Tag Archive for: school shooting

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.


FBI Told Police to Suppress ‘Confusing’ Nashville School Shooter’s Manifesto: Might Stoke ‘Conspiracy Theories’

5 Ways to Be Salt and Light during Pride Month

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.

Top 10 Underreported Stories of 2023

Although the legacy media lift up non-stories every year, they offset the spilled ink by underreporting stories of great national importance. Here are 10 of the most significant stories ignored by the legacy media in 2023.

1. The Nashville Shooter’s Manifesto

On March 27, Audrey Elizabeth Hale entered Nashville’s Covenant School and murdered six innocent people: three nine-year-old children and three adults. Although school shootings have become distressingly commonplace, elements of this atrocity set it apart from other mass shootings: Hale identified as a transgender male named “Aiden,” and her target was a Christian school.

“One day, this will make more sense,” Hale texted her former middle school basketball teammate, Averianna Patton, on the morning of the shooting. “I’ve left plenty of evidence behind.”

Yet the government-media industrial complex has assured that day has not come. The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department has continued to withhold Hale’s manifesto nine months after the shooting — and the legacy media largely ignored leaked pages of Hale’s diary, posted on social media by talk show host Steven Crowder on November 6.

Crowder obtained only three pages of Hale’s diary, but reading Hale’s words, it’s easy to see why the media suppressed them: They shatter the media narrative about mass shooters. “Wanna kill all you little crackers” with “your white privileges,” wrote Hale. “I hope I have a high death count.”

“God let my wrath take over my anxiety,” she mock-prayed.

The New York Times and The Washington Post reported on the leaked diary pages — without quoting a single word of their content. (The Post story quoted the manifesto … of Payton Gendron, a teenage white supremacist who targeted black shoppers in a supermarket in Buffalo in 2022.) NBC News covered the police investigation into the leak, not Hale’s words. When news leaks thwart conservative aims, they’re news; when leaks harm liberal causes, they’re prosecutions. (See Daleiden, David.)

What’s more, the media know the profound pain their silence has caused the people of Nashville. “Spiritually it’s eating me, it’s eating me alive right now right now [sic], because I’m trying to make God help me wrap my mind around what, what is this God?” said Patton shortly after Hale’s rampage. The media could have answered her question and assuaged her existential angst, but they let her suffer for political ends.

2. Studies Show the Dangers of Transgender Surgeries and the LGBTQ Lifestyle

When historians look back, they may say 2023 marked a turning point when the harms of transgender surgeries became public knowledge. Several studies this year revealed the dangers of the LGBT lifestyle.

Perhaps most dramatically, the chair of a transgender surgery department found that people who have transgender surgeries are lonelier and more depressed than those who do nothing — as are trans-identified people who play on sports teams of the opposite sex. “[H]igher loneliness levels were significantly associated with … already having a gender reassignment surgery [and] more than 4 [hours] a week of sports activities,” as “compared to no sports activity,” said a study by Dr. Marco Blessmann, the founding chair of University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf’s plastic surgery department. The German facility carries out such common transgender procedures as “labiaplasty” and “breast augmentation,” as well as “other surgical services,” and has every financial incentive to come to different conclusions, yet its peer-reviewed studies detail the harm its own procedures cause.

A different study found a majority (55%) of women who had vaginoplasty experienced pain, sometimes for years after the procedure, and one in three has difficulty urinating and having sex. The data come from a study of patients who underwent “bottom surgery” from the Postoperative Care Clinic at the Women’s College Hospital (WCH) in Ontario between 2018 and 2020. Media reported the study, sparsely, in January.

Among the unlikely sources contradicting the LGBTQ narrative that all lifestyles are equally healthy, the Biden administration noted the deep ties between identifying as LGBT and mental illness. As this author reported:

“‘Female students, LGBQ+ students, and students who had any same-sex partners were more likely than their peers to experience poor mental health and suicidal thoughts and behaviors,’ said a Biden administration report released in February by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Teenagers who identified as LGBTQ were twice as likely to report ‘poor mental health’ as those who identified as heterosexual, three times as likely to have ‘seriously considered attempting suicide’ or ‘made a suicide plan,’ and 366.6% more likely to have attempted suicide. Not only do they contemplate suicide more frequently, but they are 700% more likely to have injured themselves in a suicide attempt. While only three out of every 100 straight students have been injured in a suicide attempt, the number soars to one out of every seven teens who identifies as LGBTQ.

“‘Nearly 70% of LGBQ+ students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness … and more than 20% of LGBQ+ students attempted suicide,’ said the CDC report.”

3. Who Leaked the Dobbs Decision?

Weeks before the Supreme Court acted to right a legal and historical wrong by overturning Roe v. Wade, something truly unprecedented happened: Someone leaked a draft copy of the decision in the case — Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — to Politico. The activist Left exploded in rage. A year-long campaign of violence targeted pro-life churches and pregnancy resource centers, while an armed man traveled to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home intent on shooting him. The Supreme Court launched an investigation but officially announced in January that it could not determine who leaked the report.

