A distinctly American tragedy in Colorado Springs
A host of unique pathologies culminated in another mass shooting
Earlier this week, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich entered an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dressed in tactical gear and wielding an assault-style rifle — legally purchased despite a 2021 arrest for an alleged bomb threat that was never adjudicated — Aldrich murdered five people and wounded 17 others before being violently subdued by nightclub patrons. When Aldrich appeared in court on Wednesday, the face of the shooter, whose attorneys said uses they/them pronouns, was described as “bruised” and “swollen,” his jaw and mouth so damaged that he was “uttering slurred responses” to questions from the judge.
As the details of the shooting have emerged, the outline of yet another uniquely American — and all-too-common — tragedy emerged. Aldrich, obese and unprepossessing, was on the receiving end of bullying not just from his various classmates but also his father, Aaron “The Frijolero” Brink. Brink, an ex-con turned mixed martial artist had fought and lost to the likes of MMA world champions such as Andrei Arlovski and Alistair Overeem while simultaneously maintaining an adult film career as “Dick Delaware” (star of films like Cum Drippers 4 and Spider-Man XXX: A Porn Parody).
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In a recent homophobic diatribe, Brink — whose crippling methamphetamine addiction has landed him on episodes of the cable shows Intervention and Divorce Court — told a reporter who asked him about the shooting that he was relieved to learn Aldrich wasn’t gay, though he did offer condolences to the victims in a part of the story that hasn’t circulated as widely. Aldrich’s mother, Laura Voepel, an inveterate criminal and drug addict with whom he cohabitated, was the daughter of Republican California Assemblyman Randy Voepel, a politician whom one colleague described as “anti-gay, racist, and very pro-gun.”
Predictably, Aldrich’s actions have sparked outrage from the Left, with many pointing to the shooter’s family influences as well as his internet activity — he maintained a YouTube channel, “TheAzzbackward,” on which he had uploaded a single 45-second animated video, “Asian Homosexual Gets Molested” — as ostensible evidence of Right-wing radicalisation. Aldrich was certainly unwell, much like Paul Pelosi’s assailant, but as in that case, the derangement is much more generalised and political language merely a rhetorical library that can be raided to justify any number of insane notions.
Aldrich’s 2021 bomb threat, which was not subsequently prosecuted, was made against his mother Laura, and a doorbell recording from that event captures Aldrich saying, “This is where I stand…today I die…they don’t give a fuck about me anymore, clearly.” Aldrich, by that standard, is almost a textbook “blackpilled” youth who is drowning at the noxious bottom of the American cultural barrel, a “NEET” — “not in education, employment, or training” — for whom life holds no meaning and death would perhaps be a release.
Some trigger or another drew Aldrich to that club, certainly, but his tortuous path to that horrific event is a multi-causal study in societal breakdown and despair. The Right, to its discredit, has produced some bizarre responses as well, like Newsmax contributor Jenna Ellis using her platform to explain that, since “there is no evidence” the shooting victims were Christians, “they are now reaping the consequences of eternal damnation.”
Other responses will be equally predictable, and likely just as hopeless. President Joe Biden again called for tighter restrictions on gun purchases and firearm availability, but this doesn’t reach the larger problem that one estimate puts the number of firearms in the U.S. at 400 million – 1.2 guns for every person living in the country. This estimate, which is probably low due to the illicit trade in these arms, is far beyond the number that could be captured by government buy-back programmes, as was the case in Australia.
In 2022, there have so far been 662 mass shootings leading to 671 deaths and 2,616 injuries — many of which, truth be told, are in large metropolitan areas and tied to gang violence. Thus far, only the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas (22) and Buffalo, New York (10) have reached double-digit fatalities, but there is still a month left in the year.
The traditional remedy for gun violence in the U.S. has been neither mental health — attending to, say, the sort of lives that lead to “deaths of despair” — or gun confiscation, but rather increasingly draconian criminal punishments that have resulted in a swelling prison population. The likeliest antidote in a society as dispersed and distrusting as this one is likely to be more politicians winning elections with “tough on crime” policies and more lower-class violent offenders locked up — a treatment of the symptoms unlikely to please either Left or Right. There is no magic bullet to fix this multi-faceted crisis, but what is obvious is that the U.S.’s approach is failing miserably.
Yet another stab at politicizing the murderous actions of a crazy drug addict from a f**ked up family. The guy’s grandfather was a Republican! That’s why he did it! But the gang mass murders occurring every weekend in America’s big cities barely get mentioned. As long as the perp is a white male, game on! Not a white male? Nuthin’ to see here, folks. And everyone knows it.
Firstly, two wrongs don’t make a right. Secondly, I’m not exactly going to fall over myself weeping at the thought of gangsters killing each other!
