Hospital has faced numerous threats since then.
Even after the shooting, Libs of TikTok posted a tweet Sunday singling out a Colorado drag organization.
Walsh, Owens, Shapiro, and company dismiss those who rightly identify them as contributors to violent discontent, calling them pawns of the Democratic agenda, or the liberal media, or leftists, or some other amorphous bucket to slander. The shtick works to a point, but there are more than enough people—politically-engaged or not, LGBTQ or not—who plainly see how monstrous it is to demonize people for simply wanting to be who they are and love who they love.