Analyst calls out conservatives blaming Nashville shooting on trans people

CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem, Covenant Christian school, shooting, Audrey Hale, transgender shooting, Don Lemon
Juliette Kayyem on CNN Photo: YouTube screenshot

While right-wingers are blaming Monday’s school shooting in Nashville on the suspected shooter Audrey Hale’s alleged transgender identity, a CNN analyst has called gender identity “a distraction” from the larger issues involved.

“Look, pronouns do not kill children,” CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem said in a Tuesday morning broadcast. “People with guns kill children. And it’s going to be a distraction in our coverage.” Kayyem is a former Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Kayyem made her comment after gay CNN anchor Don Lemon noted that police identified the shooter as possibly being transgender. Lemon said that particular information is important to discuss, especially to him as “a member of the LGBTQ community.”

Lemon asked, “I’m just wondering, the identity of being a transgender person and also being identified as a woman, does this pose any sort of difference or difficulty for police? Because [mass shooters are] not typically a woman, regardless of how they’re identifying.”

Kayyem said that all shootings have particular differences in terms of the shooter’s motive, including their mental health, why they chose a specific location, and the clues revealing their intention to kill. However, she said that all shootings tend to have similar “means,” meaning that shooters tend to choose weapons and targets that ensure maximum damage.

“That’s when you start to see these are all starting to look the same, right?” Kayyem said. “I sort of think now like we don’t own guns in this country; guns own us at this stage.”

Instead of the suspected shooter’s gender identity, Kayyem said it’s important to look at the larger issues of mental health, protecting children, fortifying schools, firearm safety reforms, and other topics that contribute more to shootings.

The shooting occurred at the Covenant School, a private Christian elementary school. The shooter killed three nine-year-old students and three school staff members before being killed by police. In 2023, there have been 13 school shootings already, Education Week reported.

Shortly after police identified the shooter as possibly being trans, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) blamed the shooting on hormones medications that the shooter might’ve been taking. However, there’s no indication that the shooter was taking hormones or that any such medications would even contribute to such violence.

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) wrote in a tweet that the suspected shooter’s trans identity should inspire “a lot of soul searching on the extreme left,” adding, “Giving in to these ideas isn’t compassion, it’s dangerous.” He has not called for similar soul-searching in the countless mass shootings committed by cisgender men.

When asked about the shooting, Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) said, “It’s a horrible, horrible situation, and we’re not gonna fix it. Criminals are gonna be criminals and… if somebody wants to take you out, and doesn’t mind losing their life, there’s not a heck of a lot you can do about it.”

Burchett mentioned that his own child is homeschooled and said that a Christian “revival” could help change hearts and minds to prevent such shootings in the future.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who spoke at a 2022 anti-trans rally where attendees threatened to kill gender-affirming doctors, tweeted that the shooting left her “heartbroken.” LGBTQ+ ally and gun reform activist David Hogg called her a “puppet” of the National Rifle Association (NRA), a gun manufacturer’s lobbyist group, and noted that she has accepted over $1.3 million in NRA funding to oppose any gun safety reforms.

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