The Slandering of Sam: How a transgender woman became the focus of HATE after Uvalde massacre
On May 24, a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killed at least 19 children and two adults. Following the massacre, a photo went viral on social media - purportedly of the shooter - with claims that the perp was a transgender woman. Sam, a transgender woman from Georgia, said that Reddit users began commenting on a photo of her that she had posted three months earlier on the platform. People apparently claimed that the photo resembled that of the gunman. They also informed her it was being posted on 4chan, a forum website with very limited monitoring.
Sam told NBC News that this is not the first time she was accused of murder. She shared a photo of herself standing in front of a trans pride banner on Instagram on Tuesday, May 24 in an attempt to curb the spread of misinformation. She said, “It's not me, I don't even live in Texas," adding that all she wants is to live without being harassed when leaving her house. Earlier, Arizona Republican congressman Paul Gosar also wrote in a now-deleted tweet, “We know already fool. It’s a transsexual leftist illegal alien named Salvatore Ramos. It’s apparently your kind of trash.” Many Twitter users accused Gosar of lying in his post while others tried to clarify that photos of a trans woman had been misidentified as those of the Texas school shooter.
Heartbreaking video shows terrified parents running TOWARDS Uvalde school as massacre unfolded
Uvalde school massacre: Anonymous post goes viral for 'extreme common sense'
Meanwhile, ABC News acquired a photo of the alleged shooter from law enforcement officials. Salvador Ramos, the suspected gunman, was an 18-year-old Uvalde High School student, according to officials. According to the Associated Press, Ramos was shot and killed by a US Border Patrol agent who was close when the gunfire started. Other reports have claimed Ramos shot and injured his grandmother and fled the scene before going on the rampage.
Ramos allegedly sent cryptic communications to another user hours before the shooting using an Instagram account that has since been deleted, hinting at what he was going to do. Photos of firearms and magazines were also allegedly shared on the Instagram account. Ramos, who turned 18 only days ago, bought two assault firearms on his birthday, according to Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez.
According to the FBI, there were 345 "active shooter incidents" in the United States between 2000 and 2020, resulting in more than 1,024 deaths and 1,828 injuries. The deadliest of them occurred in Las Vegas in 2017, leaving more than 50 people killed and 500 wounded. The vast majority of mass shootings, however, leave fewer than 30 people dead.
rightwingers including @DrPaulGosar have been spreading misinformation that the shooter in texas was a trans woman, using random photos they pulled from reddit. the person in the photos is currently posting on reddit in apparent horror that her photos were used in this way. pic.twitter.com/riDoQsmHM3— Molly White (@molly0xFFF) May 25, 2022