In This Episode
- A mass shooting left five people dead and dozens of others injured last week at Club Q, an LGBTQ+ bar that’s served as a safe space for the Colorado Springs queer community for over 20 years. Just days later, a gunman opened fire in a Virginia Walmart, killing six people.
- Both shootings have raised questions about the state of gun violence in the U.S. and how we can prevent such tragedies from happening again.
- And in headlines: protestors took to the streets in China over the country’s strict COVID policies, the U.S. is once again facing a potential freight rail strike, and the Biden administration extended the pause on federal student loan payments.
- The Colorado Healing Fund: Club Q Shooting Response – https://www.coloradogives.org/story/Clubq
- Gun Violence Archive – https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/
- Every Last Vote | Vote Save America – https://votesaveamerica.com/every-last-vote/
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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday, November 28th, I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi. And this is What A Day, a podcast from the network that is now run by the two turkeys pardoned by President Biden last week.
Tre’vell Anderson: So if you hear a random gobble gobble every now and again, you know what’s up?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. They’ve got a new home. We can’t help that we’re animal lovers. Sorry. [music break] On today’s show, rare public protests erupted across China over the weekend. Plus, Twitter plans to roll out a new verification system, which I’m sure is going to go great.
Tre’vell Anderson: But first, the Thanksgiving holiday this past weekend was overshadowed, to say the least, by gun violence. We want to give y’all an update about two mass shootings over the break. And just a quick warning. We’ll be talking about some heavy things, including anti LGBTQ violence. So if you need a break from hearing about any of that, we completely understand you’ll want to skip ahead by a few minutes. So let’s start with Colorado Springs. A little over a week ago, five people were killed and dozens others injured at Club Q, an LGBTQ bar that served as a safe space for the area’s queer community for over 20 years. It happened just a few hours before Trans Day of Remembrance, an annual memorial that concludes Transgender Awareness Week and honors the lives of folks who’ve died because of anti-trans violence. By now, you’ve probably read all the stories about the Army veteran who’d been at the bar to watch a drag show with his family and friends who wrestled the gunman to the floor. He was aided by a trans woman and other bar patrons in subduing the shooter until police arrived. At this point, the shooter is in custody, but officials have not yet released any details about the shooter’s alleged motive, even though they are investigating it as a possible hate crime.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I know for a lot of people, this shooting brought back memories of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. You know, Pulse was one of the very first things that I flashed back to when I heard the news. And for those who don’t remember, Pulse was the Orlando Gay Club, where back in 2016, a gunman killed 49 people and wounded over 50 others during the club’s Latin night. It was during Pride Month. And like I said, upon hearing about the Club Q shooting, I definitely began feeling, you know, some of the same grief and sadness and fear and justified anger, as I did a few years ago. And I think so many of those of us in queer and trans community did and do kind of, you know, connect these two moments. The Club Q shooting with the Pulse nightclub shooting because of the ongoing historic moment of anti LGBTQ sentiment that we are living through as manifested in book bans and don’t say gay laws and trans healthcare restrictions and armed protests at drag shows and drag queen story hours, among other foolishness. You know, for us, it’s not hard to trace a line from this legislative and social rhetoric to the violence and attacks like Pulse or the Club Q shooting that the LGBTQ community experiences.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, at this point it is a very, very well defined, very well known line.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Priyanka Aribindi: And then, you know, days after the Colorado Springs shooting, another mass shooting took place in Chesapeake, Virginia. Can you tell us more about what happened there?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So six people were shot and killed at a Walmart there in Chesapeake, Virginia. All of them were employees of Walmart, including a 16 year old. Another six were wounded in the shooting, apparently committed by one of the store’s managers. He also killed himself at the scene. Now, details are still coming out about what might have motivated this shooting. And officials released Friday a quote unquote, “death note” the shooter had written on his phone. But they also revealed that the handgun that was used in the shooting was legally obtained earlier the day of the shooting. And so both shootings, Club Q and here in Chesapeake, Virginia, have once again put the gun control debate back center stage. There have been 616 mass shootings this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive’s Tracking. They’re a nonprofit that collects information about gun violence in the U.S. and they define a mass shooting as one where four or more people are shot or killed.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right. And the question that has been on so many people’s minds after these shootings, every time something like this happens, you know, month after month, year after year, as this gun violence continues to get worse. Is what is anybody who’s supposed to be in charge doing at all to keep us safe?
