Delusion & Descent: Post Mortem of the Nashville Christian School Murders
Once again, the ricochet of gunshots echo around the world following yet another American school shooting. On Tuesday, 30 March 2023, 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale opened gunfire at Covenant, a private Christian school in Nashville, around 10am. It is understood that Hale is a former pupil. Three adults and three children were murdered by Hale, who was then shot dead by police at the scene. According to police, Hale had an 'emotional disorder'. The attack was apparently well-planned with Hale purchasing 5 guns in preparation. According to a manifesto, Hale had other targets including relatives and a shopping mall.
A whirlwind of discussion has since surrounded the fact that Hale identified as transgender and was sent by parents Ronald and Norma to the school, which holds values in keeping with biblical teachings on sexuality. For many, the focus has not been on the murder victims or their families who face a lifetime of mourning, including Hale's parents. There are those who actually sympathise with Hale, most notably demonstrated by the Trans Resistance Network with a statement that 'hate has consequences'; by 'hate' they're presumably referring to the school and the parents' Christian beliefs which fundamentally oppose gender ideology.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom affords all humans in the USA the right to freedom of thought, belief and religion. The same rights are afforded to individuals in the UK by the The Human Rights Act 1998. These are standard features of a democratic society. Whether or not you agree with religious ideology, the democratic freedom that allows religion is the same democracy that permits you to enjoy your own rights to thought and belief. To want this right withheld from individuals or groups whose ideologies you disagree with automatically takes us all dangerously into undemocratic territory.
Whether anyone agrees with the tenants of Christianity or not, Hale's parents have the right to enjoy, practice and express their religious beliefs. They were perfectly within their rights to raise Hale in accordance with these beliefs because that's what ALL parents do. We raise our children in accordance with our personalities, world view, value systems, and cultural traditions. Where we should all draw the line in parenting, no matter our beliefs, are at criminal acts which endanger children mentally, emotionally or physically. As such, it is remarkable that some sections of society reserve their rage for Christian parents while happily taking their children to sexualised drag shows, like one that took place in Dallas with a wall emblazoned in neon signage stating, 'It's not gonna lick itself.' I believe the legal term for this in America is corruption of a minor. But apparently, kids don't need protection if they're corrupted in the name of 'diversity'.
Here is the problem with blaming Christianity for Hale's murders and subsequent death: Christians aren't the only people who do not accept the mainstream narrative of gender ideology. Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine is a group of over 100 international clinicians and researchers who are concerned about hormonal and surgical treatments as a first line of therapy for young people with gender dysphoria. There are feminists, such as Posie Parker, a British woman fighting against the redefinition of womanhood and the erosion of female safe spaces. Parker is joined by JK Rowling who has led a one-woman campaign for the same reasons. In addition, there are over 1,000 NHS professionals who have petitioned the NHS for the reinstatement of the word 'woman' in their written materials, the erasure of which they deem 'disrespectful'. And then there is the ignored but exponentially growing population of detransitioners, who have returned to their biological sex and are speaking out about permanent physical, mental and emotional damage caused to them by 'gender-affirming' approaches. They are also speaking about bullying and rejection from the trans community, who simultaneously demand acceptance from all. If this wasn't so horrifying, the irony would be laughable.
Based on the above it is clearly not a solely Christian belief that biological sex is inextricably connected to gender. This has been an accepted scientific and social truth that has formed the basis of our understanding of ourselves and society for centuries. You have to be incredibly arrogant and self-indulgent to outright dismiss this fact, and everyone who holds to it, as 'phobic'. Alternatively, to focus your ire on Christians is no more than religious hatred in the guise of 'fighting for trans rights'. I'm reminded of this guy a long time ago who targeted a religious group, blamed them for all his problems and then exterminated them. His name was Hitler.
The Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010 afford me as a black woman legal rights to live freely in UK society without discrimination, i.e., unfair treatment. If I become aware that discrimination is blocking me from accessing any aspect of society to which I am legally entitled, without question I will stand up for myself. I encourage anyone else to do the same. But beyond that, I am not preoccupied with race politics. I am thoroughly unconcerned with whether I am seen as worthy, valid, capable or anything else by white or other non-black people. I don't care that racists think I should 'go back to Africa'. I was born here; I am as British as anyone else and I'm not going anywhere. I don't wake up in the morning concerned with being 'accepted'. I don't feel the need to assert my 'blackness' or to compel others to refer to me in any specific way. I don't find it necessary to redress years of racial injustice by attacking white people or demanding reparations. In fact, I find the entire race discussion and the concept of racialised identity to be thoroughly tedious. I am not a colour. I am a multifaceted person with myriad characteristics. While the opinions of those I love matter to me, on the whole my sense of identity does not rely on acceptance from anyone else. I know who I am. That's enough for me.