“I personally have a pretty good idea who is responsible, but that’s different from the level of proof that is needed to name somebody,” said Justice Samuel Alito, the author of the Dobbs decision, in April. (The International Business Times has noted many conservatives believe the leaker is Amit Jain, a clerk for Sonia Sotomayor with a history of contacting Politico.) But to their shame, the media — which took pains to identify every individual within miles of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 — did not pursue the story doggedly, because it did not fit their narrative.

Another honorable mention in this category is, “Who brought cocaine to the White House?” Like the leaked Dobbs decision, the identity of the individual who left a bag of cocaine in the West Wing this July remains officially unsolved.

4. Our Open Border Transforms America

Joe Biden has set a number of records; unfortunately, they are all for new national humiliations. Among his worst failures is the open U.S. border with Mexico, where illegal immigration has broken all U.S. records each successive year of the Biden administration. In all, a reported 10 million illegal entries have taken place since Biden took office — and they have radically and deliberately transformed the nation we live in, against the will of the American people.

Thanks to this influx, the United States now has the largest number and percentage of foreign-born residents in American history: 49.5 million people, or 15% of the U.S. population. The illegal population grew so precipitously in part, because the Biden administration has failed to remove 99% of the illegal immigrants released into the United States. Among these illegals is a record number of border-crossers whose names are on the terrorist watchlist. Yet the Biden administration has reduced criminal alien deportations.

The problem has finally reached America’s “sanctuary cities,” as Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) sent busloads of illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Chicago, Los Angles, and the Big Apple. New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) has said the problem will “destroy” his city and implored the Biden administration to send illegal immigrants to every city, town, and village in America. (Which, for all we know, the administration is already doing.) No one knows where the planeloads of illegal immigrants Biden flies around the country are going.

The Left plans to withhold border security until Republicans give in and approve another 1986-style amnesty plan, which will transform the electorate into what SEIU and socialist organizer Eliseo Medina called “a governing coalition for the long-term.” (See my previous writing on the topic — which includes Democrats discussing their plans to win by relying on voting demographics as far back as 2002 — in this article.) If the corporate GOP rewards the Democrats’ lawless behavior, it will assure America’s permanent transformation.

5. The LGBT Agenda Is Losing Support

Although the legacy media give the LGBTQ political agenda uniformly positive coverage and focus on the group far out of proportion to that demographic’s share of the population, this year they omitted several salient stories: Multiple polls found the LGBTQ cause has lost political support in 2023, even among its most supportive generation.

Among Americans born since 1997, known as Gen Z, support for same-sex marriage fell by a whopping 11 percentage points since 2021, according to a study released in November by AEI’s Survey Center on American Life. Broadly, the percentage of Americans who believe same-sexual relationships are “morally acceptable” fell by 7% this year, the largest decrease of any of the moral issues posed by Gallup pollsters in their annual Values and Beliefs poll, released in June. Most Americans do not see “a married gay or lesbian couple raising children together” as “completely acceptable” (47% do), and even fewer believe an unmarried same-sex couple should raise a child (41%), the Pew Research Center found in September.

Even the Biden administration’s U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) admitted people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual are far more likely to suffer from major depression, abuse illegal drugs, and are up to six times as likely to attempt suicide. Transgender ideology also lost support, with a 55% majority of Americans saying “changing one’s gender” is morally wrong, according to a Gallup poll in June — a 4% increase in two years. Transgender extremism was one of the major issues that brought down the leader of Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, in February.

These results may seem counterintuitive, since Americans said to identify as LGBTQ more than ever, according to the same polling firms. It could be polling agencies, which are masters at manipulating results, wish to create a sense of complacency in the midst of a social revolution. Or something more ominous may be occurring: Americans may be moving in both directions at the same time. It could be that more young people are caving to social pressure to identify as LGBTQ, while older people (and members of Gen Z who do not buy in to the latest trends) resist the bandwagon effect, which they see will harm themselves and their loved ones.

6. Biden Family Corruption

Even as much as conservative media reported the ever-growing evidence that Joe Biden and his family prospered from deals intended to influence The Big Guy, the broader media have presented the story as a vengeful, political witch hunt waged without evidence. Yet the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability’s wealth of evidence has earned a dearth of coverage, often being falsely presented as “debunked” and “refuted.”

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) has noted that Biden made Ukraine’s firing of prosecutor Viktor Shokin a U.S. priority only after receiving a pay-off. Even the first U.S. hostage released by Hamas had a relative who bought Hunter Biden’s artwork. Biden seems to have used the resources of the U.S. government to further an influence-peddling scheme. As Barack Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden sent thousands of pseudonymous emails under such names as Robert Peters, including informing Hunter Biden about news regarding nations his son was doing business with.

