Yet, two days later, a CNN report changed that language:
As the community grieves, police continue to work to answer the yet unanswerable: Why did 28-year-old Audrey Hale decide to storm into a private Christian school and murder three children and three adults?
Drake has said police have met with Hale’s parents and school officials and have yet to uncover any specific issues or problems in the attacker’s past.
“As of right now, we don’t have any indication there was any problems at the school or at home,” Drake told CNN on Wednesday. “We can’t confirm any type of problems at this time.”
To state the question bluntly: What happened to the clarity in the early police statements? What happened to the on-the-record information that there were Hale documents discussing attacks on other locations and possible attacks on family members?
For those willing to consider reporting by journalists in conservative newsrooms, there was also this headline at The Daily Mail:
Nashville mass school shooter Audrey Hale was rejected by her Christian parents who ‘couldn’t accept’ she was gay and trans — as cops reveal she also planned to shoot relatives
Here is the overture for that story, complete with the usual semi-tabloid word choices. This appears to be a report based on interviews with neighbors and others close to Audrey/Aiden Hale, and sympathetic to the shooter’s changing gender and religious identity:
Twisted school shooter Audrey Hale was at odds with her devout Christian parents because they ‘couldn’t accept’ she was gay and transgender, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal.
Church coordinator Norma, 61, and her husband Ronald, 64, refused to let Hale — who had recently adopted the name Aiden and used he/him pronouns – dress as a man in their home.
The 28-year-old loner would instead wait until she left their $700,000 Nashville property to change outfits, according to a well-placed source.
‘You only see what you want to see. Their religion does not allow them to accept homosexuality,’ the source told DailyMail.com. ‘She was Audrey at home but when she left the house she changed clothes. They did know about it, they just didn’t accept it.’
What is going on here, in terms of the news-media template for this attack? Let’s look at some logical questions:
* Officials have said Hale was under medical/counseling treatment for an “emotional disorder.” Obviously, many journalists would resist any discussion of whether a person in the process of changing genders has an “emotional disorder.”
* What about reports that the shooter was autistic, but high functioning? That’s tricky territory, for journalists, because of discussions of evidence that a high percentage of young people, especially females, reporting gender dysphoria are also autistic.
* If Audrey/Aiden Hale had recently begun the process of gender transition, did this involve testosterone? That’s a question many journalists would want to avoid because of research showing that high doses of testosterone can cause “roid rage” — as in major mood swings involving anger and aggression.
* Should the adult Hale have been prevented from buying guns because of emotional and medical issues? Good question, but note that — for journalists — asking this question would automatically lead to discussions, again, of autism, gender dysphoria, testosterone, etc.
* Finally, what did Hale mean in this social-media message sent to a friend just before the attack?
“My family doesn’t know what I’m about to do
“One day this will make more sense. I’ve left more than enough evidence behind
“But something bad is about to happen.”
The key words are, “more than enough evidence.”
This has to be a reference to the shooter’s “manifesto” — that’s the word used by police. In other accounts, this is described as a “notebook.” It’s clear there are also detailed maps and notes associated with the attacker’s plans and motives.
Why have officials refused to release these documents? At the moment, the documents are being evaluated by the FBI. These days, the cultural left trusts the FBI, while conservatives are skeptical or hostile to that agency.
Conservatives fear that police are trying to hide the shooter’s own words, in part because they would support an anti-Christian “hate crime” narrative with a troubled trans individual attacking a conservative school and, potentially, conservative Christian parents. On the left, activists fear that same narrative.
But consider this other possibility: Might the shooter’s manifesto contain accusations of some kind against family, school, church or others? If that’s the case, police and legal officials may be investigating these claims before airing them to the public.
However, I don’t think there is any way to avoid questions about the role religious beliefs did or did not play in this attack. That doesn’t mean that journalists will automatically ask questions linked to issues that they do not want to discuss, because they challenge this narrative (as voiced in another RNS report):
Even as residents have prayed for the victims of the March 27 shooting — six students and staff — and reached out with love and kindness to grieving families, there’s historically been very little political support for restriction on the right to bear arms.
But in the wake of the state’s deadliest school shooting, Tennessee’s God and guns culture is coming under fire by outsiders and Nashville residents alike.
“God and guns culture.” That’s the ticket.
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FIRST IMAGE: Screen shot from security-camera recordings at Covenant Presbyterian Church.