A legal arsenal and mental problems, keys in the shooting in a Nashville school

A legal arsenal and mental problems, keys in the shooting in a Nashville school

Authorities in Nashville, Tennessee, have not yet determined the motive that led to Audrey Elizabeth Hale to commit a massacre at the Covenant Presbyterian Church school on Monday, the last mass shooting that has shocked and shaken the United States and confronts it once again with the reality of a gun violence problem that is unmatched in any other developed country. What they have reported this Tuesday at a press conference is that Hale, 28, “was under medical care for an emotional disorderand that there was recently purchased and legally in five stores in the area seven gunsthree of which he used in a premeditated and planned attack, in which with random shots took the lives of three nine-year-old children and three adults before die under the bullets of the police.

Los parents Hale have explained in interviews with police that they thought it was inappropriate for me to have weaponsThey believed that he had sold one that he had and did not know that he had acquired the others, which he hid in the house where the family lived. This Monday, when he left home with a red bag, they asked him what he was carrying but he avoided answering.

John Drake, the Nashville police chief, also explained at a press conference that Hale, No criminal record, I wasn’t on his radar. Only if law enforcement had known that he had weapons and the family had reported that he was “suicidal” or “intended to kill someone”, according to the police officer, would they have tried to get those weapons. There is no law in the state of Tennessee, in any case, and as Drake recalled, that would have given them legal protection to seize them.

Questions and culture wars

24 hours after the massacre, there are still more questions than answers. Some questions about motivations could be answered when the FBI and local police complete a review of a manifest that Hale left, a process that Drake says has not been completed. and for now police tread carefully when providing information about this last case in the long list of mass shootings In U.S.A, 129 so far this year according to the data of the Gun Violence Archive, and dthirteenth year in a compulsory education center according to the tally maintained by Education Week.

Part of that caution, common in the face of mass shootings, can be attributed to elements of this case that make become even more entangled than similar episodes in America’s culture wars.. Because as usual, the battles that after the shootings confront those who claim and cry out for more gun control legislationand especially of semi-automatic and assault weapons such as those used by Hale, with those who resist these redoubled controls, they do not see links between what happened and his staunch defense of the second amendment and they prefer to focus on iIncrease police presence in schools or turn it only towards mental health.

But in the case there is also elements touching on religion, education and genderat a time when parental rights and legislation for limit rights of the LGBTQ community they have become a priority for conservatives in the US and for Republican politicians and legislators. Earlier this month, the governor of tennessee signed a law that vetoes trans minors access to therapy or surgeryplus another that makes it the first state to ban drag queen performances on public property or before minors.

The target of the attack was a Christian school founded and financed by the Covenant Presbyterian Church, part of an ultra-conservative denomination, for which at some point that the authorities have not specified Hale passed as a student. Drake, the police chief, testified Monday that Hale was harboring “some resentment” for having had to study there.

Hale, in addition, has been identified as transgender. Police initially gave her name and her birth gender, female. This Tuesday Drake used feminine pronouns in her case, but the day before he had pointed to that transgender identification and used the indefinite “they” on several occasions (they). And Hale’s social media prints confirm that sometimes used masculine pronouns as well as the name Aidenwhich he recorded on one of the weapons used in the shooting.

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