My wife Elizabeth and I had already made reservations at our favorite hotel in Santa Fe for an intimate Thanksgiving, also our 7th anniversary as a couple, when tragic news of the Club Q shooting reached us. It was the second mass shooting that week.
Since we’d be passing Colorado Springs on our way to Santa Fe we decided to make a stop to pay our respects to Club Q’s fallen. As we left the freeway and headed up Colorado Springs’ main drag, Academy Boulevard, experiencing what has to be one of the largest run of fast food joints and strip malls in ‘Merica, I said to Elizabeth we had to be prepared for possibility of a drive-by shooter. Elizabeth agreed we should not be deterred by fear.
Soon we spotted the temporary roadside memorial that has appeared in front of the strip mall that Q is part of on its backside. After circling the block for parking we pulled into the neighboring Walgreen’s lot. Walking the 100 years to the tragic site we joined about 30 people gathered in the little slice of road space delineated by a concrete barricade. On this day before Thanksgiving sadness hung in the air like nothing we’ve ever experienced but it was balanced by a deep feeling of so much love and respect for the five young LGBTQ people whose lives were cut short by hate and gun violence.
As someone who has reached his seventies and loved life, the good with the bad, I wept at the thought of these young people’s lives snuffed out by an angry stranger drunk on MAGA lies of Q of another and far dark sort. All for what? Trump?
Despite an angry white driver revving his grotesquely oversized white Ford pickup truck noisy motor as he waited at the light in protest to the show of love for the Q fallen, I said a meditation that humanity find a way out of all this maze of unbridled hate for anyone not conforming to outmoded religious prejudices that have lost their way in modern times.
I found Elizabeth talking in the crowd to a middle aged man and a woman from the Billy Graham institute. They seemed both out of place in their mission to spread the “good word”. Despite my reservations, I hugged them as a confirmation to my meditation and Elizabeth and I continued onto Santa Fe for our Thanksgiving. A Thanksgiving the fallen in the Club Q mass shooting were tragically deprived of.
All this fresh sorrow over the Club Q mass shooting took place less thanone year after a horrific Denver mass shooting took away a family friend. Alicia was head of Denver group called Sol Tribe. She operated a tatoo parlor just one-small-storefront-away her dear friend and business neighbor of my wife’s niece, Erika Righter. Alicia was one of four people killed by another rabid White Supremacist in a case that also garnered national media attention without a change to gun laws.
Here’s Erika’s recent op-ed in Westword where she discusses why we have to be much more careful to whom we donate money to after mass shootings and other tragedy’s if we want our contributions to reach the victims and the extended circle of traumatized survivors.