Weingarten: What we can learn from the Nashville shooting


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Nashville City Hall is located about 16 minutes from the private school where six people died.

Caleb Weingarten, Columnist

At this point, I am sure you have heard about the horrific shooting that took place at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, this past Monday, and my goal in this article is to reflect on this situation and hopefully bring something of value to the discussions that will follow another event like this. 

When shootings occur in America, it ruffles the feathers of many and causes others to raise the defense of transcendent rights that are impenetrable. This stems from the contentious debate over guns in America and what role they should play in American society. One side believes that guns should be banned, and the other claims the opposite–a very simple debate that gains complexity as it unfolds. 

In Nashville, the shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Hale, “legally bought seven firearms from five local gun stores.” Even more disturbing was the fact that she was able to purchase the weapons with a known history of “an undisclosed emotional disorder.” 

This was due to Tennessee disallowing a red-flag law, which would let police intervene in situations where someone who owns guns could be potentially dangerous. 

This forces me to question the utter carelessness of lawmakers in this region (and those who support similar legislation). If you are a responsible gun owner and you strongly support the right to own them, wouldn’t you only want equally responsible people to own them? Why should people with a history of mental illness be allowed to own weapons, especially if they have been declared a danger to others?

Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake said that if the police had been aware of Hale’s situation, “then we would have tried to get those weapons.” The police shouldn’t be the ones hyper-surveilling people to see if they are dangerous around guns, but there should be far more communication between health professionals and gun owners. 

Privacy could even be protected, but before someone buys a gun and slaughters children and teachers at schools, it needs to be communicated whether they should even be allowed to own a gun in the first place. 

Although guns are a right, they are also most definitely a privilege, especially considering the implications if they aren’t treated as such. Too many people are dying at the hands of man-made weapons, most notably the American youth. 

The New England Journal of Medicine found that since 2020, guns are the leading cause of death among US children and adolescents. Ironically, Tennessee is also an abortion-free state since outlawing it by the overturning of Roe v. Wade. How can you be pro-life and allow your children to be slain at the hands of war machines that are used for sport and enjoyment? 

One may claim that guns are important for self-defense, and while there are select cases where guns have been useful, David Hemenway, a Harvard researcher, found that according to the “National Crime Victimization Survey, people defended themselves with a gun in nearly 0.9 percent of crimes from 2007 to 2011.” For such a minute amount, it is worth considering different ways we can mitigate our schools from being domestic battlefields. 

Plain and simple, it needs to be more difficult to own a gun. It’s harder to get a big loan or adopt a pet in many cases than it is to purchase a weapon, and until we find a way to balance out this complicated equation, there will be many more discussions surrounding tough-to-talk-about topics like this.