Like Hunter, Joe’s brother Frank Biden also interrupted calls with VIPs to take calls from then-Vice President Joe Biden, referring to the veep as “The Big Guy.” Frank Biden exploited his surname to take a position promoting Mavericks In Education, a charter school chain intended to cater to at-risk students, but which was accused of lying about membership to increase taxpayer funding. He reportedly did this again while taking a job at Berman Law Firm. James Biden has reportedly traded on his brother’s name since the 1970s to gain everything from a night club to foreign deals to legally dubious schemes involving health care companies treating cancer patients. (Note: Many of these stories were originally reported by the legacy media … during the 2020 Democratic primaries. After clinching the nomination, the Biden stories seemed to dry up.) Biden family corruption allegations have led the House to an impeachment inquiry. (For an hour-long discussion of the proof in the Biden family’s scandals, listen to this episode of the “Outstanding” podcast.)

7. The Biden Administration Tells Title X Recipients to Talk to Minors about Sex Behind Their Parents’ Backs

Biden doesn’t simply seek to corrupt his own family; his administration would like to corrupt yours, as well. Taxpayer-funded guidelines encourage Title X providers — those who dole out contraception to those who ask at taxpayer expense — to talk about sex with minors behind their parents’ back, even describing ways to get their parents out of the room. As The Washington Stand reported exclusively:

“Federally-funded guidelines instruct adults to pause before discussing sex with minors and to ask, ‘Are you alone in the room?’ These instructions specify tactics to follow ‘if you’re really having a hard time getting a parent’ to leave the room during the sex talk. They suggest children as young as 13 discuss sex with groups like Planned Parenthood in a parked car or communicate in writing, so their parents cannot hear the adults’ side of the conversation. And they encourage offices to have vans roam neighborhoods giving minors federally funded contraceptives; to mail birth control to adolescents in ‘plain, unmarked packaging’; and/or to have teenagers receive contraceptives at public meet-up places.”

Protecting children against the mental and physical harms of early sexual initiation is hard enough for parents without their government undermining parents’ authority — and forcing them to pay for it.

8. Churchgoers and Married People are Happier

Despite an endless barrage of negative media about the drudgeries of married life and the pointlessness of faith, multiple studies this year verified the benefits of both. Americans who believe in God and value marriage are more likely to be “very happy” than non-believers and single people, according to a Wall Street Journal-NORC poll taken in March. Practicing Christians who regularly read the Bible report a higher score on the Human Flourishing Index — which measures “happiness & life satisfaction,” “mental & physical health,” “meaning & purpose,” “character & virtue,” “close societal relationships” and “financial & material stability.”

Active Christians score 7.8, compared to 6.9 for inactive Christians and 6.7 for religious unaffiliated, according to an American Bible Society report released this June. The biggest difference between active Christians and non-Christians came in “meaning & purpose.” (They’re also far more likely to vote Republican.) The aforementioned AEI study also found that “Overall, religious Americans tend to believe their life is meaningful more often than do those who are not religious.” Evangelical Christians are 33% more likely than unbelievers to say their actions matter in the grand scheme of things.

Even the Biden administration issued a warning this year saying Americans’ health may be undermined by not attending church. A report from Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, which was released in May, says loneliness harms physical health “even greater than [the risk] associated with obesity and physical inactivity” and is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“Religious or faith-based groups can be a source for regular social contact, serve as a community of support, provide meaning and purpose, create a sense of belonging around shared values and beliefs, and are associated with reduced risk-taking behaviors,” Murthy writes. “As a consequence of this decline in participation, individuals’ health may be undermined.”

When a Balaam like Biden blesses church attendance, Christians should listen.

9. COVID-19 Lockdowns Are Still Hurting America

Locking down the entire population over a virus with a near-100% survival rate may prove to be the most misguided decision in 21st century domestic policy — an arena with stiff competitors. To this day, Americans of all ages continue to pay the price for this policy error, chief among them children.

An analysis from the Associated Press found 50,000 children remain missing from school two years after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic (which the World Health Organization only declared ended on May 5). An incredible 35% of children in kindergarten through second grade fell “below benchmark” in reading (placing them at “high risk for persistent reading difficulties”) in Fall 2021, according to a University of Virginia analysis. These gaps will impact their development as human beings, stifling their cognitive faculties, limiting their lifetime income and fulfillment, and capping their ability to make a difference for Christ and the church.

U.S. taxpayers also literally paid the price for the bipartisan consensus to roll out $5 trillion in COVID emergency relief. The Justice Department announced this summer it had arrested nearly 3,200 people for defrauding U.S. COVID relief funds; at the time, it was investigating $8.6 billion in fraud. The nation’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, received $90.41 billion in COVID relief, although the CARES Act seemed to be written to exclude it; indeed, taxpayer funds continued to trickle down to abortionists this year.

In reality, we have no idea how much fraud was committed in the name of COVID-19 relief — and we won’t for at least a century. Small Business Administration Inspector General Hannibal “Mike” Ware said his COVID fraud hotline got an immense number of tips about COVID fraud, “more than 90,000 have been identified as actionable leads, which amount to more than 100 years of investigative case work.” Funding those investigations alone will cost American taxpayers for years to come.

