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‘By the Grace of Almighty God’: Trump Highlights Miraculous Survival in Presidential Acceptance Speech

Accepting the Republican Party presidential nomination in Milwaukee on Thursday, a somber and reflective President Donald J. Trump promised to deliver “a message of confidence, strength and hope,” just days after an assassination attempt that came within fractions of an inch of killing him. On a public platform before untold millions of people, President Trump credited his survival to “the grace of Almighty God.”

As promised, a more charitable Trump dedicated a large share of his remarks at the Republican National Convention to healing our nation’s longstanding divisions, which boiled over into explosive violence last Saturday in Butler, Pennsylvania. “The discord and division in our society must be healed. We must heal it quickly. As Americans, we are bound together by a single fate and a shared destiny. We rise together, or we fall apart,” he said. “I am running to be president for all of America, not half of America,” Trump insisted — a pledge President Joe Biden repeatedly made in the days following the 2020 election. Yet critics say Biden went on to preside over the most politicized presidency in U.S. history.

The emotional highlight came as President Trump recounted the details of his assassination attempt.

“I will tell you exactly what happened, and you’ll never hear it from me a second time, because it’s actually too painful to tell,” he told the crowd. “Behind me, and to the right, was a large screen that was displaying a chart of border crossings under my leadership,” when a bullet rang out. President Trump tilted his head slightly on Saturday night while trying to see an immigration chart, causing his would-be assassin’s bullet to graze the president’s right ear instead of hitting his head. “The assassin’s bullet came within a quarter of an inch of taking my life.”

The 45th president revealed he had turned his head to the right and “was ready to begin a little bit further turn, which I’m very lucky I didn’t do,” as that would have placed his face in the shooter’s bullseye. “If I had not moved my head at that very last instant, the assassin’s bullet would have perfectly hit its mark and I would not be here tonight,” he said.

After feeling his ear and seeing blood covering his hand, he “immediately knew it was very serious, that we were under attack.”

“There was blood pouring everywhere, and yet in a certain way I felt very safe because I had God on my side. I felt that,” he recalled. “I’ll tell you: I stand before you in this arena only by the grace of Almighty God.”

Other speakers also highlighted the seemingly miraculous survival. “I think it was divine intervention,” said Tucker Carlson, who reportedly gave his speech earlier in the evening without a text or teleprompter. Carlson, who saw his top-rated Fox News show canceled a weekend after he began discussing spiritual warfare, felt the shooting’s unlikely failure could touch off a spiritual renewal in America. After seeing “what’s happened over the past month since the debate, and particularly on Saturday in Butler, I think a lot of people are wondering, ‘What is this? This doesn’t look like politics. Something bigger’s going on here.’ I think even people who don’t believe in God are starting to think, ‘Maybe there’s something to this.’”

Rev. Franklin Graham thanked Jesus Christ by Name for the president’s safety. “Thank You for saving the life of President Donald J. Trump. In his words, it was You, and You alone, who saved him,” he prayed. “Sadly, as a nation, we have forgotten Who is responsible for all the freedoms, the liberties, and the bounty we enjoy. It has all come from You.” America, he said, has become a nation “in trouble. We’re divided politically, racially economically … You’re the only One Who can fix the complexity of the problems we face today.” Graham went on to pray that God would “continue to protect him from his enemies” and “surround him with men and women who will give him sound counsel and guidance. Graham also implored God’s protection on Trump, vice presidential candidate and Ohio Senator J.D. Vance (R), and all “leaders of this nation, whether they’re Republican, Democrat, or independent.”

In his acceptance speech, President Trump acknowledged Rev. Franklin Graham — whom, he noted, asked him, “Please, don’t use any foul language” on stage — as well as his legendary evangelist father, Rev. Billy Graham, playfully calling the organizer of global mass crusades “a good rally guy.”

Yet the president praised the calm and concern of his audience, which did not crowd out of the exits. “By not stampeding, many lives were saved,” Trump said. He saluted the heroism of the Secret Service agents who dove on top of him to shield his body with their own, as well as retired Fire Chief Corey Comperatore, who lost his life in the attack. In a touching display, President Trump kissed the helmet Comperatore wore while dousing deadly blazes. Before a televised audience numbering the tens of millions, Trump announced he had helped raised $6.2 million for the families of all those who had been injured or killed in the shooting.

The president eventually displayed the same chart — contrasting the sharp decline of illegal border crossings under his presidency with the record-breaking level of illegal immigrants entering the United States during the Biden administration — that he tried to comment on during the assassination attempt.

The “last time I put up that chart, I never really got to look at it,” the president quipped, showing himself in good spirits.

He refused to show intimidation after the potential domestic terrorist attack. “Our resolve is unbroken, and our purpose is unchanged — to deliver a government that serves the American people better than ever before,” he said. “Nothing will stop me in this mission, because our vision is righteous, and our cause is pure.”

