Killing Pronouns

There was another terrible shooting at a school in the United States, the latest in Nashville, TN. Teachers and young children were gunned down and the victims’ stories are being told.

According to the Associated Press, the killer’s name was Audrey Hale, a.k.a. Aiden Hale. In describing the shooter the media said “Police gave unclear information on the shooter’s gender. For hours, police identified the shooter as a 28-year-old woman and eventually as Audrey Hale. Then at a late afternoon press conference, the police chief said that Hale was transgender. After the news conference, police spokesperson Don Aaron declined to elaborate on how Hale identified.”

The confusion was at least made clear to readers. The dead assailant was initially identified as a woman who had attended the school, and it was later learned from online profiles that Hale’s preferred gender pronouns were he/him and used the name Aiden.

The New York Times opted to avoid sharing facts and took to wordsmithing about the killer.

Front page New York Times article on March 29, 2023

The Times neither wanted to call out the murderer as being transgender, nor did it want to use a pronoun that Hale hadn’t chosen. Instead, it omitted using any pronouns for Hale, and used “the assailant” or “the perpetrator” throughout the piece.

The Times also avoided using any guesswork about the motivation for the killing rampage, and opted to only share that Hale had “an emotional disorder,” even as the paper normally attributes motivations of misogyny or racism for other mass murderers, even before facts are unearthed.

It is without debate that there was another horrible tragedy in which innocents were gunned down. As a society trying to deal with seemingly ubiquitous mental illness and anger, we should all be able to speak clearly about the facts to help usher a safer and saner world.

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1 thought on “Killing Pronouns

  1. The right pronoun for the murderer is it/it’s because this individual is a singular person! Any singular person who uses they/them/theirs is grammatically incorrect!


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