Almost immediately, Covenant School shooter Audrey Hale’s Instagram account was deactivated. Shortly after, the public lost access to her Facebook, LinkedIn, even her Redbubble. What don’t the heads of these sites want you to see?
As of late Monday, her LinkedIn profile was still up, providing more insight into her professional career as a cat sitter, personal grocery shopper, and graphic designer. It functioned as the key giveaway she was aiming to present masculinely, with links showing the name “Aiden,” not Audrey. The page has since been removed.
Hale’s LinkedIn originally featured redirects to Hale’s professional accounts: her Redbubble, a centralized marketplace for freelance artists; her Facebook page, called “Aiden Creates;” and her personal website, AH Illustrations.
The sites monitored by larger companies now bring you to an empty page with an error message.
Hale’s personal website, presumedly self-monitored, is the only one still standing. The relevance of the artwork is disturbing.
What an audience may have once called “wholesome” now strikes the onlooker as eerie, perhaps a grim foreshadowing of the premeditated massacre. Hale’s subjects revolve around children’s themes, such as stuffed animals, Disney characters, and playgrounds.
Hale seems to have been infatuated with the burgeoning aesthetic known as “kidcore.” Having grown in popularity during 2020’s government-imposed COVID lockdowns, “kidcore” is sometimes categorized as a fandom or subculture. Basically, it’s a cartoonish hyper-nostalgia for flashy colors and comforting images of children’s television shows, clothing, or toys.
Hale admits this in her website bio, claiming, “There is a child-like part of me that loves to go run to the playground.”
Screen capture: Audrey Hale’s “About” section on https://ahillustrations.myportfolio.com/.
More of Hale’s work suggests she identified as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
There is also a deeply disturbing work in reference to The Shining, a Stephen King novel-made-movie about a writer who, plagued by a demonic energy, devolves into a murderous maniac.
Repeated phrases across Hales graphic, references to the film, include “gone insane” and “all work and no play.”
But the most unsettling art on Hale’s site shows someone in oversized children’s pajama pants and skateboarding shoes on what appears to be a playground swing. Above the poorly tied laces is the phrase, “To be a kid forever and ever.” The text is surrounded with hand-drawn animals in the style of a child.
Audrey seems to have struggled with “growing up.” Her fashion suggests she wished to present not merely as a male but as a young boy: backwards hats, chunky sneakers, graphic tees.
At the end of her life, Audrey was demanding that friends, family and even clients concede her fantasy that she could exit… everything. Even in today’s twisted world, it’s much more societally impossible to exit the age you’re given.
When children don’t get what they want, they resort to violence. Her internal struggle—whether born of selfishness, jealousy or extreme bewilderment—drove her mad. Though her manifesto is forthcoming, I predict her motive largely vengeance. Her youth left her, so she organized a bloodbath to steal youth from those at Nashville’s Covenant School.
In the end, Audrey Hale got what she wanted. Six are dead, more young children are forever destroyed, and both her names are known. Though only 28 when fatally shot by Metro Nashville Police, Audrey will live forever on the Internet and in the trauma of mommies and daddies, friends, and teachers as a selfish, violent child.