In addition to cracking down on illegal immigration, Trump briefly highlighted his administration’s accomplishments: presiding over a booming economy, lowering unemployment rates to historic lows, broadly sharing prosperity with the middle class, enacting “Right to Try” laws that give terminally-ill patients access to experimental medical treatments.

“We got hit with COVID,” Trump noted, saying his administration “did a great job” handling it.

“Under our leadership, the United States will be respected again. No nation will question our power. No enemy will doubt our might. Our borders will be totally secure. Our economy will soar. We will return law and order to our streets, patriotism to our schools, and importantly, we will restore peace, stability, and harmony all throughout the world,” he promised.

At one point in the speech, Trump seemingly anointed his running mate, Senator J.D. Vance, as his designated successor as leader of the America First movement. “J.D., you’re going to be doing this for a long time,” he told the current junior senator from Ohio. “Enjoy the ride.”

Like Vance’s address on Wednesday night, President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech said nothing about any future federal legislation to protect the unborn from abortion, naming Supreme Court justices from a specific list of judges, upholding the definition of marriage that held until nine years ago, defunding abortionists, or sheltering minors from the transgender industry.

The speech’s priorities mirror the truncated 2024 Republican Party platform, which also contains no concrete promises on those topics — a fact Trump praised.

“It’s very short compared to the long, boring, meaningless agendas of the past,” Trump claimed of previous Republican Party platforms. He also criticized Democratic platforms of the past. (The DNC has yet to adopt its platform for this race or to nominate its official presidential or vice presidential candidates.)

Republicans cheered the final night of the convention, which in addition to Carlson and Rev. Graham, featured an energetic speech by former WWE wrestling champion Hulk Hogan, who called Trump “my hero.”

Some Democrats acknowledged the campaign dynamic at work in the Fiserv Forum. Former Obama Green Jobs Czar and onetime organizer of the Maoist organization STORM (Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement) Van Jones, now a CNN commentator, said, “The last time I was at a convention that felt like this was Obama 2008. There’s something happening.”

But not every Democrat shared his enthusiasm. Fellow Obama administration alumnus David Axelrod called Trump’s speech “the first good thing that’s happened to Democrats in the last three weeks.” Axelrod went on to blame political violence such as last weekend’s assassination attempt on Donald Trump’s rhetoric, mentioning the January 6 riot. “He has done his share to put us where we are,” Axelrod declared.

The Democratic Party formally accused the Republican convention of radicalism but cited promises and policies the president and vice president have not advocated or seemingly oppose. “Trump and Vance are running on the dangerous Project 2025 agenda to put tax cuts for billionaires above lowering costs for working people, outlaw abortion, and threaten other basic rights, and put our democracy at risk,” alleged DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison. In fact, neither Trump nor Vance adopted every plank of the 900-page-plus Project 2025. They have not threatened to repeal fundamental rights such as religious liberty. And they have yet to endorse a single piece of federal legislation to protect unborn children from abortion.


Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Poll Finds Majority of Surveyed Voters Feel America Is ‘Spiraling Out of Control’

Former President Donald Trump scarcely escaped death after Saturday’s assassination attempt, and America is not the same because of it. In fact, following the attack, Reuters/Ipsos conducted a two-day poll to see just how U.S. citizens are faring with the tragic events. It appears they’re not doing all too well.

The poll surveyed 1,202 U.S. adults across the nation, as well as 992 registered voters this week. According to the results, 80% of these voters, including both Democrats and Republicans, fear “the country is spiraling out of … control.” Additionally, “Some 84% of voters in the poll said they were concerned that extremists will commit acts of violence after the election,” which is set to take place November 5.

The poll compared data to that of one they conducted in June of 2023. Last year, 60% of the respondents admitted concern that political beliefs would lead to acts of violence within their communities. This year, that number rose to 67%. Also last year, 12% of those surveyed claimed they feared violence, but that “it was acceptable for someone in their political party to commit violence to achieve a political goal” — a number that fell to 5% in this recent poll.

But perhaps most interesting is that Reuters/Ipsos felt inclined to examine how people viewed the spiritual side of these circumstances. If anything has been made abundantly clear as we process this attempted murder, it’s that many consider it “divine intervention” that the bullet just grazed Trump’s ear rather than ending his life. This is evidenced by the poll, which found 65% of registered Republicans and 11% of registered Democrats believed “Trump’s survival showed he was ‘favored by divine providence or God’s will.’”

As Dr. Albert Mohler and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins discussed earlier this week, there is, indeed, a Christian response to Saturday’s shooting. Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, went on to say that what happened to Trump is truly “an affirmation of the gift of life.” But what he also said, and what may be relevant to these poll results, is that it was “a parable of human sinfulness.” When looking at it this way, maybe, just maybe, it’s not so surprising that people feel the country is “spiraling out of control.”

