Category Archives: Tennessee

Elections Have Consequences, An UPDATE

Sorry for the long absence, I’ve been working like crazy.

Updating this post from last month about the poor citizens of Camden, Tennessee. To recap: a landfill in Camden, TN, started accepting hazardous waste under a loophole our Republican governor helped push through allowing landfill operators to privately petition the state’s Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board. This means a landfill that Camden citizens thought was accepting just regular old household waste was, without any public notice or public disclosure, suddenly taking in dangerous chemicals, and the reason nobody knew about it is because Gov. Haslam removed all consumer representatives from that Board, so now it’s a bunch of industry cronies gladhanding each other and doing the ol’ wink-wink-nod-nod as their buddies pollute your drinking water.

Hilariously, the Camden residents decided to ask the EPA to help out, you know, the same EPA the man they overwhelmingly voted to be president wants to eliminate and the woman they overwhelmingly support as their Congressmonster wants to defund and fold into the Dept. of Energy. It’s hilarious that everyone keeps voting for Republicans and then they end up with a toxic waste dump in their backyards and they still haven’t connected the dots.

So anyhoo, about that landfill:

CAMDEN — Operators of a controversial landfill generating hazardous waste have padlocked the gates and left the site. Two former workers said the company abandoned two tanker trucks full of potentially explosive ammonia, dozens of 250-pound plastic containers containing cadmium sludge and thousands of gallons of potentially toxic runoff near a residential neighborhood.

The company, Environmental Waste Solutions, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday.

That’s certainly not good. The citizens of Camden have every right to be pissed off, and they are:

“What if you lived next door to that?” Charles Hubbs asked Flood. “I smelled that thing this afternoon. I’m mad. I mean, I don’t care who knows….We’ve been told from the get-go that there’s no problem with hazardous waste. TDEC has for the last 10 years told us there is no problem. Everything is taken care of.”

“There was an opportunity to keep it from being the monster that it has become,” said Elizabeth Murphy, an attorney representing residents who live next door to the landfill in a long-running legal dispute with EWS. “That is at (TDEC Commissioner) Martineau’s feet…The failure has been abysmal. TDEC has failed. I have never seen anyone at TDEC really give a damn.

The landfill is home to a mound of waste that is the city’s tallest structure. It is covered partially by black tarp held down by tires, and an Astroturf-like material covers another area. Nothing will grow on the mound, nicknamed “Black Mountain” by state officials.

TDEC has failed because the state government is in Republican hands and modern Republicans don’t view environmental regulations as a benefit to peoples’ health and welfare, they view them as an obstruction to private profits. That is an absolute, 100%, incontrovertible fact. Remember Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s “TN Red Tape” tours?

Stop voting for Republicans, people. They don’t care about your water and air. C’mon, everybody knows that.

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Filed under environment, EPA, Tennessee

Lowering The Bar

Republicans have a pretty low bar in general (have you seen the nutbars in the Tennessee legislature?) but now Donald Trump has convinced many Masters of the Universe of all political stripes that they have what it takes to run the government:

“A lot of people are saying, ‘My God, if Donald Trump can get elected, anybody can get elected,’ ” said Steve Westly, a former eBay executive who ran for governor of California in 2006.

Spurred by Mr. Trump’s election — or at least encouraged by it — a contingent of rich, fairly famous and largely Democratic neophytes has begun to line up for some of the most important elections of 2017 and 2018, including for governorships in Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Nevada and New Mexico, and a mayoral race in New Orleans.

Right, cuz who needs experience! Can’t be that hard, surely?

Of course, Republicans have been doing this for years. Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Herman Cain, Kentucky’s Matt Bevin … politics is filled with Republicans with zero experience running for high office. No doubt this is because in the Republican Party, inexperience is more of a badge of honor than it is for Democrats.

We’ve got our own inexperienced businessman candidate right here in Tennessee, where a successful plumbing/HVAC contractor is thinking seriously about running for Governor on the Republican ticket. And he’s pretty proud of not knowing anything about anything, too:

“This is just about leadership and leadership around meaningful, purposeful work, and I started having conversations about public service,” Lee told the newspaper. “Ultimately, I just kind of said what it would be like to wake up in the morning instead of thinking how do I make life better for 1,100 Lee Company workers, how do I make life better for 6.5 million people?”

