A picture of a transgender woman in a skirt holding a trans flag started circulating online, with conservatives claiming it was Salvador Ramos, the shooter of the Uvalde school shooting on Tuesday.
Further fact checking has shown it is fake news.
The myth that Salvador Ramos was a transgender woman was quickly debunked after a quick reverse search of the image, that linked it to a Reddit profile of a trans woman that doesn’t even live in Texas. She started to receive threats and had to clarify on Reddit and Instagram that she has no relation to the Uvalde shooter.
The motives behind the original user who pulled out the image and claimed it was Ramos are unknown, but it is clear that it came from a place of discrimination. Trying to shift the blame from loose gun control in Texas to Ramos being “mentally ill” for being trans. It gave conservatives the perfect opportunity to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, blame Democrats and completely remove guns from the conversation.
The fake news even reached U.S. politicians, like Arizona House of Representatives member Paul Gosar, who published a tweet with extremely toxic language that he quickly deleted after the truth came out. He didn’t even get the actual shooter’s name correct.
France24 News, whose reporters talked about the false allegations on their Truth or Fake segment, captured the now deleted tweet:
You can also view their whole segment debunking this idea here.
These types of fake news are dangerous, as they feed into the fear and rage conservatives tend to have for minorities. Shifting the blame, and elaborating that the reason that the mass shooter killed 19 children and two teachers is because they are transgender, is irresponsible and continues to alienate these communities without looking at the real issue.
What we do know of Salvador Ramos – the 18-year-old that went out to buy 2 rifles the day he was of legal age due to the state’s loose laws regarding gun control – is that he was living with his grandparents, and allegedly upset that due to his poor grades he couldn’t graduate with his classmates.
He posted on Facebook now deleted pictures of him full of pride for buying his guns and statements about shooting the school half an hour prior to the event. His mother in an interview stated that he was bullied, and that she sometimes had an uneasy feeling about him since he could be aggressive, according to an interview for the Daily Mail.
It is important to talk about mental health when it leads to situations that drive kids to commit such atrocities. It is also important to talk about the laws that permit kids to access these types of weapons, something Republicans are apparently still not ready to do. What shouldn’t be done is spreading misinformation regarding such a sensitive topic for it to fit your own personal and political agenda.