Thomas Matthew Crooks, the 20-year-old young man who attempted to kill Trump, is an example of the sinful world we live in. In comments to The Washington Stand, David Closson, the director of the Center for Biblical Worldview at FRC, explained, “A deep insight of the biblical worldview is that we live in a fallen world.” As Genesis three teaches, it is “because of man’s rebellion against God, we live in a deeply disordered, sinful, [and] fallen world.” As such, he added, “Whatever the ideology of the shooter on Saturday, desiring to take someone’s life [and] committing an act of violence — that is the fruit of a deeply disordered heart and soul. It’s a result of sin” and “the world that we live in.”

Ultimately, “for Christians trying to process what took place,” Closson argued that there are “two major theological themes that we can see unfolding before us.” First, as previously noted, is that of sin. “The fact that someone thought it was morally permissible to take a gun to a political rally and … shoot a bullet at a candidate that you disagree with … is a parable of a sinful, fallen world.” But more importantly unfolding here, Closson urged, is the theme of God’s providence.

He elaborated, “Christians believe that at all times and at all moments, God is there. Christ is holding the world together and nothing happens without His allowance and being aware of it.” Closson emphasized this is the same God who “knows when a sparrow falls.” And we see His providence in the fact that the “bullet grazed the former president’s head, rather than being a kill shot.” But beyond the picture of God’s grace demonstrated in Trump’s survival, Closson urged that this is an opportunity for Christians to preach the good news of God’s providence over all creation.

“The events of recent years, even including the COVID-19 pandemic, have really brought a lot of people to their knees,” he stated. “It’s the developments that we see around us, whether a national tragedy or just the daily hardships of life, [that] remind us … we are needy people.” And as Christians, we “can look around the broader culture and realize that people are in desperate need of hope. Everybody is looking for hope.”

As Closson argued, “Every worldview, every religion, [and] every philosophy of life attempts to offer an explanation for where we can find hope.” And yet, he continued, “the biblical worldview holds out … the most intellectually satisfying and compelling answer, which is the hope Christianity offers the world is Jesus Christ” and “the gospel that sinful men and women can be reconciled to Holy God through faith and repentance in Jesus Christ.”

And so, he concluded, as the world feels America is swirling into chaos, there is a hope the church has to offer. “Christians have an opportunity, when they look around at their neighbors and friends who are scared, depressed … [and] confused,” to “leverage hardships for gospel opportunity.” For no matter our circumstances, what greater hope is there than Christ Himself?


Sarah Holliday

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Eerie Parallels: Trump’s Shooting Echoes Teddy Roosevelt’s in 1912

The former president with a larger-than-life personality — out of office for four years and with a long list of enemies — campaigns for another term and has a close call with a would-be assassin.

The former president, despite visible bleeding, not only survives the attempt on his life, but exhibits a strong show of strength, rallying his supporters. But the inflammatory rhetoric aimed at the candidate was even blamed for inspiring “vicious minds” to engage in political violence.

It was just after 8 p.m. on Oct. 14, 1912, when former President Teddy Roosevelt — seeking a nonconsecutive third term— was exiting the Gilpatrick Hotel to go deliver a speech at the Milwaukee Auditorium. Then, a former saloonkeeper, John Schrank, pulled a Colt .38 revolver just about five feet away and shot Roosevelt in the chest. The bullet was blunted by a folded-up 50-page speech and a thick eyeglasses case.

While the failed assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump late Saturday afternoon occurred north of Pittsburgh in Butler, Pennsylvania, the 45th president will deliver a speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination this week at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee — the same city where Roosevelt went on to speak for 84 minutes after taking a bullet.

In the case of Trump, the bullet grazed his ear, and the would-be assassin was fatally shot by Secret Service agents at the scene.

When Roosevelt was shot, his supporters called for killing the shooter. Several leapt on him and landed several punches. Roosevelt said, “Don’t hurt him. Bring him here. I want to see him.”

The attempted assassin was brought face-to-face with his target, and Roosevelt asked Schrank, “What did you do it for?” Schrank didn’t answer, so Roosevelt said, “Oh, what’s the use? Turn him over to the police.”

Roosevelt initially didn’t see any blood and presumed the bullet didn’t penetrate. A nearby doctor told the driver to get the former president to a hospital, but the former president said, “You get me to that speech.”

At the Milwaukee Auditorium, Roosevelt told the stunned audience, who in the absence of TV or social media would hear the news for the first time, “I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot.”

In a line perhaps comparable to Trump’s pumping his fist to reassure his Pennsylvania audience on Saturday, Roosevelt gained a rousing ovation from the Wisconsin crowd affirming, “It takes more than that to kill a bull moose.”

Earlier in 1912, Roosevelt — a former Republican president, who served from 1901 to 1909 — lost his bid for the GOP nomination when he challenged his successor, President William Howard Taft. Roosevelt ran as the candidate of the Progressive Party, which was nicknamed the Bull Moose Party.

The two assassination attempts have many parallels, but many differences as well. Perhaps most evident is that the Roosevelt shooting was at close range and with a revolver. The Trump shooting was at long range with an AR-style rifle.

