Nashville School Shooting: What We Know and What We Don’t
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Updated March 29, 2023
- As the investigation continues, authorities are discovering more about the suspect and his motive, which is still unclear.
- A former teacher of Hale’s recalled a social media post where the suspect shared the death of his romantic partner, whose identity remains unknown. In the post, Hale asked to be addressed as Aiden and by he/him pronouns.
- State officials discovered that Gov. Bill Lee (R-TN) and his wife were friends with victim Cynthia Peak and had invited her to dinner that night, alluding to a possible motive. Authorities said no other victims appeared to be targeted explicitly.
- Nashville police said Hale was “under doctor’s care for emotional disorder” and had legally purchased seven deadly weapons. Hale’s parents claimed not to know about the weapons, which were hidden in their home. The suspect also obtained detailed maps of the school and its entry points.
- Hale sent concerning messages to a friend, Averianna Patton, before the shooting, referencing suicidal thoughts and fears that something bad may happen. Patton called the Suicide Prevention Hotline, which directed her to the County Sheriff’s Office, and then to Nashville’s non-emergency phone number. She was on hold with the non-emergency phone line when Hale entered The Covenant School.
- Since the shooting, there has been an uptick in transphobic rhetoric among conservative lawmakers, using the shooter’s identity to push their efforts to eliminate trans rights and resist gun reform. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) wrote in a tweet:
“How much hormones like testosterone and medications for mental illness was the transgender Nashville school shooter taking? Everyone can stop blaming guns now.”
- Regarding the comment, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said:
“It’s absolutely disgusting and she should be looking into a mirror as to why she’s defending and posing with the same weapons that are being used to kill children, teachers & educators.”
What’s the story?
- Nashville is mourning after the shooting at a private Christian elementary school on Monday, where three children and three adults were killed.
- The shooter was a former student, Audrey E. Hale, who lived in the area. Hale was shot and killed by the Metro Nashville Police Department on-site.
- The victims are Evelyn Dieckhause, 9; William Kinney, 9; Hallie Scruggs, 9; Mike Hill, 61; Cynthia Peak, 61; and Katherine Koonce, 60.
- Hale arrived at the school with an AR-style rifle, an AR-style pistol, and a handgun, all obtained legally and locally. Sources close to Hale said the 28-year-old was a “quiet” art student who may have been fueled by “resentment” toward the former school, The Covenant School.
- Police initially identified the suspect as a woman, but the source noted Hale used he/him pronouns, which a LinkedIn profile confirmed.
- As of late March, the Gun Violence Archive counted 130 mass shootings so far this year in the U.S. Last year, the group counted 647.
Nashville Rep. controversy
- Rep. Andy Ogles, a first-time Republican representing the Nashville district, said he was “devastated” by the shooting. He continued:
“We are sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of those lost. As a father of three, I am utterly heartbroken by this senseless act of violence.”
- Gun control advocates resurfaced a photo of Ogles and his family posing in front of their Christmas tree, holding heavy weaponry. Ogles’ caption read, “The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”
THIS is last year's Christmas card from Tennessee Rep. Andy Ogles, a Republican who represents the district that Covenant School is in in Nashville. #tnleg pic.twitter.com/IpkLzZs5m5— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 27, 2023
- Activists highlight Ogles’ hypocrisy, urging the representative to take action on the ever-increasing death toll of mass shootings in America. When asked about congressional action, Ogles said:
“We don’t want to jump to any conclusions. There’s still a lot more information about this case that hasn’t been let out to the public.”
- Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) tweeted in response:
“How much more bloodshed will it take? It’s. The. Guns.”
- Advocate Fred Guttenberg, whose child was killed in the Parkland shooting in 2018, denounced Ogles, saying:
“The tragedy of the latest mass shooting is listening to Tennessee politicians who refuse to call it a shooting but who engaged in behavior that caused this to be more likely when they glorify guns.”
Biden’s ban on assault weapons
- President Joe Biden signed an executive order earlier this month that mandates required background checks for all firearm sales, cracking down on sellers who break the law.
- Biden signed the order in Monterey Park, California, the scene of a mass shooting in January that left eleven people dead.
"Every few days in the United States, we mourn a new mass shooting. We cannot accept these facts as the enduring reality of life in America. Instead, we must together insist that we have had enough."