It sounds like you are downplaying this atrocity through an enormous dose of ‘whataboutery’. It should be perfectly possible to decry the excesses of the identitarian Left without showing sympathy or even denial to the actions of every right wing nutter going!
As soon as the shooter identified as non-binary, the story died a quick death. Haven’t heard anything since. Funny how that works.
“Earlier this week, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich entered an LGBTQ nightclub”
A what nightclub?
It’s pretty well known that gays and lesbians tend not to go to the same clubs. Lumping in other letters is mealy mouthing. Why not say gay club and be done?
Agreed, especially given that ‘cis’ lesbians tend to avoid these clubs as of 2022 because they are filled with ‘transbians’ (i.e. autogynephilic male-to-female transsexuals).
Two of the people killed were heterosexual.
They were likely there because gay bars have the best music
Once male always male doesn’t matter what surgery or drugs you take every cell screams maleness!! So MtF is always a lie!!
Because that would be exclusive and miss out trans people who are the most important minority in the whole wide world. So many were so quick to point out at least one of the dead was a transman, while not having a clue about the rest. Labels are important when trying to prove the point that trans people are being killed in their thousands simply because they are trans. And then there is the projection of this attitude to the UK so it must be true here too!
I’m sure we have the odd few attending The Jockey Club, The Turf, And White’s if only as guests? Are these different sorts of clubs? I’m a tad out of touch with such things.
Is this article a joke? The article you linked was to the Uvalde shooter and was months old. There is no excuse for that level of sloppiness. Here is a tip from an American. If it is several days and you still don’t know many of the relevant details of the shooting, then somewhere it does not fit the “narrative”.
With the trend for states to pardon non-violent marijuana users, the result will be more open cells to house violent felons. Whether that pleases the left no one else really cares.
If a few patrons of the club had been legally armed perhaps the death toll might have been less for the patrons and more for the killer.
An armed employee at the door might have noticed a guy wearing tactical gear and carrying an AR-15.
The comment about “increasingly draconian punishments” is risible, given how DAs allow violent perps to bond out, without bail in many cases. The elimination of cash bail and allowing judges to determine a person’s likely danger to society is a cause of a lot of increase in crime. Thank you George Soros.
An armed sentry should not be posted in the front and centre of the killing zone. He (and in my experience it’a usually a he) should be concealed with a good (cctv?) view of the approaches and entrance right up to the power operated door. Re your last paragraph – Forget G Soros, it’s your politicians at all levels you should pour your ire and scorn upon. We Brits have enough of it but you Yanks should put your politicians firmly in their place as public servants.
The “good guy with a gun” argument is pathetically stupid at all times but in a crowded nightclub with panicked patrons it really is the height of insanity.
Still better than a bad guy with a gun.
Above all else – Well done to those who counterattacked. Some may have lost their lives but their spirit must live on. One way of dissuading any person(s) from attacking others on the grounds of religious, political or sexual difference is to show that we are not afraid and are united against them.
Not sure why there is an excess of under lining in this article which is distracting. The story is complex where the shooter is obviously quite mentally ill. It’s a story made for politics and sensation and will be spun by the various factions in hopes of generating a change in public attitude. The shooter has made their mark for a few news cycles. We can ask why this person lost all sense of morality that we all once shared.
The difference is that there are mentally ill people the world over, it’s only in the States that they go and shoot up schools, clubs, shops etc. Blaming mental health seems a cop out
I found this piece far more confusing than enlightening. We are told that in “… 2022, there have so far been 662 mass shootings leading to 671 deaths and 2,616 injuries — many of which, truth be told, are in large metropolitan areas and tied to gang violence.”
Truth be told, indeed. A Washington Times article from June, to which this article links, informs us that of the mass-shootings recorded so far this year “nearly all can be tied to gang beefs, neighborhood arguments, robberies or domestic incidents that spiraled out of control.”
What this means, and what the author fails to reveal, is that the great majority of these incidents are committed by urban black thugs, whose only merit is that their aim is not very good. This Aldrich fellow may be a weird duck, and a would-be tranny to boot, but he’s more like the exception than the rule. Like the Lone Gunman who inspired a lot of cowboy movies, he is a straw man, onto whom anti-gun activists place their vain hopes.
Finally, it is not clear to me what the writer proposes to deal with THAT problem: the plain fact that America’s blacks, who make up 13% of the population, commit the great majority of American crimes, including the most violent ones. He seems to disapprove of locking them up, even though doing so carries the obvious advantage that they cannot be out on the streets shooting other blacks.
and the pheasant season has only just started….
aye, aye aye, prrrrrrr… aye, aye, aye…. tap tap tap…
I think Mr. Bateman has come closer to understanding mass shootings in the U.S. than anything I’ve read so far. Please click on to his link of being ” blackpilled”. Dark stuff. Our culture is rotting from within regardless of partisanship.