The nature of the wounds were also different. A bullet fragment was lodged between Roosevelt’s ribs not far from his heart, but doctors determined it was best not to remove it. The bullet on Saturday grazed Trump’s right ear, and left a bloody face. Roosevelt was shot just before his political rally, while Trump was shot during his rally.

After the Trump assassination attempt on Saturday, much of the anti-Trump rhetoric has come to the forefront, as Democrats and many media outlets have claimed that he’s an “existential” threat to democracy, and even compared him to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Political opponents and many newspapers of the era said Roosevelt was a power-hungry traitor to his country for breaking the tradition of serving two terms, according to History.com.

In his Milwaukee speech with a blood-soaked shirt, Roosevelt said: “It is a very natural thing, that weak and vicious minds should be inflamed to acts of violence by the kind of awful mendacity and abuse that have been heaped upon me for the last three months by the papers.”

The assertion was somewhat borne out by Schrank’s diary, which said afterward: “I did not intend to kill the citizen Roosevelt. I intended to kill Theodore Roosevelt, the third termer.”

It was Roosevelt’s final presidential campaign. A former vice president, he had ascended to the presidency after the assassination of President William McKinley. He served out most of what would have been McKinley’s second term, and was elected in his own right in 1904.

Roosevelt lost the 1912 election to Democrat Woodrow Wilson, but his third-party candidacy finished in second place, outpolling incumbent Republican Taft.

This article originally appeared in The Daily Signal.


Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas serves as chief news correspondent and manager of the Investigative Reporting Project for The Daily Signal.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Nashville Shooter’s Manifesto Released

Nashville Christian school shooter Audrey Hale believed dying in a mass murder would allow her to experience an eternal gender transition, receiving a male body that would receive the erotic affection of brown-skinned females in Heaven, new documents reveal. Despite a 14-month police blackout, a local conservative news outlet has obtained dozens of pages of Hale’s writings.

The handwritten entries, which deeply reflect transgender ideology and critical race theory, show the trans-identifying mass child murderer intensely hated her father, referred to Jesus with a curse word, and had fantasized school shootings since she was in middle school. Officials close to the case say police appear to justify denying the public access to these documents by citing a stalled investigation into whether members of the psychological community — from whom Hale received treatment since childhood — suppressed information that could have prevented the tragedy.

Last March 27, Audrey Elizabeth Hale entered Nashville’s Covenant School, a church-run Christian private school, killing six people: three third graders and three staff members. She told others that she had left behind voluminous materials that would explain her motivation, and police reportedly uncovered more than 20 journals from the 28-year-old’s home, dating back to her adolescence. Yet more than a year later, officials have refused to release the writings, citing an “ongoing investigation.”

A conservative website, the Tennessee Star, has obtained 80 pages of a journal which police recovered from Hale’s vehicle on the day of the Covenant School massacre. Hale wrote less of a full-blown manifesto than an ongoing diary, slowly exposing the growing hold depression and extremism exerted over her as she expounded her plans and intentions for the assault over several years. The writings disclose layers of motives including frustrated lesbian affairs, lifelong psychological problems, pharmaceutical side effects, an irrational hatred of her father, and the profound influence of cultural and political tropes associated with critical theory.

Hale’s spiral into mass murder appears to have begun, in part, due to unrequited same-sex attraction and the failure of a subsequent lesbian relationship. Hale idolized a former middle- and high-school classmate named Sydney Sims, who died in a 2022 car accident. Although Sims seems never to have returned Hale’s interests, Hale made regular posts about Sims’s death on social media until the shooting. In her journal, she lashes out at her father when he encouraged her to move on. In another journal entry, Hale writes to Sims that “maybe, just maybe you’ll give a kiss to me in heaven. God knows I can’t get it down here.”

Those close to Hale say she began to identify as a transgender male after a girlfriend broke up with her. “She had been openly grieving about that on social media, and during the grieving is when she announced that she wanted to be addressed as a male,” Maria Colomy, a former teacher who instructed Hale at the Nossi College of Art & Design, told The New York Times.

Hale’s father, Ronald Hale, revealed how deeply she accepted the popular-yet-false notion that gender transition is an easy process with few if any drawbacks. In reality, the “gender-transition” process involves a lifetime of cross-sex hormone injections and, frequently, multiple expensive surgeries. In fact, Dr. Shayne Taylor convinced Hale’s hospital to adopt transgender surgeries, because “they require a lot of follow-ups. They require a lot of time, and they make money — they make money for the hospital.” Hale apparently had been misled about the extent of the process.

“She didn’t know what was involved in it,” Mr. Hale told investigators, saying she “had a child-like view” of the issue. “She figured she could, like, go to the hospital and just get it done. … She thought she could have an operation.”

A three-page entry from shortly before the assault, titled “My Imaginary Penis,” discloses how deeply Hale had imbibed extreme gender ideology. “My penis exists in my head,” wrote Hale, illustrating her journal with a crude image. She felt that after a tortured childhood, “I finally found the answer — that changing one’s gender is possible.”