Donate to those affected by the Nashville school shooting.
(Photo credit: Twitter/Metro Nashville Police Department)
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If Nashville shooter Audrey/Aiden Hale had been wearing a MAGA hat her/his picture would be on the front page of every News paper for months with new details daily, and you KNOW IT! But because she/he was a woke LGBTQ transgender the FBI will NEVER release her/his manifesto or journals even though they "said" they would. The double standard.
Thoughts and prayers don't cut it!
Just outlaw the ownership or possession of AR style weapons and gun deaths will no longer be the leading cause of death for children in our country.
The only reason for having any high rate of fire, high velocity round, large magazine semiautomatic weapon is to inflict lethal damage to a large number of people rapidly. AR-15 like weapons are designed to inflict mass casualties quickly.
‘Justifications’ that AR-15 like weapons are useful for any purpose other than increasing gun manufacturer’s profits, by marketing these weapons to wanna-be Rambo’s, are false.
The children killed at Uvalde could not be visually identified since the high velocity AR rounds are designed to send shock waves through the body and blow massive holes in their targets. Some of the children had their heads quite nearly blown off. This is gross and very hard to think about - but the truth often is ugly and gross, and denying the ugly and gross truth is, in effect condoning it.
Are AR-15 like weapons absolutely needed for hunting? I don’t see how, unless you needed to kill a herd a buffalo for sport, or you needed your hunted game turned into mince-meat at the point of the kill. Beside that, mass killing of a herd of animals, is hardly something I would call a ‘sport’.
Are AR-15 like weapons useful for sports like competitive marksmanship? Generally these guns for marksmanship have longer, heavier barrels and are breech loaded single shot weapons- so that the aiming cannot be effected by semiautomatic loading mechanisms. So, these AR weapons are not needed for competitive marksmanship sports.
So AR-15 like weapons good for self-defense, self protection? If one had to defend themselves from an organized military, even just a few well trained operatives, they would be overcome by coordinated strategy, tactics and better weaponry - most likely before they would even realize the need to pick up their AR-15 like weapons. So, not very useful for defending against a committed military unless the owner had extensive training, exceptional reflexes and clear strategies - but these weapons are sold to the general public, and not limited to just those able to meet strict certification criteria.
Are AR-15 like weapons useful for self defense from a marauding hoard, say from a Zombie apocalypse? Anyone thinking that they need an AR-15 like weapon to fend off zombies wouldn’t need one to begin with, because they would not have enough grey matter to attract any self-respecting zombie in the first place. So again, no!
Would AR-15 like weapons useful for fending off a small number of attackers with lethal intent, say Charles Manson and Company? I suppose that they could be, but that raises another question of just how likely that kind of encounter would be. I would expect that the likelihood of such an encounter is dwarfed by the likelihood of being accidentally shot by gun accidents or as collateral damage from bullets that travel long distances from their intended targets.
There are many, many more reports of AR-15 like weapons being used to mass-slaughter innocents than there are of home or business invasions by those with lethal intent. The numbers should show that the societal risks vastly outweigh the benefits of AR-15 like weapons being a useful alternative to conventional firearms for self-defense. So, no - from a big-picture perspective, AR-15 like weapons have been proven to be more costly to society than the conventional fire arms used for self-defense.
There is no compelling need for any of the ‘features’ that these AR-15 like weapons provide for the sole purpose of being able to easily and rapidly inflict lethal damage to a large number of ‘targets’: High rate of fire semiautomatic weapons that can approach machine gun firing rates by the use of bump stocks; Large capacity magazines that allow massive damage between reloads, high muzzle velocity rounds that cause massive tissue damage to ensure a ‘kill’ shot; the use of hollow point ammunition, legal in some states, that also causes massive tissue damage to ensure a ‘kill’ shot.
None of these ‘features’ are needed for hunting, varmint control on farms, protection from animal attacks in remote areas or self-defense. All of these needs are fully met by traditional firearms which are not designed to rapidly inflict lethal damage to a large number of targets.
Why aren’t these types of weapons simply banned?
They serve no purpose that cannot be adequately served with less lethal weapons.
Who, specifically, needs them and for what purpose?