For this reason, I think one of the most bizarre features of modern society is the idea that the only way one's personal thoughts and beliefs (about themselves or others) can be affirmed is by everyone else's agreement and acceptance. The correct way to self-identify in this instance is as a narcissist - a widely-recognised personality disorder featuring selfishness, a sense of entitlement, a consuming need for admiration and validation, and lack of empathy. Any of this sound familiar? Hang out on social media for a while and you'll see a plethora of examples. But here's where it gets interesting: there are no rights afforded in the Human Rights Act 1998 that entitles anyone to be accepted by everyone. It is therefore completely delusional for anyone to believe that their rights are infringed whenever they are met with an opposing view regarding their identity.
This delusion requires conformity from everyone - at all times - to one's beliefs. Imagine how emotionally exhausting it must be to spend all your energy forcing everyone to conform to your self-perception in order to feel 'safe' and 'affirmed'. How can this not lead to mental fragility and emotional dysfunction? How can it not make you overly sensitive and paranoid at the slightest suggestion of unacceptance? Simply put, you cannot control everyone. To believe you can, or should, leaves you vulnerable to devastation from all kinds of slights (real or perceived) and held hostage to the whims of everyone around you. This is untenable. The only outcome from this is deep descent into mental and emotional instability.
In the same way that a muscle gains strength from resistance, strength of character and intellect develop from questioning, opposition and balanced debate. But in the age of hyper-political correctness, heavy censorship and the silencing of narratives that don't suit wider agendas, this type of personal development is virtually impossible. The vitriolic explosions of rage, violence and incoherent outbursts across university campuses in the West is evidence of young adults trapped in psychological pre-adolescence - overcome by temper tantrums, incapable of articulating or tolerating logical arguments and belligerently hurling accusations like 'racist', 'fascist', 'intolerant' and 'phobic' at anyone with differing views. It is far more likely that this type of thinking and social environment was the cause of Hale's mental illness rather than her Christian parents or school.
Sweden has a long history of gender-affirming care for young people. However, as far back as in 2011, a 30-year Swedish study revealed that sex-reassigned persons had much higher rates of suicide, suicide attempts and psychiatric admission. The conclusion of the study was that surgery alone does not effectively treat gender dysphoria. A further Swedish report in 2020 states, 'People with gender dysphoria, especially young people, have a high incidence of co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses, self-harm behaviors, and suicide attempts compared to the general population. Co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses among people with gender dysphoria are therefore a factor that needs to be considered more closely during investigation.' As recently as 2022, Sweden officially discontinued hormonal treatments for under-18s based on lack of clarity of around their benefits and concerns of medical harm. It is absolutely irrational to force through single-minded, highly political gender-affirming narratives without paying attention to these developments and seeking effective solutions to address the core mental health issues associated with gender dysphoria. The Covenant murders may not have happened if Hale had access to Swedish standards of care.
Of course, we could conclude that the entire country of Sweden is 'phobic'. Or, perhaps we should identify as rational people and learn from the research. In light of Sweden's insights, if we truly care about gender dysphoric young people and their mental health, we should seek honest answers about why they turn to violence. Snochia Moseley, who shot up a Rite Aid distribution centre in September 2018, was a trans man. Devon Erickson, responsible for the Colorado school shooting in May 2019 is transgender. Lee Aldrich, who shot up Colorado LGBT Club Q in November 2022, identifies as non-binary. And now we have Hale.
The motives for these murders are not entirely clear. But even if the reason is others' non-acceptance of their identities, the focus should not be on those who rejected them but on the murderers' pathological inability to withstand rejection. The fact is that everyone is rejected in life for one reason or another. But murder is not a normal or acceptable response to rejection. We didn't think the Colombine High School shooting in 1999 was acceptable because the killers were rejected by peers. We didn't think the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 was acceptable because the killer was rejected by women. Therefore, trans people don't get a pass to murder those who don't accept them. Every murderer listed here clearly was or is suffering from deep psychosis. And anyone who applauds Hale while celebrating the deaths of innocent people is a repugnant sociopathic narcissist shamelessly capitalising on a tragedy to justify their insatiable need for validation.
Nevertheless, I concede that the Trans Resistance Network is right about one thing: hate does have consequences. When you hate scientific fact, medical evidence, logic, truth, reasoned debate, and people who disagree with you, the consequences of murder and suicide definitely happen.