The shooter was obviously a desperately conflicted individual. That he used a weapon should not cast shade on selling firearms. He could just as easily, for a few dollars more, bought one on the street corner, or were he more technically accomplished, have printed one out in his mother’s basement. Those who frequented the establishment should have realized that, as nails which stuck out, they were candidates to be hammered down. Just an unfortunate confluence of destinies, nothing especially American about it. There was no way it could have been prevented except, as posted above, with better security on site. Mental illness and laws permitting contra-traditional mores are an explosive combination anywhere. Tolerance can only evolve from practicality, it can never be coerced.
Do they have beaters, or is it a walk up?
The problem we face in the USA is that our society in general no longer has any recognition of the dignity and sanctity of each individual human life. Beginning in 1973 with R vs W, the ease with which women kill their babies, aided by politicians who insist that killing their babies is the most basic right women have, has led to our societal view of human individuals as objects whose value depends upon the utility of each person: no utility, no value. And this attitude can be seen in every facet of life, including in the endless wars the USA wages throughout the rest of the world without regard to the innocent lives lost or devastated by these unjust wars. Until we remember and reclaim the inherent value, sanctity, and dignity of every single human individual and change societal attitudes accordingly we cannot stop lost, hurting people from acting out their pain. We can have compassion for the pain this Aldrich felt that drove him to this horrible crime without excusing his crime. No policy change or political solution from any political party can solve the problem of violence in our country. This is an issue with the human heart and the heart of our society.
A picture of rampant narcissism replacing any concept of who we are as humans. When we become our own god, addiction and destruction follow. Laws won’t change this, but our consumer celebrity culture has increased it. Our children need the protection of a loving grounded family to even have a chance – this young man didn’t have that.
Of course, celebrities and abortion are to blame!!!!
Not what I said.
Read that article and tell me that acceptance of abortion as a viable means to ending a “problem” person hasn’t led to narcissism and the loss of respect for the dignity and sanctity of human life and the rise of a utilitarian view of human beings.
Exactly. And he didn’t have that because we quit valuing children as human beings long ago. Rampant narcissism is a consequence of our denial of the dignity and sanctity of all individual lives, even those of the unborn – who is more narcissistic than a woman who kills the baby she carries? If I worded my post in a way that sounds supportive of people who think they can create their own realities and force others to play along that was not my intended message. But I will say that we had this discussion about this terrible Colorado Springs incident at our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and discussed that LGBT, especially the T portion, arises partly from the fact that people don’t feel valued for just being themselves anymore, so they create their own indentities in order to find belonging in the world of identity politics. It’s all rooted in the same utilitarian values our country has adopted starting the last half of the 20th century.
Did anyone at your Thanksgiving dinner point out that this might not happen so much if not every troubled youth could go out and buy military grade hardware over the counter?
Or is it easier for you to blame it all on trans kids and abortion?
See my reply to Billy Bob.
I, for one, agree with you Teresa – though this tendency in America is also bolstered by many other angles of denigration of human life (not to mention this privatized identity delirium of the past 50 years).
I also suspect that 2 years of lockdown, which falsely masked us and separated us from families and society, was bound to exaggerate these bizarre, violent tendencies in nutty, marginal personalities.
This guy may have had weirdo parents (boo hoo) and been ostracized as a 300lb fat guy (who uses “they/them” pronouns?), but clearly a nut and I wonder how the club bouncers (or doormen?) allowed a guy with Kevlar and a rifle within 100 yards of the place. It would have helped, maybe, if he’d been locked up for the prior bomb threat (either in the slammer or a mental ward)
Almost every first world country allows abortion, yet none of them have the problems that the Americans do regarding shootings so I’d argue abortion and people shooting the place up are completely unrelated
You entirely miss the point. The point is that lack of respect for life and the sacredness of life leads to all these problems. States that allow abortion in the USA have the most liberal abortion laws in the world. Other countries disallow abortion after a certain number of weeks, not up until birth (and even after as in CA). With the legalization of abortion in the USA we had the beginning of the breakdown of the family, and this coincides with the breakdown of the foundational social structure in which children are raised in nurturing homes by two parents who have a vested interest in their children’s well being. People in the USA have always had guns. I grew up in West Texas (in the 1960s); all the young guys with whom I went to school had their own guns for hunting. No mass shootings. Young people in everywhere in the USA at that time had access to guns (before stricter gun laws were in place): no mass shootings. Why now? Why not when gun laws were more lax and young men could easily own them?
Why does it lead to these problems? If that was the case then every major country that allows abortion would have murder rates on par with the Americans surely? The fact is these mass shootings are almost unique to America amongst the developed world, therefore I’d argue that it is something unique to that country that is the underlying cause
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