10. Huge Increase in Homeschooling, Stay-at-home Moms

According to The Washington Post, homeschooling has become the “fastest-growing form of education” in the United States. The United States has seen a 51% increase in homeschooling in five years — between the 2017-2018 school year and this school year. With school strikes, lower educational standards, and teachers hiding children’s transgenderism and teaching Woke curricula (repeating the lies of the 1619 Project and stocking school libraries with gay pornographic books), it’s easy to see why.

At the same time, the number of stay-at-home mothers has increased, according to two studies released this year. The number of stay-at-home moms skyrocketed from 15% in 2022 to 25% in 2023, according to Motherly’s Annual State of Motherhood survey. The Pew Research Center said 26% of mothers worked exclusively in the home in 2022, up from a low of 23% two decades ago.

The children raised by mothers who care enough to sacrifice their career advancement for their children’s development and education may just offset the kids neglected by the public school system since COVID-19 (at the latest). They will be our nation’s greatest hope, and the source of our nation’s good news stories, for years to come.

The legacy media have not given these stories the exposure they deserve but, Lord willing, The Washington Stand’s coverage of newsworthy stories in the pivotal election year of 2024 will prove out-Stand-ing.


Ben Johnson

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


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 Police Chief Confirms Authenticity Of Leaked Shooter Manifesto Pages, Launches Investigation

Nashville Chief of Police John Drake confirmed the authenticity of the leaked pages of the Covenant Christian School shooter’s manifesto and announced an investigation into the “unauthorized release” of the documents.

Conservative political commentator Steven Crowder released three pages of the manifesto written by Audrey Hale, the now-deceased individual who shot and killed six people inside the Christian school in March. An official with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) fatally shot Hale on the second floor during an open fire.

Drake condemned the “unauthorized release” of the pages and vowed to “identify the person responsible” for the leak.

“I am greatly disturbed by today’s unauthorized release of three pages of writings from the Covenant shooter,” Drake said in a Monday statement. “This police department is extremely serious about the investigation to identify the person responsible. This action showed a total disregard for Covenant families, as well as the court system, which has control of the shooter’s journals at the present time due to litigation filed earlier this year.”

“It is now pending in Davidson County Chancery Court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals. We are not at liberty to release the journals until the courts rule. Our police department looks forward to the ultimate resolution of the litigation concerning the journals,” Drake said.

Crowder posted the three images to Twitter and read the words on his show, “Louder with Crowder,” early Monday. The first page, titled “DEATH DAY,” details Hales’ plan to open fire inside the school and create a “high death count.” On the next page, the shooter wrote, “Kill those kids!” and wrote about her plan to specifically kill the white children.

“Kill those kids! Those crackers,” an image of the page posted by Crowder reads. “Going to private fancy schools with those fancy kwackis + sports backpacks with their daddies mustangs + convertibles. Fuck you little shits. I wish to shoot you[r] weak ass dicks w/your mop yellow hair, wanna kill all you little crackers!!! Bunch of little faggots w/your white privileges fuck you faggots.”

The next page shows a schedule of the day leading up to the shooting, listing 12:33 p.m. as the time to “open fire” and then “die” soon after, according to a photograph posted by Crowder.

The MNPD initially told the Daily Caller and other outlets that it was unknown whether the pages were authentic or not, and were “aware” of a possible leak. The department said the images were not “crime scene images” in a Monday statement.

An attorney representing Hale’s parents said he was “not in a position” to confirm or deny the pages’ authenticity.

“We have never seen a manifesto at any time. We’re not in a position to authenticate these pieces of paper. We have absolutely not released anything, but we certainly did not release this,” David Raybin told WSMV4, an NBC local affiliate. “It’s inappropriate for me to make any further comment about it.”

Shortly after the shooting, authorities said Hale wrote a manifesto before carrying out the attack. The documents had not been publicly released since it is under ongoing investigation by the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), a Nashville city council member told the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) in late March. The city council member assured the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) that the manifesto would eventually be released to the public.



Media reporter. Follow Nicole Silverio on Twitter @NicoleMSilverio.

RELATED ARTICLE: Nashville School Shooter Identified As Transgender Artist

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

‘We’re Not a Soft Target’: Ohio School Superintendent Arms Teachers

As violence continues to surge amongst America’s youth and both politicians and civilians hotly debate gun control, an Ohio school superintendent has decided to start arming his teachers.

John Scheu, superintendent of the Benjamin Logan Local School District, has trained and armed nearly 20 faculty and staff members in his district in order to respond to active shooter incidents and protect students. Scheu had implemented a similar program in the nearby Sidney City Schools district 10 years ago. In a recent interview, he explained why he decided to arm teachers, even though he says he’s “not a gun person.”

