Many in the trans movement would likely object to an insanity defense even if it saved transgender defendants from prison because it would expose the basic insanity that lies at the heart of transgender ideology.

The case of Audrey Hale, the transgender woman who murdered three children and three adults at a Nashville Christian school, raises some important moral and legal questions.

Had Hale survived, had she only been wounded by police, she would have had to stand trial for her crimes. But what sort of a defense might her lawyers have mounted?

The question is not an academic one. We can expect more—if not many more—violent attacks by trans individuals.

Judging by the response of trans activists to the Nashville massacre, many in the trans “community” seem ready for war. Days after the shooting, violent pro-transgender demonstrations at the Tennessee State Capitol and the Kentucky State Capitol had to be cleared by police. Meanwhile, a “Trans Day of Vengeance” protest scheduled to be held outside the U.S. Supreme Court was cancelled not because the organizers (the Trans Radical Activist Network) had second thoughts about using the word “vengeance” but because they had received “credible threats.”

Most disturbing, many in the trans “community” seem to feel that the killing of the six victims in Nashville was, in some part, justified. The Trans Resistance Network (TRN) issued a statement extending sympathy for the victims but arguing that Hale herself was also a victim: “he [sic] had no other effective way to be seen than to lash out by taking the life of others, and by consequence, himself.”

Many in the trans community believe that they are being targeted for “genocide” by right-wing politicians and conservative legislatures. Thus, individuals who fight back—such as Audrey Hale—are acting in self-defense.

But, had Hale lived, it seems that the claim of self-defense would not have convinced any jury in Tennessee. After all, she killed six innocent and defenseless people, three of whom were only nine years old. And there was no evidence of any impending threat to her life. So, assuming that this is not the last of such cases, what can a defense attorney do to save his or her client?

One possible defense for violent transgenders is the insanity defense—the claim that a defendant is not guilty by reason of mental illness. The best-known formulation of the defense is the famous M’Naghten rule, which holds that a defendant cannot be found guilty of a crime if, by reason of insanity, he was unable to recognize the wrongfulness of his act. Since Audrey Hale seems to have suffered from mental illness (possibly exacerbated by cross-sex hormone treatment) she might have qualified for the insanity defense (or for one of the various forms that the defense has taken).

Ironically, however, many in the trans movement would probably object to such a defense even if it saved transgender defendants from a lifetime in prison.


Well, because the insanity defense would tend to expose the basic insanity that lies at the heart of transgender ideology—namely, a profound detachment from reality.

The transgender movement is built on a denial of two biological realities: first, the reality that there are only two sexes and second, the reality that one sex cannot become the other.

To deny these twin truths of biology is to exchange reality for a delusion. The first and most essential duty of the mind is to apprehend reality. And those who are unable to do so in one area are likely to have trouble apprehending other realities.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that people who can’t tell male from female may have difficulty telling right from wrong.

So, if a transgender killer were to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, it would have the effect of undermining the transgender claim that the dream of transitioning is rooted in some biological reality rather than in a wish-fulfillment fantasy. In short, those who are caught up in the trans illusion simply aren’t thinking straight (no pun intended).

It should be noted that the M’Naghten rule looks upon the inability to see the wrongfulness of an action as a cognitive defect, not as an emotional problem. It should be differentiated from another form of the insanity defense which has come to be known as “temporary insanity” or “irresistible impulse.” Those of a certain age will remember that this is the defense that Jimmy Stewart uses to defend his client in Otto Preminger’s film Anatomy of a Murder.

The plea of temporary insanity acknowledges that a defendant does know right from wrong but is temporarily overcome by powerful emotions. But a plea of temporary insanity would probably not have worked in the case of Audrey Hale, since there is strong evidence that she had been planning the attack for months. For trans defendants whose crimes are premeditated, “irresistible impulse” is obviously not a good line of defense.

A better defense for violent transgenders is to plead that they have been brainwashed. Their lawyers could present them as victims of indoctrination into a false ideology. This defense has the benefit of being true in most cases. The trans-inclined are subject to enormous pressure from peers, social media, advertisers, teachers, counselors, and doctors to become their “true self.” The affirmation and celebration of trans by the larger culture makes it difficult to resist.

A good defense lawyer could make the case that the trans defendant is not unlike the numerous Americans who, in the thirties, forties, and fifties, were duped into joining the Communist Party. Or he could make the case that the trans movement is like a cult that captures the minds of the young and the vulnerable. Once again, however, trans activists would almost certainly object to such defenses because they are damaging to the transgender cause. They amount to an admission that the trans person is the victim of a cult or of a warped ideology.

Many trans persons live in a fantasy world. Among other things, they have developed a paranoid fantasy that the world is out to get them—to “exterminate” them. Moreover, a not insignificant number of them believe that anyone who merely disagrees with them must be harboring genocidal intentions. 

Consequently, some in the transgender movement believe they have the right to defend themselves by preemptively assaulting those who question their beliefs. Psychologists are agreed that paranoia is the most dangerous form of mental illness. So, as our educational and corporate cultures continue to feed trans paranoia, we can expect to see more Audrey Hales acting out their destructive fantasies.

