Club Q shooting survivor Michael Anderson appeared before the House Reform and Oversight Committee to shame the lawmakers that continue to allow weapons of war to circulate throughout the U.S. nearly unregulated. Meanwhile, Republicans are promoting anti-LGBTQ hate.
Like many LGBTQ people, he grew up in a religious world where conservative voices told him he was wrong and something to reject. Places like gay bars and clubs helped him embrace his identity without the self-hate promoted by religious institutions and conservative voices.
"Club Q was, and will once again be a safe place, not just for the LGBTQ community, but for everyone else as well," he testified. "If you are fortunate enough to intimately know LGBTQ people, you will find some of the kindest, funniest, accepting and most welcoming people. Those are the people who found a safe place in Club Q, and deserve to once again have that safe space."
The Colorado Springs mass shooter came in "with the intention of killing as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. They used a military-style weapon, that solely exists for the intention of killing other human beings, and began to hunt us down, as if our lives meant nothing."
He described staring down the barrel of a gun and making peace with the idea that he was about to die. As his friend was leading out, that's when the two heroes stepped in to take the shooter down.
"Isaw my friend lying on the floor, bleeding out, knowing there was little to no chance of surviving that bullet wound," Anderson recalled. "I had to tell him goodbye while I continued to fear for my life, not knowing if the attack was truly over. I can still hear the rapid firing of bullets today, it is a sound I might never forget. It is a sound that I hope no one here or anywhere else in this country has to hear. I say all of this not because it is easy to do so, but because it is important to do so. I plead with you all to appeal to your heart, your morality and your humanity and do something about this issue."
He went on to say that he was not only embarrassed by the international reputation of mass shootings but "disgusted." He also argued that the idea that the epidemic of mass violence is necessary for the price of freedom is "a lie."
"The facts speak for themselves, and you are denial of this gun violence reality is not a policy proposal," Anderson said citing the statistics of mass shootings and deaths during the 10-year assault weapons ban.
But it isn't just about guns, he explained. "To the politicians and activists who accuse LGBTQ people of it being abusers and grooming children, shame on you. As leaders of the country, it is your obligation to represent all of us, not just the ones you happen to agree with. Hate speech turns into hate action, and actions based on hate almost took my life from me, at 25 years old. I beg you to consider your words before you speak them. Someone might use those words to justify action. Action that might take someone's life."
See his full comments below:
Club Q survivor speaks out www.youtube.com