According to Scheu, the idea originated in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Scheu worked closely with his county sheriff to bolster campus security across the district, upgrading security cameras and reinforcing doors and locks. “But the Sandy Hook situation showed us that we can have the most secure buildings in the country,” he said, “and if an active shooter wants to come in and do that kind of carnage to students, they can, so that’s when we sat down and came up with the plan that had an armed presence trained by the sheriff’s department.” Scheu explained that school board members were told by the sheriff that it could take up to 15 minutes before a deputy was able to arrive on the scene in the event of a shooting, and agreed that “time is of paramount importance” and greenlit the formation of armed response teams.

“The policy we came up with is one to train volunteers — secretaries, custodians, teachers’ aides, principals — to either conceal carry or have an assigned firearm that’s securely stored and available to them in the event of an active shooter,” Scheu explained. “They go through intense training and are the first line of defense if there’s a shooter. They don’t help the police once they arrive — they’re instructed to put the threat out as soon as possible and retreat as soon as law enforcement identifies themselves.”

Scheu also noted that, while teachers have had mixed reactions to the programs, parents have almost unanimously supported it. He said that “the parents overwhelmingly have supported the armed response team, so we feel pretty confident that the community in general is supportive of having a trained and qualified armed response team to back up our school resource officers and the police.”

Many teachers, according to Scheu, expressed concern over the program, insisting they’re trained to educate children, not to serve as law enforcement. The superintendent responded, “I understand that, but what I go back to is no one is being forced to do this, and every one of these people are very, very committed to protecting their fellow teachers and students in the unlikely event of an active shooter.”

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council commented to The Washington Stand, “School children should enjoy the same level of protection we require for our most precious assets. As a country we have watched the disappointing responses to active shooter situations in Parkland, Florida, and Uvalde, Texas in contrast to the heroic response of the police in the Nashville, Tennessee, massacre. Allowing willing and trained teachers and staff to serve on an armed response team is a reasonable and praiseworthy endeavor.”

Although Scheu admitted that the chances of a school shooting occurring are relatively low, he added that having trained, armed adults on campuses acts as a deterrent. Schools in his district now have signs warning that active shooters will be met by an armed response team. He explained, “By putting up signs telling people, it’s not that we’re bragging. It’s just a matter of telling people we’re not a soft target. Do not pick us to do your carnage.”

Kilgannon agreed. “The ‘school shooter’ is a result of the breakdown of the family and the rejection of God,” she told TWS. “The disturbed coward who would attack school children is looking for a ‘soft target,’ making ‘gun free zones’ in schools very attractive. Armed response teams will be a deterrent, and if worst comes to worst, they can respond immediately to an attack. Parents want their children to learn safely in excellent schools.”

Armed response teams on school campuses are growing in popularity across the U.S. For example, the Mad River school district, also in Ohio, is reinstating a once-active armed response team, and several school districts in Indiana are in the process of training teachers to participate in armed response teams in the near future.

State legislators are also funding the effort, at least in part. As of June, there are 33 states that legally permit teachers to carry firearms on campus and in the classroom. The armed response team program in Ohio’s Benjamin Logan Local School District went into effect at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year.


S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.

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

Serbian Seventh Grader Kills 8 Classmates And Guard In Targeted School Shooting

A 13-year-old boy opened fire at his school in Serbia on Wednesday, killing a security guard and eight classmates and wounding six other students and a teacher, officials say.

Kosta Kecmanovic, a seventh-grade student at Vladislav Ribnikar School, was arrested following a deadly attack police say was meticulously planned, complete with a list of victims the suspect intended to target, The Associated Press reported. Kecmanovic allegedly began his shooting spree by first killing the guard at the Belgrade school and then opening fire in a classroom located near the school entrance, the outlet stated.

Milan Milosevic, whose daughter was in a history class during the shooting, told local reporters she witnessed Kecmanovic firing at the teacher first before the children ducked under their desks, AP reported. Many students reportedly fled the scene by escaping through a back door, officials told the outlet.

After his deadly assault, the suspect reportedly called law enforcement authorities himself before being taken into custody on the school grounds, according to AP.

A classmate of Kecmanovic’s, identified only as Evgenija, told Reuters she would have never suspected the quiet teen was capable of carrying out such a deadly assault. “He was somehow silent, and appeared nice and had good grades. Did not know much about him, he was not that open to everyone. I would never expect that this could happen,” she said, per the outlet.

“I heard noises and I thought some boys, some kids were throwing firecrackers, just for the fun of it, but then I heard that even closer and … then I saw the security guard falling to the ground,” she added, telling the outlet as soon as she realized what was happening, she ran away.

The gun Kecmanovic allegedly used in the attack was licensed to his father. Kecmanovic reportedly knew the code to the gun safe and was able to access the weapon, Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic told AP, adding that the boy’s father had also been arrested.

Serbian Education Minister Branko Ruzic has called for three days of national mourning beginning on Friday, Reuters reported.