Hale would come to identify herself as her male alter ego, “Aiden.” Those who have seen the journals say her handwriting changes from a flowing female script to a taut, seemingly angry style on entries she signed with her male name.

But the writings show her social, and possibly medical, transition did not improve her mental health. After changing her gender identity, Hale deems herself “the most unhappy boy alive.” She writes that most women are attracted to men — and her self-identity did not change their attraction. “I will be of no use of love for any girl if I don’t have what they need: boy’s body / male gender,” she writes.

“[M]y body doesn’t make me a female,” Hale asserts in one entry. “I wish death on myself cause of the pure hatred of my female gender.”

Hale also appears to have internalized negative tropes about other immutable characteristics, referring to herself as “white nothingness” in a February 10, 2023, journal entry. “I am nothing. Brown love is the most beautiful kind.” (Paradoxically, Hale apparently also saw herself as a tortured elitist. After writing it would be better if she led a normal life with real friends, she consoles herself, “The most brilliant people suffer the most and are the most isolated from everything they love.”)

Hale’s embrace of radical left-wing ideologies harmonizes with a previously released page from Hale’s writings, obtained by conservative activist Steven Crowder, in which Hale rages against her former classmates at Covenant School in terms borrowed from critical race theory: “Wanna kill all you little crackers!!! Bunch of little fa***ts w/ your white privileges.” Hale also believed the nation oppressed transgender-identifying people. “So now in America, it makes one a criminal to have a gun or, be transgender, or non-binary,” Hale writes. “[W]ith no rights, anyone’s country is a s***** dictatorship.”

The writings uncover the shooter’s hopelessness and despair. “Nothing on earth can save me… never ending pain. Religion won’t save,” she claims. Hale regularly ended her entries, “Everything hurts.”

Hale believed by killing young Christian schoolchildren, she could strike out at privileged young people and mystically transcend her physical limitations to become a male desired by dark-skinned girls. “The [cocoon] of my old self will die when I leave my body behind and the boy in me will be free; in the butterfly transformation; the real me,” she forecasts.

“If God won’t give me a boy body in heaven, then Jesus is a f*****,” she curses.

The entries reveal Hale nurtured a deep-seated hatred of her father, expressed in five entries during the brief period covered by her final journal. Hale expresses her desire to kill her dad, claiming at one point that he is mentally ill. “I hate when my dad loves on the cats; not me,” she writes. “He never once loved on me for years, maybe like ever (as a child; maybe).” She then turned to address him directly: “I don’t care if you die. I want to kill you.” In addition to her encyclopedic journals, police recovered a large number of video diaries, in some of which she would mock her father and pretend to injure him literally behind his back.

Hale’s disturbed mind had so turned her father into a scapegoat for her lifetime of suffering that police officers revealed, the morning of the shooting, Hale planned to slash her father’s tires, murder children, then create a distraction to escape the school, and return to murder him.

Audrey Hale also looked down on her mother, whom she wrote “grew up, conservatively” in a world where “LGBTQ — especially transgender — was an enigma, nearly non-existent.” Hale bemoaned the fact that “my mom sees me as a daughter — and she’d not bear to want to lose that daughter because a son would be the death of Audrey.”

Hale apparently transferred the natural affection she owed her parents to her toys and stuffed animals. Hale’s handwritten entries reveal a lifelong fixation with the inanimate objects that bled into the erotic. She seemingly lost herself for hours at a time in her room, using them to enact her sexual fantasies. She came to identify with a male baby doll named Tony, excited to simulate male sexual intercourse with female animals. Through that fantasy, she writes, “I can pretend to be them [and] do the things boys do [and] experience my boy self as Tony.” Eventually, she realized this consumed too many of her waking hours. “I am such a pervert,” she writes. “I waste too much time in my fantasies.”

She apparently got over her familial bitterness in a final farewell note to her family, which she posted on her bedroom wall. She concludes her two-paragraph letter by saying, “I’m sorry, but it is my time to go… I love you, Aiden.” That signature proves Hale identified as a transgender male at the time of the Christian school shooting; the legacy media have universally used her birth name and implied her gender identity was fuzzy.

Sources obtained by those close to the investigation reveal how long Hale planned her shooting. “The shooter had been thinking about various school shooting scenarios since she was in middle school,” reported Nashville talk radio host Brian Wilson, who has uncovered documents related to the shooting. Hale’s writings also indicate a long-running death wish.

“For 5 years I planned to die,” writes Hale in an undated entry apparently written last March. “Now I am finally ready to go.” The diaries indicate that Hale originally scheduled her assault for January 17 but postponed the shooting, because “[i]t was too sudden. I’m unstable. I hope I feel numb in the days coming.” She was also apparently restrained by love of her stuffed animals, writing, “I could not leave my animals. I just couldn’t do it.” Another entry implies she rescheduled the assault for February 17 but believed the school had been closed due to weather conditions.

