Donald Trump is pushing a new slogan, one that seeks to bring together what he hopes his followers hold most dear: “God, Guns and Trump.” To most rational people, the association of God and guns should make no sense, especially when guns are the leading cause of death for children. Incredibly, that is the case in the US.
It is an astounding statistic by any measure. A recent study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics in December finds that homicide is a leading cause of death for children in the United States and the overall rate has increased an average of 4.3% each year for nearly a decade.
The Nashville shooting that killed six people, three of them nine-year-old children, took place at a Christian school. This latest outrageous incidence of gun violence was carried out by a former student and the suspected reason for the violence was some sort of resentment that she had against the school.
The attack marked the 19th shooting at a school or university so far in 2023 in which at least one person was wounded, according to a CNN tally. With six victims, the shooting at Covenant is the deadliest school shooting since the attack in Uvalde, Texas, last May, that left 21 people dead.
The shooter, identified as 28-year-old Audrey Hale, was shot and killed by police during the Monday attack, leaving behind “drawn out” maps of the Covenant School detailing “how this was all going to take place,” Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said. Clearly this was a long-held and simmering hatred that exploded into uncontrolled violence. A witness stated that she just blasted away at anyone she saw—including children.
So far, little is known about the shooter. Hale graduated from Nossi College of Art & Design in Nashville last year, the president of the school confirmed to CNN, and a LinkedIn profile says Hale worked as a freelance graphic designer and a part-time grocery shopper.
The school was prepared for such an eventuality, though they hoped they would never need to resort to its training. By now, every public site has plans in place for such a dreaded occurrence.
“This school prepared for this with active shooter training for a reason. We don’t like to think that this is ever going to happen to us. But experience has taught us that we need to be prepared because in this day and time it is the reality of where we are,” Nashville Metropolitan Councilman Russ Pulley told CNN.
But what kind of preparedness can be effective when the shooter is so determined that not only have they made meticulous plans in advance, but they are willing to shoot through the door to gain access to a facility in order to vent their fury?
Drake said investigators believed the shooting stemmed from “some resentment” the suspect harbored “for having to go to that school” as a younger person, but this remains a mystery and as the shooter is dead, there is no interrogation that may provide any answers.
It was in 2020 that guns overtook auto accidents as the leading cause of death among children and teens. This was after the Virginia Tech shooting in which 23-year-old student Seung-Hui Cho killed thirty-two students and faculty members in two separate attacks on the campus of Virginia Tech and then committed suicide. After Sandy Hook, 2012, when Adam Lanza killed twenty first-grade children aged six and seven, along with six adults. The outrage and shock at the time were unprecedented. But sadly, we have been shocked on a regular basis as these godless acts are repeated. Then came Uvalde with 22 deaths and the horror of watching the carnage on video loops. Despite the frequently professed shock and horror, the statistics keep getting worse and the children keep on dying.
There is no other place in the world where anything similar occurs on a regular basis—no other place that has such statistics. As a nation, we should be ashamed of it and yet we enshrine guns as a sacred right and now we associate it with reverence for God, thanks to a godless man like Trump and others who share his delusions, like Congressman Andy Ogles who proudly poses with his children and their Christmas gifts: assault weapons. People like them adopt that unholy trinity to pander to deranged followers, and dead children are the result.
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