‘Our Schools Will No Longer Be Soft Targets’: Ohio School District Reportedly Allowing Teachers To Arm Themselves

‘Please Don’t Punish Him’: Mother Of Louisville Shooter Called 9-1-1 As Mayhem Unfolded At Bank

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

3 Questions to Shape a Biblical Perspective on the Nashville Shooting

On Sunday, March 26, Reverend Chad Scruggs faithfully preached God’s Word from John 12:36-50 to Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, extolling 1) God’s plan in the Jews’ rejection of Jesus and 2) Jesus’s subsequent glory. On Monday, March 27, his nine-year-old daughter Hallie was one of six people shot dead at the church’s Christian school by a 28-year-old former student.

The shooter carried out a horrific act of evil. Sudden, devastating loss is hard to process at any time. But, under such circumstances, it can cause us to doubt the goodness of God or provoke us to respond in sinful anger. Thinking through three questions can help us to shape a more biblical perspective on tragedies like the Nashville shooting.

1. Why did it happen?

The Bible teaches that all evil and suffering in the world is a consequence of mankind’s sin. When God created the world, he declared all that he had made “very good” (Genesis 1:31). But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, he cursed creation and drove them out of the garden (Genesis 3); when mankind commits evil, God justly dispenses suffering as a consequence. Mankind quickly multiplied their sin, even committing (Genesis 4:8) and then boasting about (Genesis 4:23) murder. This general truth is foundational to a biblical understanding of suffering.

However, it does not follow that every bit of suffering in the world can be directly tied to a particular sin. The Bible supplies different categories, with numerous examples for each. People can suffer because of their own sins, because of the sins of others, or because of no discernable sin at all.

This often means that we suffer, or know others who suffer, without being able to identify a reason. Even if we can identify a proximate or instrumental reason — such as a school shooter — we often don’t understand why God allows the suffering, or why a trial afflicts a particular person.

Unexplained suffering is a thread that runs throughout the Bible. Joseph was sold into slavery (Genesis 37:28) and thrown into prison (Genesis 39:20) for no discernable reason. Only later, after his imprisonment led to his preventing a seven-year famine and saving his family from starvation, did Joseph clearly see God’s purpose behind his suffering (Genesis 45:5-8). The man born blind (John 9:1) lived to adulthood without receiving an explanation for his lack of sight. Jesus said the reason for his blindness was not any particular sin, but “that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). His years of unexplained blindness led to his believing in Jesus unto eternal life (John 9:38). We read that the reason for Job’s suffering was that God was holding him up to Satan as an example of righteousness (Job 1:8). But, as far as we know, even after God restored Job to health and prosperity, he never told Job the reason for his suffering. David complained, “More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause” (Psalm 69:4). Even as a prophet, he could hardly comprehend how his words looked forward to his greater son, Jesus Christ (John 15:25).

The Bible teaches that God is working out his good purposes even amid seemingly senseless suffering. We have God’s promise that “for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). Paul lists some of the things he had in mind, “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” (Romans 8:34). God even turns the evil purposes of man to the ultimate good of his people. Joseph told his treacherous brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive” (Genesis 50:20). Peter reminded his readers that their trials were “now” — not later — “for a little while” — not forever — and “if necessary” — not pointless (1 Peter 1:6).

2. What should I think about this?

The Bible teaches that God will only give his children trials that are necessary for them. At the same time, it teaches that they will face trials. “In the world you will have tribulation,” said Jesus, “but take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The conclusion to draw from these two teachings is that sufferings and trials are necessary for us.

One purpose of the trials we face is “so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). Like pure gold, pure faith is tested and proven genuine in the fire of affliction. Job’s trials revealed his faith, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25).

Another purpose of our trials is our sanctification. Trials produce steadfastness, making us “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4). Our sufferings produce endurance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3-4). Our humiliation conforms us to the pattern of Christ Jesus who, “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).

One particular trial Christians should expect is persecution. We don’t know yet whether the Nashville shooter targeted the school because of its Christian beliefs; if she did, it would be entirely consistent with the Bible’s teaching. We do know that terrorists in Nigeria killed 27 Christians in two attacks this month because of their beliefs. “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you,” Jesus told his disciples the night before is persecutors put him to death (John 15:20).

Remember, too, that other word of Jesus, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).

3. How should we respond?

Christianity is no abstract religion; its doctrines resolve into action. So, given the truths about sin, suffering, and trials presented above, how should Christians respond in action?

For starters, we should “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). The communities of Covenant Presbyterian Church and The Covenant School must be devastated right now. It’s appropriate to feel compassion for them, mourn with them, and take time just to bear that grief. By the way, that includes the shooter’s mother, who made the financial sacrifice to enroll her daughter in the Christian school and presumably earnestly desired her salvation.