Lee described himself as a “very socially conservative guy who’s business minded.” He said his main priorities are jobs, education and public safety, but he acknowledged that his inexperience in politics could present a steep learning curve.

On specific questions of policy, Lee said he’s not trying to be evasive on issues, “but I’m just going, ‘Gosh, I don’t know if I would do this or that.’”

Gosh, you don’t know? Then golly gee willikers, Mr. Lee. Maybe you should sit down and figure some shit out first, y’know?

And as for this “public service” stuff, here’s a thought: try volunteering at Room In The Inn, or the women’s shelter here in town. Try working with some of the refugees in this community. Try reaching out to GLBT teens at the Oasis Center, kids who have been kicked out of their homes and have nowhere to go. You know, the modern-day equivalent of dining with the tax collectors that Jesus did back in the day (Lee supposedly opposed Metro Nashville’s non-discrimination ordinance prohibiting city contractors from discriminating against GLBT employees, so it seems he needs a little educating on some of these social issues).

Maybe before assuming you are ready for the governor’s office because you didn’t trash the family business your grandfather started (i.e., you inherited), maybe you should spend some time with the folks who didn’t get the leg up in the world that you did.

Just a thought.

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Filed under Tennessee, TNGOP

Elections Have Consequences

Call me biased but there are some issues that I firmly believe are better in Democratic hands than Republican ones. And I put the environment at the top of that list.

If you want clean air, water, soil and all the rest, Democrats are your people. Sure, we have disagreements and we’re not perfect; BernieBros purists will be happy to point out Democrats who are okay with fracking, or others who believe in “clean coal.” These are complicated issues and there are some tough choices and all the rest. But by and large, Democrats are the ones who are reliable defenders of the environment. Republicans are the ones who harp on about “red tape” and “regulations” harming jobs, who peddle fantasies about the “free hand of the market” driving polluters out of business and who constantly harp on about dismantling the EPA.

So excuse me for being a little puzzled by the people of Benton County, TN who have lately been wondering how their landfill all of a sudden started accepting hazardous waste, which appears to be a health issue for those living nearby. I’ll tell you how that happened: you overwhelming voted for Republicans at every level of government, and those people don’t give a shit about your water and air, that’s how.

Or to put it another way:

Obtaining a state permit to establish a new landfill requires public notice and disclosure about the types of waste that will be deposited so communities can discuss, debate or even intervene to stop a landfill before it starts. Once a landfill has gotten its initial permit, however, landfill owners and waste generators in Tennessee can privately petition the state to accept additional and potentially hazardous materials.

[…]

Camden Mayor Roger Pafford said no one from TDEC informed city officials that their town was now home to a hazardous waste landfill. The omission was particularly galling to city officials because the leachate – or wastewater – pipe carrying hazardous waste from the landfill flows directly above a city drinking water main.

Well, that’s bad news. So is it okay for private industries to “privately petition the state to accept additional and potentially hazardous materials” and not tell anyone what’s going on? I certainly don’t think so. But remember, our wonderful “moderate” non-crazy Gov. Haslam is the one who removed consumer representatives from the Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board. So that might be one reason why you didn’t know about the toxic sludge now buried in your backyards.

And to add insult to injury, these folks are now hoping the EPA can help them get to the bottom of this mess. They’ve actually requested that the Environmental Protection Agency investigate this.

Excuse me a moment.

{{ HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA GASP HA HA HA HA HA HA

AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA }}

Okay, I’m back now.

Have y’all seen the bill Republicans filed in Congress to eliminate the EPA? That is literally what the bill says:

The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.

And that’s it. So, Benton County, good luck with that! Even if that bill fails, have you seen the order of the President (the guy you voted for overwhelmingly) to dismantle the EPA’s clean water rule? Or his proposal to slash the EPA’s budget by a whopping 25% so we can build more nukes? I mean, you voted for it, bigly, so certainly you’re aware of the Trump mandate that EPA data and studies undergo a political review before being released to the public?

You knew about this right? Right?