In fact, three other violent trans cases are currently in the news. Well, not in the mainstream news; you need to consult alternative news sources to find the stories. Here’s one. Shortly after Audrey Hale’s attack on the Nashville School, a nineteen-year-old male who claims to be a female named “Lilly” was arrested in Colorado Springs and charged with plotting a massacre at the middle school which he had attended.

Meanwhile, on Easter Sunday in Portland, Oregon, a 30-year-old transgender man wearing a tiara and women’s clothing entered a taxi and proceeded to stab the driver in the throat, killing him in the process.

Another example? A few weeks prior to the Nashville massacre, Maeve Nota, a 31-year-old transgender woman reached a plea deal with the Department of Justice for a “hate crime” she committed on June 28 in Bellevue, Washington. On that date, Nota smashed her way into St. Louise Catholic Church, broke two glass doors, spray painted profane messages on the walls, destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary, assaulted a church worker, resisted arrest, and damaged the police car.

Although local police described her behavior as a felony-level hate crime, the DOJ reduced the charge to a misdemeanor and recommended zero jail time for Ms. Nota.

Judging by the DOJ’s lenient settlement with Nota, one gets the impression that the feds want to keep trans cases out of the courts and out of the public eye. The media, of course, is colluding in the effort. 

Anyone who relies on the mainstream media will have heard little to nothing about Maeve Nota, William Whitworth (aka “Lilly”), or Moses Lopez, the transgender male who murdered the taxi driver in Portland on Easter Day.

Another item that seems to have dropped down the memory hole is Audrey Hale’s manifesto. What happened to it? Last I heard, it was in the possession of the FBI, and the FBI seems in no hurry to reveal its contents.

Why is that? Most probably because the contents will reflect badly on the transgender movement. Hale was not simply another victim of the Nashville tragedy, as some would have us believe. She was an angry ideologue who had been plotting the attack for months.

The other school-shooting plotter, William Whitworth, had also written a manifesto. When police discovered it at his home, he dismissed it as “schizophrenic rants.” Whether or not Whitworth/Lilly is a schizophrenic, his manifesto, in all probability, also reflects poorly on the transgender agenda—which may be why we’ve heard so little about it.

The Left would like to keep all of this out of the public eye, but the public needs to wake up to the true nature of the trans phenomenon. Many seem to have fallen for the propaganda that the trans movement is nothing more than an enlightened quest to help oppressed people find their true selves.

Audrey Hale’s “suicide by cop” prevented us from seeing that sentimental view of the trans agenda put on trial. But it seems more than likely that such a trial is not far off. And when it comes, it may help to bring some clarity.

A public and well-publicized trial might challenge the public’s gauzy view of transgenderism. Such a trial could do much to reveal the dark side of the trans movement: the hatred, the violence, and the pervasive mental illness—a mental illness that is not caused by lack of social acceptance but is rooted instead in an unhinged view of human nature. In reality, the trans movement has gained a great deal of social acceptance and approval. The mental illness comes not from social disapproval but from the unavoidable clash between fantasy and reality.

There are several strategies that defense lawyers might employ to defend a violent trans client, but the one they are likely to fall back on is the insanity defense. That defense, however, is a two-edged sword. 

The admission that a client has lost touch with reality and shouldn’t be held responsible for his actions may help to save a client from lifetime imprisonment, but it won’t help the trans cause. Hopefully, however, it will serve to force naive Americans to think twice about their sentimental view of the trans world.

Catholics, in particular, need to think twice. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that a surprising number of priests, bishops, and cardinals have taken the LGBTQ “community” under their wing. Prominent Catholics such as Cardinal Robert McElroy and Fr. James Martin portray transgenders as innocents who wouldn’t hurt a fly and live in fear of hateful “transphobes.”

Yet the hate seems to run the other way, and much of it is anti-Christian. Audrey Hale targeted a Christian school, Maeve Nota attacked and desecrated a Catholic church, Kayla Denker, a transgender activist, posted a picture of herself on Twitter carrying an AR15 with threats to “behead christcucks,” “slam dunk a christcuck baby into a trash can,” and other similar sentiments. 

Meanwhile, sweatshirts advertised online carry messages such as “Respect my pronouns or yours will be was/were.” A T-shirt with three daggers reads, “Protect Trans Kids.” A sticker reads, “Respect my pronouns or die by the sword.”

As Mark Tapson points out in Front Page, “these are not vows of self-defense…these are public warnings that if you fail to participate in or celebrate this gender delusion, or simply get someone’s ‘personal pronouns’ wrong, some trans people are willing to kill you.”

Trans-activists should not be likened to the peaceful protestors who followed the Reverend Martin Luther King across the bridge in Selma. Rather, they are more reminiscent of the Paris mobs who, during the reign of terror, roared their approval at each new victim claimed by the guillotine. Many are true believers whose ideology blinds them to the humanity of others.

Trans ideology—the belief that one can change one’s gender at will—is inherently insane. It’s no wonder that the trans community suffers from so much mental illness. And as trans hysteria continues to spread through our society, we can expect to see many more young people get caught up in the delusion.

Those who are truly concerned about the fate of these young people should endeavor to free them from their delusion and not to feed into it out of a misguided desire to be affirmative.

This article originally appeared in the May 2, 2023 edition of Crisis.

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