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. Like you said, every single time that we–
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: –You know, have one of these instances. So let’s talk about the protections that we currently have in place at this time.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So 19 states and D.C., including both Colorado and Virginia, where both of these mass shootings took place, have some form of red flag laws on the books. These are civil processes that allow courts to take guns away from people who may pose a threat to themselves or others. And, you know, they’re usually touted as laws that are supposed to make us feel safer. But back in September, the Associated Press found that these laws are actually barely used because both of a lack of awareness of how they work and resistance from some authorities about actually enforcing them. So in Colorado, there are questions about why the Club Q shooter’s previous threats didn’t trigger those laws. A year and a half ago, the shooter allegedly threatened their mother with a homemade bomb. A bomb squad was called. Neighbors had to evacuate and crisis negotiators were needed to talk them into surrendering. It was, you know, not a blip on the radar. That definitely is a big deal.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mm Hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: But apparently this never registered on background checks, and that is because the charges were dropped and the records were sealed for some reason, it is still unclear why that happened. And apparently no one in the shooter’s life used the red flag law or knew to use the red flag law, which would have allowed family members or a police officer to petition a judge to temporarily take away their guns. Colorado Governor Jared Polis said that he’d take a closer look at why this law failed to prevent the shooting and said an expansion of the law may also be considered. In Virginia, where one of the country’s worst mass shootings took place back in 2007 at Virginia Tech, Democrats have passed a whole slate of gun control legislation in the past few years. It includes their own red flag law, universal background checks, reporting requirements for lost or stolen firearms, a monthly limit on handgun purchases, and a three year ban on firearm possession for some people convicted of assaulting a family member. That is because research indicates that mass shooters typically have a history of domestic abuse, especially towards women. But Democrats lost control of the governorship and the House of Delegates in Virginia a year ago. And their new governor, Republican Glenn Youngkin, has said that he would support repealing some of those policies if his party regains control of the state Senate, which I mean, I don’t think he made those comments in the wake of this violence. But that’s actually kind of hard to say because this happens every single day in this country. So I don’t know when it would ever make sense to make a comment like that. It’s just incredibly stupid, in my opinion.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. You know, I will just note that every time we mention Glenn Youngkin’s name on this show, it’s not for a good reason.
Priyanka Aribindi: No. Definitely not.
Tre’vell Anderson: And I think that, you know, he should talk to somebody about that. So that’s what things look like on the state level. What about on the federal level?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, that has really been the question for some time as well. President Biden told reporters Thanksgiving Day that he will try once again to pass some form of a ban on assault weapons before the new Congress is seated in January.
[clip of President Joe Biden] The idea we still allow semiautomatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no no social redeeming value. Zero, none. Not a single solitary rationale for it, except profit for the gun manufacturers.
[clip of unspecified reporter] Can you do anything about gun laws during a lame duck, sir?
[clip of President Joe Biden] I’m going to try.
[clip of unspecified reporter] What will you try and do?
[clip of President Joe Biden] And I’m going to try to get rid of assault weapons.
Priyanka Aribindi: It’ll face long odds, especially in the Senate, where Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who’s been, you know, a leader in this area, says that they don’t have the 60 votes that they’d need to pass it. But the AP does note that the bipartisan gun control bill that was passed back in June was a big incremental step and that the messaging from Democrats to get these measures passed is much stronger than it’s ever been. We’ll continue to follow all of this and keep you updated, but that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break].
Tre’vell Anderson: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: Protests broke out in major cities across China over the weekend as angry residents took to the streets over the country’s strict zero-covid policies. The demonstrations started late last week after an apartment fire killed ten people in the country’s far west. It’s widely believed that the victims were unable to escape and rescue efforts were hampered because the building was under lockdown. Many demonstrators have since rallied against China’s aggressive strategy for containing the virus, which has left millions of people confined to their homes for weeks or even months on end. Some are even calling for Chinese President Xi Jinping to resign. In a video taken from the city of Chengdu, protesters chanted Freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
[clip of protestors in Chengdu, China] [indistinct chanting and shouting]
Tre’vell Anderson: Such widespread demonstrations are rare in China, where the ruling Communist Party has historically cracked down on dissent.
Priyanka Aribindi: They, rightfully so, are expressing, you know, how they feel about this, and I hope that they remain safe while they do so. Last week, one of the biggest rail unions in the country rejected a new labor contract brokered by the Biden administration, reviving fears of a nationwide freight strike right before the holidays. Eight unions have accepted the deal, but all 12 of the nation’s rail unions must approve their contracts to avoid a strike. I guess that is what they mean by all aboard. [laughter] The four holdouts will now return to the bargaining table, if they can’t reach an agreement, a strike or lockout could begin as soon as December 9th. And in other labor news, workers at an Amazon facility in northern Kentucky are preparing to unionize. More than 4000 employees at the retail giant’s largest air hub in the world are organizing for higher wages, more paid time off and union representation at disciplinary hearings.
Tre’vell Anderson: Defeated candidate for Arizona Governor Kari Lake sued the state’s Maricopa County last week, demanding that officials hand over documents related to the election in the wake of her loss. Lake is following a long held tradition of women named Kari asking to speak to the manager. Instead of conceding to her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs, Lake has accused county election workers of breaking the state’s election laws and alleged that some of her supporters may not have been able to cast their ballots as a result. According to Lake’s legal team, Maricopa County officials have not produced the desired records. The county’s board of Supervisors will vote to certify the election results today.