The writings show she planned to spend her last week on earth going to a game store, playing a video game, taking time to “look at all my toys [and animals],” watching several films including one about cannibalistic mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer, and going to a gun range.

At times, Hale expresses amazement no one had thwarted her murderous designs. In a previously released entry from the day of the assault titled “Death Day,” Hale confesses, “Don’t know how I was able to get this far, but here I am.” She adds, “There were several times I could have been caught, especially back in the summer of 2021.”

Although she does not elaborate on what may have prevented her rampage, police believe one or more psychological counselors may have known she intended to carry out a school shooting but told no one.

Hale received mental health treatment at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) for 22 of her 28 years, enrolling as a psychological patient in 2001 at the age of six. Like one out of every four people who identifies as transgender, Hale had been diagnosed with autism. A 2020 study found people who suffer from gender dysphoria are up to 636% more likely to be autistic than the general population.

“[E]veryone misunderstands autism,” Hale writes, denying she suffered from any further mental illness. “I’m not emo or bi-polar.”

Her mental health may have worsened due to her inability to find or keep a job following her 2022 college graduation. One full journal page details her history of “freelance failure.” Hale claims she called the National Suicide Prevention Helpline five times. Things reached such a crisis at one point that former Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) Lieutenant Garet Davidson says he believes a psychologist forcibly “committed” Hale to VUMC for mental treatment.

Hale had been prescribed Buspirone, Lexapro (or Escitalopram), and Hydroxyzine, a source with knowledge of the investigation told the Star. The combo of Lexapro — a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) — and the anxiety medication Buspirone may increase the pair’s known side effects, which include “mood swings” and “outbursts of anger.”

It is not known if Hale received injections of testosterone, which would also increase aggression, as Hale’s autopsy apparently did not test for the male hormone. Psychologists cannot dispense testosterone in Tennessee but often refer the case to a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. Lt. Davidson told the Tennessee Star that Hale’s psychologist referred her to VUMC, although he did not state that gender identity was the primary reason. He told the publication that VUMC did not, to the best of his knowledge, report Hale’s violent fantasies to law enforcement.

If true, that would violate state law. Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) § 33-3-206 (2021) states that, if a patient communicates “an actual threat of bodily harm against a clearly identified victim,” the counselor must “warn of, or take precautions to protect the identified victim.”

MNPD’s affidavit for a search warrant asks VUMC to tender all records about Hale from April 23, 2001, until Hale’s death. The officer who filed the affidavit, whose name is redacted, wrote that the police force “believes there is a strong possibility that Audrey Hale confided to a Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital Staff member since she has been receiving care there since 2001.” The force subpoenaed all VUMC records on May 13, 2023.

“[S]ources familiar with the investigation confirm that search warrants were run on the home and office of the therapist in an effort to obtain notes of the therapy sessions with the Covenant School shooter,” said Wilson on her June 1 broadcast. The Tennessee Star, which is withholding the name of Hale’s female psychologist, reports that the medical professional is last recorded as licensed with the Tennessee Board of Examiners of Psychology on December 1, 2022, and closed her business three weeks later.

None of her therapists ever felt that they had, like, a duty to warn anybody,” her father, Ronald Hale, told police four months after the shooting.

As of this writing, Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk has not filed any charges publicly against anyone in the psychiatric community over the shooting.

Despite the light the writings shed on the mass murder — and the practice of broadcasting manifestos of racial collectivist terrorists — Hale’s handwritten explanations have been suppressed by law officials from the federal, state, and local level for more than a year.

A memo the Tennessee Star obtained reveals the Biden administration’s FBI encouraged the Metro Nashville police chief to bottle up Hale’s “confusing” writings, claiming they would stoke “conspiracy theories.”

After Crowder released a few pages, the police department vouched for their authenticity — and immediately launched an investigation to punish the leak. Davidson told Wilson that an official MNPD investigation found no wrongdoing by anyone involved — but supervisors reassigned every officer who served on the case, anyway.


Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘There’s a Remedy for Our Nation — and That Remedy Is Not Gun Control’: Congressman

Waves of grief continue to break over Texas, as the tight-knit Allen community comes to grip with the weekend’s senseless shooting. As the names and pictures of Saturday’s victims were released by police, hearts across the country shattered at the news that two families had lost multiple loved ones. A six-year-old boy, orphaned by the death of his parents and brother, is all that remains of the Cho family. Other moms and dads reeled at the horror of losing two elementary-aged daughters as the Mendozas did. After Nashville, Louisville, and so many other devastating tragedies this spring, people are desperate for answers. When will it end — and what can we possibly do to stop it?

Congressman Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), who had a front-row seat for the overwhelming sorrow that followed The Covenant School killings in March told “Washington Watch” guest host Jody Hice that he stepped off the House floor after those murders and said, “This country needs a revival.” As a result, he pointed out, “I was mocked by the national media and across the country — and maybe across the globe, I don’t know. But I still stand by that.”

