To justify carrying a loaded firearm on a regular basis, Rep. Lauren Boebert––a freshman Republican infamous for her love of guns and association with the QAnon cult––has a story she likes to tell. “When I became a business owner, I needed to protect myself,” Boebert said while speaking on the House floor this week in protest of a Democratic bill that would expand firearm background-check requirements. “There was an altercation outside of my restaurant where a man was physically beat to death. There were no weapons involved. He was beat to death by another man’s hands.” In the same vein as Donald Trump claiming that he would have “run in there” and attempted to stop the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, Boebert then painted herself as a potential good-guy-with-a-gun if any other violent altercations took place near her workplace. “I have a lot of young girls that work in my restaurant, and we needed an equalizer,” she added. “I need something against a stronger potential aggressor to defend myself with. Talk about women’s rights—don’t take my right away to protect myself.”
However, there is one major problem with the personal anecdote that Boebert trotted out––it never happened. The 37-year-old man she described did die in downtown Rifle, Colorado in 2013, but in reality, he died of a methamphetamine overdose and was about a block away from Boebert’s restaurant––aptly named Shooters Grill––when he was found collapsed, per a homicide investigation report filed by local police. A local news outlet, the Colorado Sun, first reported in late 2020 that the man died due to drug-related causes.
While police did initially look into the death as a potential homicide, due to the man in question, Anthony Green, getting into a public dispute earlier in the night, an official toxicology report concluded that Green’s body was found with deadly levels of methamphetamine in his system. “The decedent may have been engaged in a physical altercation associated with a drug transaction several blocks away, ran from the scene and collapsed,” the postmortem report stated. “Drug paraphernalia was discovered with the decedent and the decedent had a history of drug use. Postmortem examination of the decedent revealed superficial abrasions consistent with a fall. The abrasions were not associated with any internal injury.”
The Washington Post found that Boebert has cited this false story not once, not twice, but three times in 2021 alone. The Post’s Glenn Kessler, who dubbed Boebert’s account “mainly fiction,” noted that her spokesperson “argued that her statement was accurate because Green’s body was discovered about a half block from her restaurant.” However, Kessler added, the spokesperson “could not explain why she claims Green was beaten to death outside the restaurant, except to cite a local newspaper report shortly after Green’s death (nearly eight years ago) that had said the cause of death was unknown.” (On Twitter, Boebert disputed the Post’s ”three Pinocchios” designation: ”Jeff Bezos’ ’fact checkers’ are rapidly becoming tabloids,” she wrote.)
Still, the fraudulent nature of her origin story won’t slow down Boebert’s very public love affair with firearms. “You know who else used to have guns? Venezuelans, before Socialist Hugo Chavez confiscated them all. Now they’re eating cats,” she tweeted on Friday morning. Ironically, it seems that the worst instance of physical harm connected to Boebert’s Shooters Grill was triggered by some disgusting food it served, as a local 2017 report revealed how the restaurant, which was vending at a local event, apparently improperly handled pork sliders that caused customers to suffer from explosive diarrhea.
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