The mere availability of these weapons to the general public will allow them to be misused by a few - which would be much less of an issue if only less lethal weapons were readily available.
I suppose that a select few could meet a rigorous training and certification criteria, licensing, and liability insurance requirements should they lose such weapons or have them stolen. But, these would be strictly limited.
If not banned now, I can see a new market for ‘Little Tommy’s Sniper Rifles’ to be coming, complete with an on-board computer controlled sight that corrects for atmospheric conditions to target that ‘sweet spot’ of the target’s medulla oblongata.
Registration, training, psych evaluation, insurance and licensing should all be required for those few that could qualify be certified to be able to safely own, store and operate any of these AR-like weapons - just like automatic weapons are regulated and monitored. The issue is much more about the availability of these weapons than the people who are having a momentary mental breakdown using them. Red flag laws may catch a few but by and large, even of they were fully enforced, they have made little difference in the mass killings - particularly in the new ‘sport’ of hunting children.
The only positive aspect of the Republican Cartel’s unwillingness to take any really positive actions to control these weapons is that they are paving the path for a broad Democratic victory in 2024. Most of the populace do not live in carefully tailored gerrymandered districts and will no longer support the Republican Cartel’s push toward autocracy or their fealty to gun manufacturers.
A transgender shooter targeting Christians and children. This is a hate crime and the liberal left is in denial. Why hasn't the manifesto been released? Because it clearly states this transgender shooter wanted to kill Christians.The Left doesn't want it to be released but it will be.
Let's be honest. The Republicans have no policy platform, and likely won't again in 2024, especially if they once again choose Donald as their nominee.
From their statements and inactions, we can assume that they will give us more of the same if they get power:
More children and vulnerable people dying from guns
More book bans
More anti-woman, anti-Black and anti-LGBTQ legislation
More money in politics
More restrictions on voting for anyone who's not a white man
We've seen what they've said and done since the Nashville shooting already, so we have no reason to expect anything else.
A revival? How about a shoot out?
how about a brain transplant?
Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., on Tuesday doubled down on his comments that Congress is "not gonna fix" the problem of school shootings, saying that the country needed a "real revival" rather than gun control legislation
Of note, my Florida representatives: Congressman Posey, Senators Rubio and Scott, regarding school shootings is that the common denominator at all school killings is guns.
These same representatives also share the unwillingness to stop said killings.
That makes them enablers.
This is horrible, and I'm sad for the Nashville community that they are going through this.
Once again we see that we as a nation have chosen to let guns become the number one killer of children and don't plan to do anything about it. We've heard legislators on the right blame everything but the guns and admit they're not going to change any laws.
Tennessee has very loose laws on who can get a gun, and these are the consequences. Sadly, this is the price they'll pay for their decisions.
When will political leaders decide that the lives of children are more important than the donations of the gun lobby? It doesn't have to be this way.
And again, the Republican politicians offer nothing but "thoughts and prayers" or as South Dakota Senator John Thune said today, that it's "premature" to talk gun legislation after the Nashville shooting. The same senator who said last year that he thinks South Dakotans have a legitimate reason to want AR-15s "to shoot prairie dogs and, you know, other types of varmints". We all know the size of those "varmints" here in South Dakota. To Senator Thune and Rounds, when will you talk about gun legislation? Get your f***ing hands out of the NRA's pockets and DO SOMETHING! Every single politician should be required to view an actual autopsy of a gun victim killed by an AR-15 style weapon. The Washington Post has an article on what an AR-15 does to a human body. I still haven't mastered gifting the link but it is still a very sanitized description of what an AR-15 will do to a human body.
What does an AR-15 do to a human body? A visual examination of the deadly damage. - Washington Post https://wapo.st/3FZaKtb
Tennesse is 1 of 30 US states without red flag laws. Instead of working on red flag laws, Tennessee is lowering the age on permitless, open carry from 21 to 18 by negotiating a settlement on a gun rights group legal challenge to the 2 year old law.
The Nashville Chief of Police said if he had seen the shooter with guns prior to the shooting there was nothing he could have done till the trigger was pulled. The parents were unaware, thinking the shooter had 1 gun that had been sold. The 5 gun shops selling guns had no knowledge the shooter was in treatment for emotional issues. Even if they did there is nothing they could have done without her being in a database due to a crime.
if you want your kids to be safe in school you need to be aware of what your state gun laws are, and if you don't like those laws then it's time to vote out the politicians that support those laws and are unwilling to change them.