At the same time, let’s be careful how we respond to the perpetrator. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them,” said Paul in the same place (Romans 12:14). It can be tempting to let our minds run to angry, evil thoughts, or at least to let our mouths run to name-calling or condemnations of a whole class. But those aren’t Christlike responses. “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

That raises another way in which we should take Jesus for our model: trusting God. “Let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1 Peter 4:19). This means continuing to worship God, adore his character, and look to his providential care even when he fills our days with bitter sorrow. It means continuing to believe that God “exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

This trust in God entails an acknowledgment that God can order all things as he pleases. “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him” (Ecclesiastes 7:14). Or, as Job put it, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). Such a response is neither easy nor natural. It’s only possible if we are more convinced of the reality and worth of God’s character and promises than in our own circumstances. But it’s the type of supernatural response that God-given trials are designed to reveal in us to his glory.

Finally, when suffering touches us, we should endure obediently. “If when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God,” wrote Peter (1 Peter 2:20). Scripture gives several practical reasons to encourage us in obedient endurance.

First, humility is the path to honor. “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted,” Jesus repeated (Luke 14:11, 18:14). “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6).

Second, all our striving against God’s mighty hand can accomplish nothing. “Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked?” (Ecclesiastes 7:13). In his book, “The Crook in the Lot,” Puritan pastor Thomas Boston explained that, instead of squirming and striving against the trial, a wiser approach is to consider what work God is doing through the trial. If the infinitely wise God has appointed this trial for you, and nothing you can do can make the trial go away until God takes it away, then the way to make the best of your circumstances is to consider what God is doing and submit yourself to his plan.

Third, God uses trials to sanctify us. The preacher said, “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit” (Ecclesiastes 7:8). The proud in spirit has yet to be humbled by God, and God will most certainly bring him down. But the patient in spirit can say with Paul, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound” (Philippians 4:11-12).

These biblical doctrines and instructions for holy living are difficult to accept — even more so when intense suffering besets us. But often, times of suffering are what God uses to change our hearts so that we can accept them.

The goal in trials should be to acknowledge God’s eternal plan and Christ’s eternal glory, as Reverend Scruggs preached on Sunday.

What is God doing through this Nashville shooting? Perhaps he intends to grow that church’s understanding of the truths preached to them just before this horrific tragedy. Perhaps he intends to display his glory through the supernatural responses of Christians struggling through unimaginable bitterness and sorrow. Perhaps he intends to confuse his enemies and advance his kingdom by converting the souls wandering furthest from him.

God has many good purposes in every good and bad thing that happens. Some we know. Some we can reason towards, based upon what we find in Scripture. Some we will learn about someday. But some purposes of the infinite, eternal Creator we will never know.

Of one thing we can be certain: all of our suffering will one day dissolve into insignificance when God himself will dwell with his people and “wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4). No stranger to suffering, the apostle Paul reasoned, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).


Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.

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

RELATED ARTICLE: Shock Poll: Americans’ Respect for Faith, Patriotism, and Family Plunges

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.

Confront Evil, Protect the Vulnerable

There were signs of spring everywhere — in the bright morning sun, the pink flowers lining trees beside the parking lot, the signs for Easter services. As a small gray car rounded the bend, security cameras caught little children pumping their legs on swing sets in the background — the last carefree moment any of them will remember about this day. As they have in too many cities, Nashville’s moms and dads went about their days, not realizing they’d said goodbye for the last time.

For the seven families whose lives changed forever Monday morning, there is no making sense of the heartbreak. But for one set of parents, it’s a unique kind of pain — knowing their daughter is the one responsible. Norma Hale, whose Facebook page is full of proud mom moments, woke up Tuesday with the knowledge that her 28-year-old child’s last words to a friend were “I don’t want to live.” Moments later, Audrey Hale shot through the double glass doors she’d walked through hundreds of times as a Covenant school student, ready to kill.

Miles away, a stunned Averianna Patton sat holding her phone, rereading the text that something bad was about to happen. “Audrey!” she had frantically written back. “You have so much more life to live. I pray God keeps and covers you.”

But it was too late. Hale was walking the hallways of her old Christian school, gunning down anyone in her path. A beloved custodian. The revered head of the school. A favorite substitute teacher. The senior pastor’s only daughter. A nine-year-old boy and girl. In a split second, the buzz of classrooms gave way to sirens and school alarms.

Outside, officers grabbed rifles — listening to reports that some kids were unaccounted for. “Let’s go!” Officers Rex Engelbert is heard yelling to his men, who all take off running toward the gunfire. Unlike Uvalde, where police were paralyzed by indecision, Nashville’s team charged into the school and up the stairs, seeing Hale spraying bullets on the police cars below. Twenty-five seconds later, Officers Engelbert and Michael Callazo fired the shots that took her down — an act of pure and selfless heroism.

No one knows how many others might have died without these men sprinting into the face of evil. “The first call to 911 about shots being fired in the building came in at 10:13 a.m.,” Nashville Police Chief John Drake said. They saved lives. “Let us praise our first responders,” Mayor John Cooper urged. “Fourteen minutes,” Cooper said, referring to the time it took police to get to the scene and stop the shooter. “Fourteen minutes, under fire, running to gunfire.”