So do you seriously think a Trump-era EPA has the time, money, or political mojo to go after Haslam cronies in the solid waste business? Pardon me again:

{{ HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA }}

And do you really think that Congressman Marsha Blackburn, who wants to fold the EPA into a cubby in a corner of the Dept. of Energy — and yet another politician you’ve voted for, repeatedly, by like 75% — is going to give a rats’ ass about your drinking water?

And let’s see how much Gov. Haslam, who also has your undying electoral love and devotion, cares. He’s in the midst of actually increasing the amount of toxic sludge flowing into landfills that people previously thought were for orange peels and other household waste:

TDEC is moving forward with efforts to speed up the special waste approval process. TDEC officials last month told members of the Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board – the oversight board of members appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam – they were creating an online submission portal that will allow TDEC officials to approve requests for disposal. Haslam four years ago reconstituted the board to remove consumer representatives.

So I really want to know why you idiots keep reflexively pulling the lever for Republicans when you’re worried about safe drinking water and complaining about the loss of land values because of the burning sensation when you jump in the swimming pool and the pH levels that are “off the charts.”

When will you people wake up and realize that your Republican representatives at the state and federal level do not respect you or care about you? They use gays, God and abortion to sucker you into voting for them, then they ignore you the rest of the time. They cut government to the size where it’s useless when you need it, but hey: you bought every BS line they sold you about “big government,” so you have only yourselves to blame.

And okay fine, go ahead and join the Sierra Club now as a last resort, while you try to tell yourself that you’re “not an environmentalist.” We’re all environmentalists, asshole. Poisoned air and water don’t care about your party affiliation. This stuff affects all of us, regardless.

Honestly, I don’t get it, folks.

16 Comments

Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, elections, environment, EPA, Tennessee

Does New Gun Bill Nullify All Other Gun Bills?

Surprising absolutely nobody, Republican House Rep. Micah Van Huss of Jonesborough has filed a bill allowing the open carry of handguns without a permit.

The problem with this idea, of course, is that all of the other pro-gun legislation pushed through recently has been predicated on the logic that those with carry permits are the safest, most responsible citizens evah. So if you eliminate the carry permit requirement, then what does that do to those laws? Since they only apply to those with carry permits, I guess that means that it won’t apply to these other people, right? So, what’s the point?

For example:

Guns in restaurants:

Democratic Sen. Doug Jackson, the main sponsor of the bill, said state Safety Department records show handgun permit holders in Tennessee are responsible.

This is debatable but regardless, if there’s no permit required to carry in a restaurant, then any irresponsible yahoo can carry and, well, who’s to be the wiser?

Guns in trunks:

In summary, an employer may prohibit guns anywhere on company property, but an employee with a handgun-carry permit may keep a gun out of sight in a locked vehicle in the parking lot. All other possession of weapons on company property may still be banned, and employees may still be terminated for violation of an employer’s weapons policy. Employers with operations in Tennessee will need to become familiar with the new law and evaluate their weapons policies in light of the real world facts concerning gun ownership and possession.

So, if carry permits are no longer required …. what does this mean for guns in trunks?

Gun-free business liability:

Last year the NRA fever swamp coughted up this particular piece of nuttery: any gun-free business can be sued by a concealed carrier who got injured in an incident where a gun might conceivably have been used to protect them:

The new law, SB 1736, dictates that should any concealed carry permit holder’s safety be threatened after disarming themselves to enter their place of business, then the business will be held liable.

So, pack of wolves stampedes down the aisle at the gun-free grocery? If you have a CCW permit you can try to argue that your gun would have saved you. Trying to unpack the legal logic here seems problematic (wouldn’t you have to prove you’re a good shot, for example?) but regardless, this law was definitely based on the assumption that concealed-carriers are all excellent shots who are ready to jump in and save the day. Get rid of permits and this law means what, exactly?

Guns in parks:

“My son has a concealed carry permit,” said Susan Shelton, who was at the playground with her daughter Kira Shelton and 15-month-old grandson James. “My son in-law is a corrections officer. He has a concealed carry permit.”

Susan Shelton said she trusts her son and son in-law and others who have carry permits.

“They are trained,” Susan Shelton said. “They are responsive adults. Frankly, I feel safer knowing that somebody like that is here. Bad guys are more likely to go to a gun-free zone.”

