Covenant School Shooter Motivated by ‘Wrath,’ Left-Wing Ideology, Reveal Leaked Diary Pages
Nearly seven and a half months after a trans-identifying woman shot and killed three students and three staff at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., leaked pages from her diary reveal that she was motivated by “wrath” toward the school and intersectional critical theory. Local news station FOX 17 confirmed the leak to be authentic on Monday.
Authorities continue to offer an ever-revolving catalogue of excuses to avoid releasing the contents of the diary, in an unsuccessful attempt to mask the motive of a shooting that did not fit cleanly into the media’s preferred narrative. Yet the contents of the leaked pages are consistent with what Christian conservatives already suspected: that the trans-identifying shooter targeted the private Christian school for identity-based reasons.
“There was never a good reason to keep that monster’s manifesto under lock, which is why I called for its release months ago,” said Tennessee House Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison. “After reading this morning, I’m questioning even more why the anti-white racism & anti-Christian bigotry of Audrey Hale was covered up. We need answers.”
When police found the diary soon after the shooting, Nashville Police Chief John Drake, appointed in 2020 by then-Mayor John Cooper (D), had promised Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) to release its contents “soon.”
However, third parties sought to prevent the contents of the diary from coming to light, for different reasons. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) intervened, despite having no jurisdiction, to ask Nashville police not to disclose the contents. While their motive is unknown, conservatives suspect it was just one more minor chapter in a weaponized FBI using the power of law enforcement to pursue a political objective. Nashville city council member Courtney Johnson said she believed the diary contained a “blueprint on total destruction” that would inspire copycats, but the pages leaked lack the level of detail that would invite concern.
As weeks turned into months with no action, multiple media outlets filed open records requests with the Metropolitan Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations. Those requests were denied on the grounds that there was an ongoing investigation, even though the shooter was dead. When the media outlets sued to obtain the records, the police department then claimed it could not release the diary’s contents because it was the subject of litigation.
Covenant School parents also intervened in the lawsuit, claiming the release of the diary would traumatize their children, despite lacking standing and not having seen the diary’s contents. The case currently sits before an appeals court to determine whether the parents have standing to intervene.
Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell (D) directed Wally Dietz, director of the Metropolitan Department of Law, to investigate the leak, in conjunction with the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD). “This police department is extremely serious about the investigation to identify the person responsible,” Police Chief Drake said. “We are not at liberty to release the journals until the courts rule.”
A spokesperson for the parents called the person who leaked the diary’s pages a “viper,” complaining, “you have now allowed this woman who terrorized our family with bullets to be able to now terrorize with words from the grave.” He also directed harsh words at conservative podcast host Steven Crowder, who first published the leaked documents. “Just be a human for once. Quit seeking clicks, and retweets, and platform building.”
Clearly, The Covenant School parents are still grieving after the unimaginable tragedy. But, even through grief, Christians must walk in love. Love “does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:5-7).
As a brother in Christ, I would urge the parents at The Covenant School to remember this, even as they fight to protect their children. Instead of imputing bad motives to those pursuing the diary’s disclosure, I urge them to acknowledge that their opponents might be motivated by the public interest, or even by a desire to follow Christ. Scripture instructs us to “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7), which exposes the works of darkness and makes them visible (Ephesians 5:11-13).
“For months, I have been calling for clarity around the Covenant shooter’s writings, and like so many Tennesseans, I am frustrated by the lack of public transparency,” said Governor Lee. “The state is not involved with the investigation and has no legal authority over these documents, however, we will continue to push for more information and urge MNPD to address the horrific pages published today.”
So, what exactly did we learn from these “horrific pages”? Beware, sensitive readers! The next few paragraphs are deeply disturbing.
Crowder published screenshots of three pages from the shooter’s diary: a schedule for the day, a journal entry from that morning, and a crude poem that indicated her reasons for killing.
The schedule, titled “Death Day,” began with “7:00 am – get dressed” and included many of the shooter’s preparations, although not all that actually occurred. From 7:05 a.m. – 8:55 a.m., the 28-year-old Audrey Hale planned to do something “with stuffed animals and possessions” (the entry is partially obscured with a post-it note, but it likely begins “spend time”). Under the final entry at 12:37 p.m., Hale wrote, “Let massacre begin” and “Time 2 die.”
