Parents Plead With Judge to Withhold Release of Shooter Audrey Hale’s Manifesto

( – Covenant School pleaded with the court to not allow the release of the 28-year-old Audrey Hale’s 20 journals, suicide note, or unpublished memoir. Hale opened fire at the Tennessee school in March 2023, killing three children and three adults.

Hale apparently identified as transgender and is sometimes referred to Aiden Hale. The manifesto, along with other papers and hand-drawn maps were recovered at the scene of the crime by law enforcement, and Nashville’s Metropolitan Police Chief John Drake said that they would eventually be released. However, now the police, the FBI and families of the victims are all fighting to prevent that from happening.

Hale was an illustrator and graphic designer and is believed to have once been a student at Covenant School. MNPD Police Chief John Drake said that Hale had legally purchased seven guns, including three that were recovered at the school after Hale was killed by police at the scene. Conservative commentator Steven Crowder leaked several pages of the manifesto November 6, 2023, which showed rage and hatred for the school and its students. Media companies and free speech advocates have launched lawsuits demanding the release of all of the writings claiming that the public have a right to know.

While law enforcement has made the argument that Hale’s writings cannot be released because it could interfere with ongoing investigations, the families who are working to prevent the documents being released say that no good can come from them being made public. Lawyers for the families have made the argument that they legally own the copyright to the documents, as Hale’s relatives turned over the shooter’s estate to the victim’s families following the massacre. The families’ attorney Eric Osborne made a strange comparison to stealing new unpublished songs from Taylor Swift in his argument as to why the families should be allowed to suppress the writings.

Judge I’Aesha L. Myles pointed out that if everything that is written is considered copyrighted then there is no such thing as public record. While the free speech issue is a common thread throughout the lawsuits demanding the release of the documents, some people are concerned that the writings may pose a security risk for the Covenant School. Although this could be true, it is likely that if Hale’s writings are released, they will be partially redacted. The families may have good reasons to want them to be kept private, but as long as they are public speculation will continue to draw dark and possibly untrue motivations as to why.

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