But, eliminate the permits and … what, exactly?

We are literally on the brink of making gun ownership a requirement in this state, all because of some misguided notion from the rural folk in the hinterlands that guns are these benign instruments of self-protection. That might work in East Jesus, Tennessee but it sure as all doesn’t make sense in Memphis or Nashville, and the callous disregard our rural legislators have for people in urban areas is something with which I will no longer put up. Especially considering these same people actually live and work in urban Nashville when the legislature is in session.

7 Comments

Filed under gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

Accidental Shootings Are So Embarrassing

News that Tennessee leads the nation in fatal accidental shootings has prompted the TN Dept. of Health to “correct” the data, from 105 to… wait for it…. five.

While 105 may indeed be wrong, five defies credibility. Especially when looking at previous years’ numbers:

2010 — 31

2011 — 31

2012– 24

2013 — 19

2014 — five…?

Safe Tennessee says they tracked 13 for 2015 and 12 so far this year. So five fatalities in 2014 is clearly bogus.

I started the Tennessee Gun Report in 2013, never intending to create a data base and research tool, but rather to highlight the public safety costs associated with Tennessee’s pro-gun policies. However, the tool is there. It’s imperfect: links to many news stories are now dead, there’s a lack of follow-up (too many reports of a victim “fighting for their life,” not enough updates on the outcome of that battle), too many weeks where I was too busy to track the local papers.

Still, I spent last night going through the 2014 archive and found 13 accidental gun fatalities. Definitely more in line with the numbers we’ve been seeing. And again, even this is imperfect.

There’s a real story here, and it’s just as embarrassing as the TN Dept. of Health revising a ridiculously off-base number with one equally incredible. It’s that nobody knows what the hell is going on because ignorance is more politically tenable than facts. The state legislature has unleashed a rash of liberal gun laws on the public: anyone wanting to avoid being around firearms is now forced to interact with gun owners in public places like restaurants, parks, the workplace, etc.

Shouldn’t we be interested in knowing what the public health and safety repercussions of that are?

Clearly, the state is unable to accurately track this data. And I can attest that the job is too big for one private citizen to do, too.

We need real data, of the kind funded by the Federal government. It’s long past time for people to grow a pair and stand up to the NRA and TN Firearms Assn. on this issue.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

Tennessee Finally #1 At Something

Congratulations, Tennessee!

Tennessee now ranks first in the nation for fatal unintentional shootings according to the most recent data from The Centers for Disease Control. Previously, Tennessee ranked 9th based on statistics from 2013, when 19 Tennesseans died in accidental shootings. In 2014, the number jumped to 105. Unintentional shootings involving adults most often occur when gun owners fail to clear the chamber before cleaning or handling firearms or when loaded guns are dropped. Unintentional shootings involving children most often occur when children gain access to unsecured, loaded guns that have not been safely stored

[…]

“We’ve actually been aware of the new numbers for several months, but the increase was so dramatic that we wanted to confirm the numbers before reporting them,” said Beth Joslin Roth, Policy Director for The Safe Tennessee Project. “We reached out to the CDC who explained that the numbers in their national database were uploaded directly from the state health departments. We then reached out to the Tennessee Department of Health who checked their records and verified that the numbers were in fact correct.

From 9th to #1 in just a couple years. It’s almost as if allowing guns in more places and telling everyone they need to get a handgun permit was a stupid idea.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

Tennessee Gun Report

I’m so far behind on this it ain’t even funny. The problem with tracking gun accidents and gun fail in general is that there’s so much, after a while one gets overwhelmed. So I sorta stopped looking, to be honest. I took August off. So, here are some of the most notable incidents over the past month, but it’s by no means a comprehensive list. According to the Safe Tennessee Project, the number of accidental shootings in TN this year has already surpassed all of 2015.

By the way, this article is in the current issue of Vanity Fair (the one with bikini-clad Margot Robbie on the cover.) I say it’s a definite must-read. It’s a fascinating look at the NRA, now more vulnerable than ever. One thing I hadn’t considered was the impact of 3-D printers on the gun manufacturers; since that is who the NRA really represents, the time is fast coming when they will have to draw a line in the sand on their “guns here, guns there, guns everywhere” stance.