As usual, Hice said, the Left is “trying to blame the instruments of death.” “So they’re going after the guns. But as Christians,” he pointed out, “we know that evil exists in our world. We know that there’s a remedy for our nation — and that remedy is not going to be found simply in gun control. We’ve got to go to the heart of the issue, which is the heart of mankind — mankind which has turned away from the Lord.”

While Democrats like Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez blame Republicans — “We’re living in a Texas nightmare, and it’s a nightmare that [the GOP] created” — the reality, Hice insists, is that guns have been around “for hundreds of years.” “It’s just now that we’re seeing a change, a surge in violence. So it’s not the guns.”

Burchett agreed. “Well, it’s an easy scapegoat,” he pointed out. “… And it’s an election year coming up, [and] they have a weak candidate [in Joe Biden]. So [gun control is] what they’re going to go for. … [I]t’s symbolism. It’s what sells. And … these murders are just horrible.” But, he went on, “We lose 100 people a day in automobile accidents every 39 minutes. We lose somebody to a drunk driver. Yet nobody’s wanting to take alcohol or cars away from people. And so, to me it’s pretty telling about what’s going on.”

When Americans look at what happened in Brownsville, Texas on Sunday, “a man with murder in his heart [used] his vehicle to attack others,” Hice said. “[But] there are no cries to do away with SUVs, right?”

That’s because, as Bishop Charles Flowers said later, “You cannot legislate righteousness. Policies don’t change the heart of a person,” he insisted on “Washington Watch.” “But policies do set the environment in which either evil or righteousness flourish. And with respect to the right to bear arms, that is the responsibility that you and I have been given — not by men, but by God — to protect that which belongs to us.”

It’s important to remember, Flowers said, “The gun itself has never shot anybody.” It’s in someone’s hands. “And the person who has their hands on that weapon is either more or less likely to use it based on what kind of environment … that is around them.”

“Every lost life, of course, is a sad situation in any case,” he emphasized. “But it’s not the possession of guns that do[es] it. I believe in responsible gun ownership. [But if] you put the guns in the hands of somebody that … [will] aid them in their already twisted behavior, you don’t do that. That doesn’t make good sense. But at the same time, [you also don’t] pull that right and responsibility from everybody else who would rightfully use the weapons.”

As Hice mentioned, this is a “heart” problem, and that heart is molded by several so many factors. “We have this outcry to get rid of guns. Why is there no outcry to restore the family, to restore morality? Why this misguided blame for an issue that they’re trying to address with a Band-Aid rather than get to the heart of it?”

Flowers said the answer, at least from the Democrats’ perspective, is simple. “Gun control is part of a larger agenda, and that agenda is to disarm the citizens so that another power can come in and massively control the citizenship. A broken family assists that agenda, so they can’t tout the strength of a strengthening family, because it is counterproductive to what the end goal is.”

But there is hope, he insists, and it starts with prayer and action. “Pray, he says in Second Chronicles: ‘If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek his face and turn from their wicked ways …’ Turning is a prerequisite,” Flowers pointed out. “… ‘Then will I hear from heaven. I’ll forgive their sins, and I’ll heal their land.’ Secondly, don’t let passivity gulf you up like the vicious monster that it is. We have to begin to act — and act out our morals in the social environment.”


Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

The Claim That ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ Saves Lives Is Falling Apart

Monday’s tragic shooting at The Covenant School, a Presbyterian private school in Nashville, Tennessee, is exposing the sobering reality that what is being marketed to the public as “gender-affirming care” is not doing what we were told it would do­­­­ – alleviate mental health issues and gender confusion.

In the past few years, several mass shootings have been carried out by members of the transgender-identifying community. This is a rather alarming statistic, given that only 0.1% of the population experiences gender dysphoria, according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V-TR. So, what is going on here?

At one time, gender dysphoria was considered a mental disorder, but now, due to the increasing prevalence of a worldview shaped by gender identity ideology, it has morphed into a human rights issue. The ideology borrows from the mental health aspects of gender dysphoria in order to justify medical “intervention.” It claims that the elevated mental health issues in the transgender-identifying community can be pinned on the social discrimination these individuals face. In the simplest terms, the transgender-identifying person’s mental well-being is based on having the right external circumstances, such as being called by the “correct” pronouns, undergoing all the desired plastic surgeries, having access to the opposite sex’s hormones, and having others affirm their internal idea of reality. What could possibly go wrong with that approach to life?

In the aftermath of The Covenant School tragedy, we can be assured that discrimination will be offered up as an excuse for a transgender-identified person carrying out a mass shooting. But if facing discrimination is cause for someone to commit such a heinous act as mass violence, then we ought to adjust how we flag potential perpetrators and offer other mental health interventions to gender-affirming care, such as ones that help people develop stronger internal loci of control rather than be subject to the changing tides of their circumstances.

