It’s difficult to fathom that several families started their day with one less precious child around the breakfast table this morning. It’s also hard to fathom responding to that reality — caused by a transgender mass shooter who left three 9-year-olds and several adults dead in a “targeted attack” at a Christian elementary school — by confessing you misgendered the murderer and blasting your political opponents over the same tired gun-control talking points.
But behind all the partisan smoke and mirrors of the Nashville story is an unmistakable and unavoidable reality: Our modern mental health crisis is out of control.
You don’t even have to dig into the glaring transgender element of the case to acknowledge this fact. No mentally healthy person blasts their way into a building of defenseless children to murder them in cold blood, much less devises a detailed plan literally mapping out how to make it happen. Transgender perpetrator or not, this sick pattern has repeated itself with unsettling frequency.
And though President Joe Biden, his press secretary, and other politicians disgustingly spun the attack to blame so-called “assault weapons” and imply conservatives are complicit in mass murder, the simple reality is that over the past handful of decades, firearms have changed very little. Meanwhile, mental illness has proliferated and our culture’s conception of it dangerously evolved.
That’s why the transgender identity of the shooter can’t be fully ignored — not for those who truly care to understand the gnarly roots of this violence. Despite the protestations of LGBT apologists, gender dysphoria and trans-related narcissism are inextricable from America’s broader mental health emergency.
A Celebration of Sickness
The psychological pendulum has swung woefully far: Illness that was once stigmatized, often to the unhelpful point of suppressing it instead of encouraging the sufferers to seek help, is now celebrated and socially encouraged. If it isn’t teachers brainwashing impressionable kids with sexual confusion and instructing them to keep it secret from their parents, it’s parents catechizing their own children in fallacies. Spend just a few minutes on TikTok, and you’ll get a glimpse of the affected masses — self-loathing, split personalities, nonsensical pronouns and sexual identities, desperate androgyny, narcissism, bipolar outbursts, and more.
Examples of encouraged mental illness abound — even medical doctors fuel delusion by pretending sex is “assigned” and asking for patients’ preferred pronouns — but here’s one directly in response to the shooting. A group called the Trans Resistance Network made the shooter out to be a victim, blaming the “avalanche” of legislation seeking to protect minors from chemical and surgical castration and accusing conservatives of “nothing less than the genocidal eradication of trans people from society.” Many trans-identifying people suffer from “anxiety, depression, [and] thoughts of suicide,” the group correctly noted, but then associated these struggles not with broader mental unhealth but with “lack of acceptance” of gender dysphoria from “religious institutions.”
Note the group’s promotion of mental instability:
It is a testament to the inner strength and beauty of transgender people, that despite the … constant anti-trans bigotry and violence, so many of us continue to persevere, survive, and even thrive. We will not be eradicated or erased.
The same can’t be said for the innocent lives that were snuffed out in an instant in the Nashville shooting. Where derangement is considered “inner strength and beauty,” mental sickness thrives, and now children, not angry activists, are the ones who have been erased.
At least in part. There’s more to the story for these Christian families, who can cling to the assurance that for a follower of Jesus to be absent from his body is to be present with the Lord. This violent and sin-marred world is not our home, and it’s the closest to hell Christians will ever get. No religious hatred, mental affliction, or targeted attack can eradicate that sure hope.
A Call to Action
Those truths aren’t just a comfort for the broken-hearted, however. They’re a call to action for redeemed sinners. With a focus on eternity, we’re still sojourners here, surrounded by tormented souls with not only deep spiritual needs but physical and mental ones. And so we must fight.
We must fight against the spiritual forces that discourage us and tempt us to doubt and deny truth, and against agents of the devil who seduce our children with sexual fantasies. We must fight for the beauty and sacredness of human life. For the mental and physical health of those within our care. And for the glorious truth of the gospel and the immutable nature of the sexes that leads to human flourishing.
This fight requires compassion. But it also requires that we don’t forfeit the definition of that word to medical professionals who profit from carving up children, or to Marxist ideologues, or to a bad-faith press. Instead, follow the only perfect example: When Jesus saw the “helpless” crowds, “like sheep without a shepherd,” He was “moved with compassion” toward them. He engaged. He healed.
May He be the source of our compassion as we engage our modern mental affliction, and may He provide the healing we desperately need.