"[Tennessee] Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order aimed at strengthening school safety in Tennessee, but it didn’t mention anything about guns. He went on to tell reporters that he currently has no plans to talk about gun reform."
Once again this is so tragic. And once again someone slips through the cracks of mental health. There is not much if anything that causes reported here that was what the sheriff said. What I heard him say in the beginning, was it looked to be a young girl. As more information came out, he said later yesterday and today they identified her as a 28 years old woman. That she had some psychological problems and she was reported to be trans. Never did he say anything about her wanting to be called he/him. Went on to say she had seven guns and rifles that were bought legally from different gun stores. According to the parents, when she started having problems they wanted her to get rid of the guns. They thought she had sold the last gun and was surprised when they realized the police found the guns hidden all over in the house. They found the guns and a detailed plan of entrances and exits of the grounds and it had looked like she was planning it for a while. She had called a friend the same day just before the shooting and told her she would probably hear about her on the news. I heard the friend on the news tonight. She was understandably upset and shocked at what she to her said and didn't know what to do. So she called her father to ask him what to do. He told her to call the police. But by the time she called the police it was too late. It seemed the shooter went to the school right after talking to her.
The parents said she didn't start having mental problems till later after she bought the guns legally. Why didn't they get rid of them themselves or at the very least want to see a receipt for the sale of the guns? They obviously knew it was serious enough to want her to not have guns. Why would you trust that she would get rid of them on her own? And what about the doctor? Also, laws have to be made that if someone is having mental problems and going to a doctor, the courts should be notified and red flagged. The sherif said today that had they had a clue, even if they couldn't legally do anything, they would still try and talk to someone and try to intervene to get those guns.
This is information that causes did not mention. It was more important to post the picture of a republican congressman and his family holding guns and make him the villain rather than who actually did the crime and why it happened.
I know I'll be ripped apart for voicing my opinion. So before you tell me what a terrible person I am, or a republican who wants to see kids killed, I will say this ... I am not in favor of semi automatic guns. I never allowed guns in my house. Personally I'm afraid of guns.
But, I am not against others from having them. I'm not against the NRA. I once said, if I were accosted by someone with a gun, I'd hope there would be someone else around who was on the right side of the law that would help me and use their gun if they needed to. I don't think getting rid of guns is what will solve the problem. Hand guns alone kill more people than rifles. Getting rid of gun shows or not allowing people to buy at gun shows there won't stop the problem either. They can wait for a background check, of which I'm for, for ever. But if their mentally fine at the time of purchase and something happens later in life, then you may as well scratch that. Which is exactly what happen here as far as we know right now.
We (both sides of the isle) have to sit down and discuss all aspects in detail. Without being accusatory and sarcastic. It has to be a real discussion. Without just saying you have to get rid of guns. And you have really to get into the mental health of it. If people can do such a haines crime they have to be really mentally ill or really evil.
Ref the Nashville shooting
the 6 killed - you did not deserve this
to those living
shame on the republican rep ogles & his family
you hearts and prayers won't bring them back!
shame on all who have stood by and done nothing to ban all guns from public areas let alone assault weapons
congress & judiciary hang your heads in shame - yes you have blood on your watch
country of law & order? pro life? patriots? You must be joking!
The US has no right to point any finger at anyone but themselves
No more thoughts and prayers,
action and policy is required.
Have you had enough yet? Had enough of seeing little schoolchildren blasted to bits with military-grade assault weapons? Had enough of seeing it happen every week while you do nothing? I am calling you to DO SOMETHING NOW! For all you know, it could be your own children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews next. No one is immune to this senseless (and avoidable) citizen-to-citizen violence.
This latest atrocity in Nashville is the 130th mass shooting this year - and it's not yet April! Isn't that a horrendous statistic to you?
Forget whatever funding you may get from the gun lobby. Forget worrying about losing some votes. None of that matters. The lives of children (and adults) matter.
Loudly and publicly call for a total ban on assault weapons. There is absolutely no reason for private citizens to have military weapons whose only purpose is to kill other human beings.
I look forward to your response.