Advocates of gender-affirming care insist it is both lifesaving and evidence-based health care for those who identify as transgender. But the research used to make such a claim is full of methodological errors and can be easily disputed as a research body that is incomplete. In just one example, it is well known that the trans-identifying community has experienced a high rate of childhood traumas. It is also well-known that trauma victims have high suicide attempt and completion rates. The problem is that the supposed scientific research on the transgender issue doesn’t explain how researchers have differentiated those in the transgender community who are suicidal because of the influence of childhood trauma from those they claim are suicidal because of the lack of affirmation and pharmaceuticals.

Not only are the currently published studies problematic, but there is a lack of ongoing and long-term follow-up reports that address the impact of cross-sex hormones and surgeries. Most of us have seen the commercials in which the lawyer announces a class action suit against a pharmaceutical company for a particular drug’s side effects that were discovered later. Why did the suit come about? It was a result of continual study and monitoring of a particular drug to understand if the harms of taking that medication outweigh the benefits.

In our current climate, there is no sensible monitoring of the psychological effects of minors or adults taking cross-sex hormones or engaged in any aspect of gender-affirming care. We don’t know the long-term psychological effects of social transition (e.g., adopting the opposite sex’s name and pronouns) either. Although we don’t know if the perpetrator of the March 27 shooting was on cross-sex hormones, we do know that she was in counseling and, given the state of the profession, was most likely encouraged to identify as the opposite biological sex.

To address this unscientific and dysfunctional approach to treating gender dysphoria, bills have been proposed across the country to place age requirements on the physiological aspects of gender-affirming care. Although most of these proposals require a person to be 18 years old before they can receive cross-sex hormones or undergo surgical procedures to change their sexual organs, the evidence to support these “interventions” isn’t good for any age.

Unfortunately, the tragedy at The Covenant School proves to be one more big piece of evidence suggesting that gender-affirming care (whether social or physiological) is not doing what it set out to do — treat mental health issues. On the contrary, the evidence shows that those who take these drugs are 19 times more likely to commit suicide. There is also mounting evidence that those who have detransitioned have experienced compounded psychological complications as a result of what they went through under “gender-affirming care.” Now, we face the tragic reality of a transgender-identifying biological female, who, against the normative profile, committed an act of mass murder.

We do not understand the long-term psychological ramifications of the so-called gender-affirming approach to mental health care, but we do have growing evidence that this sort of “affirmation” is not a remedy for mental health problems.

One thing this tragedy has confirmed is that our leaders and legislators should focus on saving lives and invoke a moratorium on these risky, baseless “gender affirming” interventions.


Dr. Jennifer Bauwens

Dr. Jennifer Bauwens is the Director of the Center for Family Studies at Family Research Council.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

National Poll: ‘Gun Violence’ is a Criminal Justice, Not a Public Health, Issue

More than eight out of ten Americans say that the misuse of guns in violent crimes is a matter for the criminal justice system, not a public health issue, and that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) should not spend resources on the study of “gun violence” but instead concentrate on viruses and disease.

These findings are among the results of a national scientific poll of 1055 likely voters conducted live by telephone Sept. 30-Oct. 2. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) commissioned this survey to determine whether adults share the view of some gun control organizations and activists that the use of guns in crime, for which they use the short-hand “gun violence,” is a public health issue.

criminal misuse 2

For a larger view click on the chart.

An overwhelming 84 percent of survey respondents said gun violence is a criminal justice issue, rather than a public health issue, such as viruses. An even higher 88 percent of respondents said they do not think the CDC should spend resources on studying the use of guns in crime rather than on studying viruses and disease.


For a larger view click on the chart.

Some 71 percent of respondents said that the federal government should not classify gun violence as a public health issue in the manner of viruses and diseases.

When asked whether the definition of gun violence should be expanded to include accidents and instances of self-defense, nearly three-quarters of respondents said gun violence is a crime committed using a firearm with the intent to injure another person.

The survey was conducted by Harper Polling. The margin of error is +/-3.02 percent. Respondents self-identified as 38 percent Democrat, 33 percent Republican and 30 percent independent. As to ethnicity, 74 percent of respondents said they were White, 11 percent African-American, 8 percent Hispanic; and 7 percent, other. As to age, 25 percent of respondents said they were 18-39; 27 percent, 40-54; 23 percent 55-65; and 25 percent, 66 or older.

GV publicHealth 2

For a larger view click on the chart.

“As the significant challenges posed by the Ebola epidemic demonstrate, the emphasis of the Centers for Disease Control should remain on the study, prevention and containment of viruses and infectious disease,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “For political reasons, many involved in gun control activism would like to re-define the criminal misuse of guns into a public health issue. We commissioned this survey to help determine where Americans stood on this issue. To put it plainly, they don’t buy it. And given the 20-year reduction in violent crime that the FBI reports, even as the number of firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens has increased, they shouldn’t buy it.”


The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 10,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit www.nssf.org.