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A mass shooting at an elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, left many speculating about the shooter's motive and calling for gun reform.
The Details: On Monday, a shooter entered Covenant School, a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, armed with two assault style weapons and a hand gun. The shooter killed six people — three 9-year-old students and three faculty members — before being killed by responding police officers.
The Shooter: Police identified the shooter as 28-year-old Audrey Hale. Based on Hale's social media presence, investigators concluded Hale was transgender. Hale was a former student of the school and messaged a friend shortly before the shooting, stating, "I'm planning to die today."
At Hale's house, investigators found hand-drawn maps of the school and a written manifesto, which has not been released to the public. A police spokesperson told reporters that investigators do not believe Hale was targeting specific individuals at the school. Investigators also found additional guns at the home of the shooter, all of which were purchased legally.
How The Media Covered It: Media response to the shooting was divided. Some right-rated outlets focused on the shooter's reported transgender identity and the fact that they targeted a Christian school, with some speculating a potential link. Additionally, some right-rated sources criticized the response from President Biden, who made a joke about disagreeing with Sen. John Hawley's (R-MO) determination that the shooting was an anti-Christian hate crime.
Some left-rated sources pushed back on right-rated media focus on the shooter's gender identity, determining the focus should instead be on gun violence in America. Some on the left also highlighted fears in the trans community amid scrutiny from conservatives. Left-rated outlets frequently cited mass shooting data indicating the vast majority of mass shooters have been men, and focused on the lack of evidence that gender or religion contributed to the shooter's motive.
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Snippets from the Right
The Nashville Tragedy
National Review (opinion)
"The two sides of the national political debate aren’t going to find common ground on much, but we at least should be able to agree that the true victims of the Covenant shooting aren’t transgender people."
6 people are dead and all Jokin’ Joe Biden can do is sow the rancor and division that got us here
New York Post (opinion)
"With his faux compassion, Biden is helping fuel a malign, $2 billion industry that hooks children as young as 8 on harmful puberty-blocking drugs and sets them on a lifelong treadmill of cross-sex hormones and mutilating surgery."
Snippets from the Center
Covenant School shooting should unite us in grief and resolve
The Tennessean (opinion)
"We may not have the total answer right now, but we need our lawmakers to face the issue, debate solutions and take meaningful action for the sake of the public’s safety. We cannot simply forget what happened at Covenant and move on."
Nashville mourns victims of school shooting, governor speaks of 'need for hope'
"Monday's shooting, the latest of dozens in U.S. schools this year alone, has touched a particularly raw nerve, in part because three victims were so young and because it scorched Nashville's tight-knit Christian community."
Snippets from the Left
What unites mass shootings? It's not ideology— it's the guns.
"Nashville police have said that the shooter left behind writings that would potentially showcase their reasoning. But already many on the right have seized on reporting that the shooter was transgender to put a new spin on their anti-trans hate."
Republicans Are Trying to Link Mass Shootings to Trans People
Mother Jones (opinion)
"The pundits and lawmakers are right that mass shootings are certainly 'dangerous' and always 'deranged.' But if there’s an epidemic of carnage in this country, the source of it is not trans people but guns."
See more big stories from the past week.