In the chaos that followed, children raced down the sidewalks in their school uniforms, holding hands with teachers. From every direction, panicked adults started to arrive, wondering if their child was one of the dead.

Inside, police tried to get a grasp on the casualties. Hale had “a significant amount” of ammunition, they discovered. And a manifesto. “There’s some belief that there was some resentment for having to go to that school,” Drake explained, as outlets started to pick up on the explosive news that Audrey identified as Aiden.

Immediately, the Left turned loose its attack dogs, savaging Drake and the media for “misgendering” the shooter that everyone had rightly described as a woman. Within hours, both USA Today and The New York Times apologized for calling Audrey a “female,” ultimately editing stories and headlines to appease the unappeasable mob who have fostered hostility for those who refuse to yield to their dangerous and destructive charade.

Hours later, the blame game began in earnest. None of this would have happened, activists said, if society were more accepting of the trans ideology, if Audrey’s parents had just been more open to her male identity, if states had just stopped banning drag shows and kids’ gender transitions.

One NBC reporter even went so far as to lay responsibility at the feet of conservatives for fighting to protect children from the transgender ideology that so obviously haunted Hale. “The GOP have decided that guns are more important than kids,” actor Josh Gad argued. “They have decided it is okay to let kids die.” If she was a victim of anything, others claimed, it was “intolerant … brainwashing” and “religious indoctrination.” Then came the ridicule. “Is it possible they weren’t praying enough?” talk show host David Pakman mocked the school. “If prayers alone worked there wouldn’t have been a mass shooting at a school where they pray…” one gun control activist scoffed.

Make no mistake. A storm is brewing in this country that screams, “Christianity is the problem!” The calls will come — if they haven’t already — for the faithful to step back from cultural engagement, to acquiesce on biblical truth where the battle is raging the fiercest: for our children. It’s the same argument the Left has been using on the parents of confused kids — give in or they’ll hurt themselves. To the church it will be: back off or they’ll hurt others.

The inclination will be to move away from biblical truth, the very source of hope and freedom that confused and troubled souls like Audrey need. But that’s not the way forward in a nation broken and bleeding. As much as the other side would like to manage the chaos by indulging these delusions and passing meaningless legislation, the problem isn’t the state of our laws; it’s the condition of the heart.

These tragedies, whether they’re in Nashville or Newtown, are the bitter fruit of a deception that’s destroying us. It’s time to address these lies with urgency, acknowledging that we are a broken people in need of the God that we keep pushing away. It is our moment to do what the brave officers in Nashville did: confront and engage the crisis. These aren’t men who sat on the sidelines, letting the shooter take aim at more children. They rushed straight into the face of danger and protected the weak. As Christians, we’re called to do the same: confront evil and protect the vulnerable so they may know Jesus.

That’s not easy in a society as hostile to truth as ours. But we do not honor the memories of Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, Williams Kinney, Mike Hill, Cynthia Peak, and Katherine Koonce by abandoning the faith they died living. A spiritual battle is raging for this generation, and we will not win it with silence. We’ve been called, as Ezekiel was called, to speak the word of God in dark days — no matter the cost. “Be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words … [Y]ou shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house” (2:6a,7).

For now, we are a nation swimming in grief. But consider the timing of this tragedy, so near Easter. In this season of empty tombs, we cling to the only hope capable of holding the hurting together. “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet he shall live” (John 11:25). To those families suffering under the weight of unspeakable loss, we rejoice with them that Jesus’s death was not the end of His story — and it will not be the end of theirs either.


Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Council and executive editor of 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.

Nashville School Shooter Identified As ‘Transgender Artist’

The Nashville school shooter who killed three children and three adults before being fatally shot by police has been identified as a 28-year-old female who identifies as transgender and uses “he/him” pronouns.

Authorities confirmed that 28-year-old Audrey Hale is the deceased suspect in the shooting that occurred at a Christian elementary school, at which Hale was previously a student.

“She does identify as transgender,” Nashville Police confirmed.

LinkedIn page that appears to belong to Hale indicates that identifies as a “he/him” and received an award in 2015 from the Nossi College of Art for achieving “greatness in the classroom.”

A page from Nossi College of Art and Design previously listed Hale as a student on the spring 2016 dean’s list, but the website seemingly has been updated to remove her name. The Daily Caller reached out to Nossi College of Art and Design and asked why Hale has suddenly been wiped from the website.

Megan Marie Barnes, a student who attended Nossi with Hale, told the Caller that Hale was “incredible talented” and now uses the name Aiden. A now-defunct Instagram account that appears to belong to Hale included that name in the handle, as did an account on the art marketplace website RedBubble.

The Instagram page, which was linked to Hale’s website, includes two dark images, with one showing three individuals with heavy face painting against a black background.

Hale’s website included a short bio in which Hale said “there is a child-like part about me that loves to go run to the playground.”



News and commentary writer. Follow Brianna on Twitter.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.