The journal entry was also titled, “Death Day,” and made explicit that Hale meant her own death, as well as her victims’ deaths. “Ready to Die haha,” she wrote. “Can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m ready … I hope my victims aren’t.” Hale wrote that she had “been excited for the past two weeks” about shooting up her former school. She wrote that she could have been caught several times, “especially back in the summer of 2021,” indicating that she had been planning the shooting for years.
“My only fear is if anything goes wrong. I’ll do my best to prevent anything of the sort. (God let my wrath take over my anxiety),” The killer wrote. “It might be 10 minutes. It might be 3-7. It’s gonna go quick. I hope I have a high death count.”
Even more explicit was the poem, titled, “Kill those kids!!!” She expressed contempt for “Those crackers [an anti-white slur], Going to private fancy schools With those fancy khakis and sports backpacks, With their daddies’ mustangs and convertibles. I wish to shoot you [censored expletives] with your mop yellow hair, Wanna kill all you little crackers!!! Bunch of little [censored slur implying the students were secretly gay] With your white privileges.”
The poem indicates the shooter was influenced by Marxist ideology and identity politics. She wanted to shoot students at the school because they were white, middle class, possibly male, and because of their “privileges.” As taught in many universities, Marxist ideology, otherwise known as critical theory or wokeness, classifies everyone based on immutable (and some mutable) characteristics as either oppressor or oppressed, according to that group’s perceived historical burden of guilt. The concept of intersectionality holds that the classifications can stack, so that someone who is a white male from a reasonably wealthy family is more guilty than someone who possesses fewer negative traits.
“This is a product of indoctrination,” insisted Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “I mean, ‘white privilege’ — the Left owns this stuff.”
Based on the basic facts of the incident — a trans-identifying individual committing a mass shooting at a Christian school — conservatives have long suspected that the diary’s concealment represented an attempt to suppress information that would upset the Left’s narrative, which classifies white Christians as “oppressors” but people who identify as transgender as “oppressed.” Indeed, the leftist media’s instant reaction was to argue that people who identify as transgender were somehow the real victims of the incident.
The poem also indicates the shooter’s negative view towards herself. After all, she was white, and she had attended the school. Perhaps this contributed to her willingness to die.
Overall, these disclosures provide a window into the soul of a deeply troubled young woman. She evidently suffered from anxiety, relied on stuffed animals, and sought to murder fellow human beings. She seemed tormented by pricks of conscience which might derail her murderous intent. Most of all, she seemed eager to die, although her soul was not right before God.
Most horrifying was Hale’s misguided prayer, “God let my wrath take over my anxiety,” to aid her in her intent to murder. Thus, she claimed to have God on her side, when she was directly violating his moral command, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). This is taking the Lord’s name in vain, in a way similar to Saul when he claimed God had given David into his hand (1 Samuel 23:7), and “the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).
Long before Moses or even Abraham, God forbade murder because it destroyed his own image. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Genesis 9:6). God witnesses and requires a reckoning for every murder — ever since the very first one (Genesis 4:10). God does not even desire the death of wicked people like Hale who rebel against him. “As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11).
Knowing that God hates murder is likely cold comfort to grieving families, but it is true and must be stated. Sometimes, we don’t understand why a good and sovereign God allows devastating tragedies, and all we can do is keep trusting on him and wait for his comfort and healing.
In the meantime, understanding the motivations behind mass tragedies may help public officials to prevent future incidents from occurring. The months-long concealment of Hale’s diary, justified with ever-changing excuses, has eroded public confidence that law enforcement officials are dispensing justice in a non-biased manner. “The writings may raise questions about why the killing of schoolchildren, apparently based on their race, was not considered a hate crime by the FBI,” wrote the Nashville-based Daily Wire
“I don’t think that the Biden administration, President Biden, and his Justice Department, are even pretending that we have one system of justice in America,” said Article Three Project Founder Mike Davis on “Washington Watch.” “We have a politicized and weaponized justice system, and that is not sustainable as a country.”
It’s not sustainable. But we can start by bringing what is hidden to light and exposing false narratives.
Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.