Priyanka Aribindi: Girl, like just give it up. [laughter] Just give it up. It’s fine. No one has the energy for this. No one’s into this.
Tre’vell Anderson: At all.
Priyanka Aribindi: We’re not doing the big lie 2.0. Just follow everybody else’s lead and just say you lost and I don’t know–
Tre’vell Anderson: Just suck it up.
Priyanka Aribindi: –slither back into oblivion.
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s okay.
Priyanka Aribindi: See ya. And breaking news about men named Robert at birth. Disney fired CEO Bob Chapek last week, replacing him with his beloved predecessor, Bob Iger. This comes after a rocky chapter for the company under Chapek’s leadership that plummeted Disney’s stock. The now former CEO faced criticism for his expensive approach to developing the company’s streaming platform, Disney Plus, as well as fumbling Disney’s response to the don’t say gay controversy earlier this year. Once Disney reinstated Iger, the company’s stock price spiked back up, signaling a strong approval rating from Wall Street. Chapek may have lost this battle of the Bobs. But according to Bloomberg, the outgoing CEO is leaving with a consolation prize of $23 million dollars per his contract.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know what, if anybody out there wants to take my job for $23 million dollars, you know, go for it. Just take it. You can have it.
Priyanka Aribindi: I’m going to undercut Tre’vell there, I’ll do it for less. I’d take less. [laughter] [?] we’ll take a deal. [laughter]
Tre’vell Anderson: The Biden administration has once again extended the pause on federal student loan payments. The reprieve for borrowers was set to expire at the end of the year, but for now, it’ll last through the end of June. You’ll remember that back in August, President Biden announced he would cancel up to $20,000 for millions of individual borrowers. But the plan is now in legal limbo. You can thank legal challenges from conservatives and Republican led states for that headache. And adding to the confusion just last week, about 16 million borrowers, including myself, who applied for the loan forgiveness program, we received letters saying that we’ve been approved for that debt relief. But, you know, it’s not going anywhere because, you know, they’re suing over the law. And so they’re [?] my face is what they’re doing. In the meantime, the Education Department has since stopped accepting applications until the legal drama is sorted out. But if you ask me, student loans can go forgive themselves and get out the way.
Priyanka Aribindi: This is a mess. And there’s a clear there’s a clear reason that it’s a mess. You know, we all know who to blame here. It’s those conservatives in the Republican led states. So if you think that this is fucked up and bad, please direct your complaints to them.
Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely.
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s been a minute since you’ve heard from us. Luckily, one minute is exactly the amount of time it takes the Elon Musk era Twitter to go to hell and back. Some quick highlights. The social media website reportedly lost 50 of its top 100 advertisers. No idea why the other 50 stuck around. Musk said that he’d support Ron DeSantis if he decides to run for president in 2024. And those pesky blue checkmarks are going through a complete overhaul once again. Earlier this month, Twitter introduced a premium service that allowed anyone to pay for a verified blue checkmark for the price of $8 a month. How could we forget? Twitter quickly suspended the plan after legions of its silliest users took advantage of the service to imitate brands, celebrities, governments and even Elon Musk himself. The new system, which is set to launch December 2nd, relies on the groundbreaking technology of color coding. Companies will get a gold check, governments get a gray check, and people who are willing to cough up eight bucks for a premium account will get the blue check. Call us when they’ve got a color for single and ready to mingle so we know who to avoid.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughing] I was about to say, I don’t know if you are using Twitter for you know dating purposes, but you shouldn’t be because–
Priyanka Aribindi: You shouldn’t.
Tre’vell Anderson: –It’s a hell hole.
Priyanka Aribindi: Nope.
Tre’vell Anderson: At all. Okay. Just don’t. You might. Next up, you might find yourself waking up in a few years to somebody who’s at the next insurrection attempt, all because you tried to find them on Twitter.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, that’s a that’s a red check for a red flag.
Tre’vell Anderson: [laughter] And those are the headlines. One more thing before we go. The Crooked store has launched some brand new merch inspired by your favorite shows, just in time for the holidays. Head over to Crooked.com/store to find the perfect gift for the Crooked fan in your life and maybe treat yourself to something while you’re at it. And this holiday season, every order from the Crooked store will support Vote Save America’s every last vote fund to ensure that every voice can be heard in the face of unprecedented voter suppression. That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review, promote and demote a Bob and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading and not just what’s left of Twitter like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
[spoken together] And don’t fire us turkeys.
Priyanka Aribindi: Please forgive us. You have been pardoned. You have experienced the joy of forgiveness, the gift of forgiveness. And please now allow us to do the same.
Tre’vell Anderson: I did have some turkey wings for Thanksgiving, though. Don’t hold it against me.
Priyanka Aribindi: Same. [laughing] [music break].
Tre’vell Anderson: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.