He/Him/His

Greg Gnall
3 min readMar 28, 2023

We have become so inured to the occurrence of another mass shooting that I hardly blinked when I saw the initial headlines about a shooter in Nashville, Tennessee killing three adults and three children at a private Christian school. But when I noticed that the initial identification of the perpetrator was that of a 28 year old woman named Audrey Hale, a former student at the school, I stood up and took notice since, according to the Violence Project, 97% of mass shootings are committed by males.

It turns out that, while some confusion about the shooter’s identify remains, it appears that Hale actually identified as a transgender male. (For sake of simplicity, I will refer to Hale with male pronouns). Ah, that explains it. Becoming a man turned him into a killer.

Although there is some evidence that Hale had a “transgender agenda,” no one can possibly can get in the mind of a person who can mow down innocent people, especially little children. But there are those, including Candace Owens and J.D. Vance, who will tell you that Hale’s gender confusion was somehow connected to the heinous event. According to such self-proclaimed protectors of morality, the “transgender lobby” is encouraging violence against those who dare to stand up to its perverse plan to turn our boys into girls and girls into boys and that anyone willing to do violence to their own bodies will do violence against others. Next we will hear that Hale had attended drag queen book readings at the local library (Horrors!).

Certain elements on the right will try to convince you that treatment and acceptance of transgender persons is among the gravest threats this country faces. That is because they have no answers to the country’s real issues. I don’t know much about gender dysphoria, but I do know that it is best addressed as a personal medical condition and not as part of a moral crusade for political purposes.

It is convenient that conservatives who pretend to cherish personal freedom are so willing to restrict individual medical decisions (does anything else come to mind?). Tennessee itself, the site of the shooting, this very month passed legislation signed by Governor Bill Lee prohibiting the treatment of minors for gender dysphoria and restricting public drag shows. Other states have gone further, with the Texas Attorney General opining that parents who allow their children to be treated with puberty suppressing blockers are guilty of child abuse.

Regardless of the fact of his gender, there is one thing that Hale had in common with all other mass killers: he used a gun. While Tennessee claims to protect its children from perversity, its gun laws allow hand guns to be carried without a permit and limited background checks for the purchase of a gun. These lax laws helped Hale purchase seven different weapons from five different gun stores recently, including two military-style weapons he used in the attacks, according to Nashville police.

In much of the country, the Second Amendment is more sacred than the Bible. Even now proposed legislation in Tennessee would arm more teachers and allow guns on college campuses. What’s wrong with this picture? As far as I’m concerned, I would rather have my children hear stories read by a man in a dress than have them face a lunatic with an AR-15. Am I missing something?

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