Nashville school tries to block shooter's manifesto. Why?

AP Photo/John Amis

The Covenant School in Nashville was the site of a horrific atrocity. That’s not even a matter of debate. Anyone who tries to claim it wasn’t is too delusional to waste your time on.


We might have different takes on what happened, but we know and agree that it did.

What we also know is that the killer wrote a manifesto outlining what they planned and why. The public has been clamoring for it. We want to see inside the mind of a mass killer and see if we can figure out what makes people do these kinds of things.

The school, however, is trying to block the release.

Over the weekend, the Covenant Presbyterian Church and associated Covenant School filed a motion to block the public release of the manifesto of the transgender shooter who attacked the school, court documents revealed.

Monday court filings revealed that the Covenant Church requested that the court prevent the documents from being released to the public, citing privacy concerns.

The motion, filed against the Tennessee Firearms Association, and another filed against the Nashville Police Association stated that the manifesto “may include and/or relate to information owned by Covenant Church,” such as “schematics of church facilities and confidential information” regarding employees.

The church claimed the manifesto’s release could “impair or impede its ability to protect its interests and the privacy of its employees.”

A judge is scheduled to hear the church’s motion on Thursday.


I’m one of those who have wanted to read the manifesto. While many of us have suspicions as to the killer’s motives, I want to see for myself what the killer said. I want to know what was going on in that sick and twisted excuse for a mind.

So part of me hopes the manifesto is released.

However, the school in question has concerns, and I can’t dismiss them out of hand. After all, could this manifesto be used as a blueprint for Nashville Part 2? Could this reveal information that would be bad for the students and staff?

Then there’s what isn’t said, which is why another part of me hopes we don’t see the manifesto. That’s the part familiar with the idea of social contagion.

Basically, the premise is that the more we cover these kinds of things, the more they happen. It’s similar to when we see a rash of suicides anywhere. The first one happens, then the coverage and discussion plants the idea in other minds and you see more and more.

There’s a good chance that social contagion accounts for much of what we’ve seen over the last few years.

Releasing the manifesto would increase the coverage of Nashville, thus potentially leading to still more mass shootings elsewhere. Even if Nashville never sees another, there could be actual ramifications for releasing the manifesto that will cost lives.


That said, is there a middle ground?

For example, ignoring the whole social contagion thing–which may or may not be an issue–could a redacted manifesto be released to the public? Remove anything related to security or any mention of specific people related to the school and release the rest so as to alleviate security and privacy concerns, but still share the motivations of this demented monster.

Then we all get something out of this.

I honestly don’t know what the answer is. I just know that we need to figure something out and do it soon.

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