66 year old Laura Ann Carleton succumbed to her gunshot wounds today with the suspect disappearing on foot and remaining unidentified by officials. The altercation preceding the shooting involved the man making disparaging remarks about the pride flag displayed outside of Carleton's store before drawing and killing her in cold blood.
Carleton, her husband, and nine children ran a clothing store in Southern California for years. Although Carleton wasn't a member of the LGBTQ community, she was a prominent ally who worked with The Lake Arrowhead LGBTQ organization as an advocate. She also worked with worker co-op Mountain Provisions Cooperative to help provide food after a blizzard hit her area. She was a loving and cherished member of her community.
Unfortunately, Carleton is the latest casualty of the right wing epidemic sweeping the nation. The political climate that killed her is being egged on by conservatives as we speak. This is the natural conclusion to the culture of targeted harassment ushered in by individuals such as Chaya Raichik.
Chaya Raichik is the author of the twitter account Libs of TikTok which openly exposes any individual linked to the LGBTQ community, be they allies or members themselves, with the express purpose of having her rabid followers harass, stalk, and even kill those she targets.
Her followers are right wing individuals with a seething hatred for those related to the LGBTQ community. They submit various stories to her with pictures of individuals they know and have stalked sufficiently enough to get an image of. They then have their full names, locations, careers, and pictures posted on twitter without their consent.
This leads to harassment in the form of people finding your social media, email, calling your place of business, and finding you in person. It doesn't take much for these interactions to escalate to violence.
If Carleton, an individual with a pride flag outside of her shop, can be targeted by a random person in the street with the same political views as your average Libs of TikTok follower, then nobody who supports the LGBTQ community is safe from the violence of the right.
This isn't a fringe phenomenon either. Chaya Raichik has gotten shout outs from former President Donald Trump on Truth Social with praise for her work in exposing "sick people who are coming after our kids."
The former president is a fan of this senseless violence and has used his power to promote it. Today, Libs of Tiktok has 2.4 million followers whose express purpose is to harass and destroy the LGBTQ community. She remains one of many prominent spreaders of targeted hatred across the platform. The actions of her and those like her are putting millions of people in danger due to the sickness of their homophobia. With many surfers profiting off the rising tide of hatred, the MAGA movement should be called "Murder America's Gay's Again."