Without further ado, your roundup of Tennessee gunfail.

• September 4, 2016:

1- Stray bullets rain down on a toddler’s birthday party at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge:

Whitney Smith was hosting the party for her son Ty’s fifth birthday when the celebration was interrupted by a shower of bullets.

Several unidentified people were shooting guns in a field on one side of Melton Hill Lake as stray bullets came across the lake to an area where the party was being held.

No one was hurt during the incident and no one has been charged.

No one charged; duck and cover, kids! You’re in Tennessee!

2- Lower Broadway is Nashville’s tourist district. It’s sorta like Bourbon Street or Beale Street every weekend down there. Bars, honky tonks, and the Bridgestone Arena are all in the vicinity. So it can’t be good for business to learn it’s also a place where someone can get shot by a stray bullet:

Kyle Freeman, 23, of Smyrna says he did not realize he was shot at first.

Freeman was walking with friends near the intersection of 2nd avenue and Broadway when he says he felt pain on the upper left side of his back.

Freeman says he continued walking a block before he realized he was shot and notified police.

He was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Despite the large crowd downtown, no one saw anyone with a gun.

Good grief. The only time I go downtown anymore is to go to a hockey game. Guess I’d better wear Kevlar. And by the way, this is not the first time this has happened: see the July 5, 2016 entry from this edition of the Tennessee Gun Report.

• September 1, 2016:

A responsible gun owner responsibly tried to bring their loaded gun through security at the Memphis airport.

• August 31, 2016:

A Nashville toddler accidentally shot himself with dad’s gun. Dad is a licensed security guard with a handgun permit. Safest, most responsible, etc.

• August 29, 2016:

Someone accidentally shot himself in the leg in Greeneville. Or as we call it, Monday:

The victim and his wife both told deputies that Wolfe was in a downstairs bathroom pulling up his pants when a .22 caliber derringer pistol that he kept in a small nylon cellphone case clipped to his waistband discharged.

The case fell from the waistband while still in the case and discharged when it hit the floor, and a bullet hit Wolfe in the leg, the report said.

That gun sure kept him safe, though.

• August 23, 2016:

Four Tennessee firearms executives have been sentenced for illegal gun running.

• August 22, 2016:

Drugs and a BB gun were found in a Gibson County high school student’s car.

• August 18, 2016:

In Franklin, an 11-year-old found a loaded gun in the family’s Hertz Rent-A-Car.

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – A man’s child found a loaded gun in the backseat of their rental car, while his two other children were also in the back seat.

In Franklin, a man’s 11-year-old found a loaded gun in the backseat of their Hertz Rent-a-Car:

It happened after Mike Burk’s 11-year-old son Carter found the gun, and Carter said he’s just glad he found it and not his little brother.

“It was out, it was a gun, and it was facing Mason,” said Carter Burk.

Burk dialed 911 and drove to the Franklin police station and waited for officers to come out and expect the weapon.

Officers confiscated the weapon, but said it was not stolen, and no laws appeared to have been broken. Yet, Mike Burk said he will be doing his own thorough inspections from now on.

Ohhh no laws were broken, so we’re all good! Shouldn’t there be a law against leaving your gun lying around like that? By the way, was there ever an update on this story? Not that I saw. Maybe I missed something. I’d sure like to know who left that gun behind and if they were charged with negligence.

Oh, and this is not the first time this has happened, either. See here and here, for starters. Nothing to see … move along.

• August 17, 2016:

1- An employee of the gift shop at the Memphis airport brought their [loaded] gun to work, and the TSA employee who let her through security got fired for it:

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – A TSA officer at Memphis International Airport resigned after a gift shop employee was accused of bringing a loaded gun inside the airport.

TSA security lines were shut down and passengers were stopped from leaving the airport on Monday afternoon during the incident.

According to the police report, a TSA agent noticed a strange object inside Paradies employee Shwundra Boxiley’s bag. An agent, who did not check the bag, gave it back to Boxiley, who then left the checkpoint area.

Oops.

2- Two teens at Giles County High School were arrested on weapons charges. This is the part I love:

According to a press release, