A widely shared quote on Audrey Hale’s manifesto has sparked fierce discussion about the targeting of Christians, but the quote may be misattributed.
Hale, who police confirmed identified as transgender, shot and killed three children and three staff at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, on Monday before being killed by police.
Police said Hale may have had some ‘resentment’ about attending the school, and the 28-year-old leaving a manifesto behind sparked discussions about whether the shooting was a deliberate attack on Christians.
In the aftermath of the shooting, people began sharing an alleged line from the manifesto on social media that read, “You laugh at our kids, we kill your kids.” When asked if police could confirm the line was in the manifesto, Don Aaron, director of public affairs for the Nashville Police Department, said Newsweek“No.”
The phrase appears to come from a tweet by conservative commentator Jack Posobiec. On Tuesday, he noted Hale left a “manifesto and not a suicide note” and said it wasn’t “difficult to infer the intended message, ‘You’re playing with our kids, we’re going to kill your kids. ‘”
Posobiec’s tweet has been viewed 1.9 million times and was shared as a direct quote from the manifesto.
Donald Trump Jr. phased in the air quotes in a video he posted to Rumble on Tuesday and posted on Twitter that Hale wrote “You mess with our kids, we kill your kids” in the manifesto.
Newsweek contacted Posobiec through its website and Trump Jr. through the Trump Organization for comment.
Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, wants the shooting investigated as a hate crime because a Christian school was targeted. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, when asked by Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana on Tuesday whether he planned to open a hate crimes investigation, said the motive remains unclear.
Twitter hashtags such as “TransTerrorism” and “TransDayofVengeance” have appeared on the social network since the shooting. Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had her Twitter account temporarily suspended on Tuesday for linking the antifa group to “Trans Day of Vengeance.” On Wednesday, she claimed there was “still no acknowledgment of the innocent Christians who were slaughtered in Tennessee by a trans mass shooter.”
The trans community still fears that Hale’s actions will lead to violence.
Denise Sadler, a transgender drag performer in Nashville, recounted Sky News that she’s increased her armed guards from four to eight as part of a drag show she’s hosting at a gay bar in town this weekend.
“You don’t know if (the shooter’s gender identity) is going to inspire a community of people who already hated us to come and try to shoot us to prove a point,” Sadler said.
Nashville Police Chief John Drake told a press conference on Tuesday that Hale, also known as Aiden, mentioned plans in the manifesto to attack “several” locations at The Covenant School. . Detailed maps of the locations accompanied the threats, in addition to descriptions of how the killings would take place.
Drake, who refuted rumors that Hale targeted certain people, said details of the manifesto were still being investigated because there was “a lot of writing on it”. He added that he had not read everything and that his officers and the FBI were working on it.
“There’s some belief that there was some resentment that I had to go to that school,” Drake told NBC News.
A spokesperson for the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Tuesday that it has no plans to release the documents anytime soon, saying, “We will not be releasing the manifesto at a open investigation”.
The decision not to immediately publish the manifesto drew mixed reactions. Some have argued that it should be disclosed for transparency and to build trust that nothing was being concealed due to the identity of the shooter. Others, including some LGBTQ+ groups, have argued that the manifesto should stay out of public view.
Charles Moran, national chairman of Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP organization that champions equal rights for LGBTQ+ Americans, previously said Newsweek that there are “serious consequences” for the public dissemination of the manifesto.
“While it would certainly provide insight into the motives of this deeply troubled individual that could help shed light on the root causes, we know from tragedies like this that further glorification of the shooter could inspire other people to take similar violent acts to get attention,” Moran said. .
Police have not released the motive for the shooting, and Drake told NBC News an investigation is underway to determine if Hale’s transgender identity played a role.