Club Q is a gay bar that is known in Colorado Springs for the vivacious entertainment it provides, most notably drag shows where men dress up as women and perform. Lots of people enjoy the fun of drag shows, and they are not necessarily gay. As you no doubt have read, a man barged into Club Q, armed with an assault rifle and other guns. He began blazing away. Five people were killed, and another 20 were wounded and hospitalized.

The toll would have been far higher were it not for the instantaneous reaction of Rich Fierro, a combat veteran who was attending the drag show with his wife, daughter, and friends. When he heard the gunfire, he went into combat mode, pulled down the killer, and pummeled him with his own gun.

In an interview at his house, where his wife and daughter were still recovering from injuries, Mr. Fierro, 45, who left the Army in 2013 as a major, according to military records, described charging through the chaos at the club, tackling the gunman and beating him bloody with the gunman’s own gun.

Richard M. Fierro said he was at a table in Club Q with his wife, daughter and friends on Saturday, watching a drag show, when the sudden flash of gunfire ripped across the nightclub. His instincts from four combat deployments as an Army officer in Iraq and Afghanistan instantly kicked in. Fight back, he told himself.

“I don’t know exactly what I did, I just went into combat mode,” Mr. Fierro said, shaking his head. “I just know I have to kill this guy before he kills us.”

Without Fierro’s immediate intervention, there would certainly have been more fatalities. In 2016, a shooter entered the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and murdered 49 people.

Of the five who died, three were gay or transgender, and two were straight. Club Q was a fun place until the killer arrived.

When the next mass shooting occurs, there may not be a combat veteran available to tackle the shooter. It may happen in a classroom, an auditorium, a bar, anywhere.

Thanks to the National Rifle Association, the Republican party that takes orders from the NRA, and the Supreme Court, which recently struck down state laws that were intended to limit access to high-powered guns or concealed guns, we are all targets. Nowhere is safe.

But let’s give discredit where discredit is due. The Republican Party has skillfully turned anything related to LGBT+ into a huge issue. “They” are coming for your children. Do not say what they are. Do not acknowledge their existence. Pretend they don’t exist. Deny medical care to transgender people and threaten to punish parents who seek it and physicians who offer it.

Crass politicians like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott speak of gays, lesbians and transgender people as the enemy of our righteous social order. DeSantis passed a law forbidding the acknowledgment of such people in K-12, even if they happen to be gay. Books about gay love and gay life are banned. Anything related to gay life is stigmatized as evil. For years, we have heard a steady public repetition of slurs, slanders, and obscenities directed at trans people, as though they were responsible for everything that has gone wrong in our national life.

The seeds of hatred and murder were planted by politicians who treated gays as “less than.” Twisted minds hear the incitement and think they will be celebrated if they kill these enemies of the people.

DeSantis, Abbot and other politicians who have demonized people who are transgender and who are LGBT have blood on their hands.

Words have consequences.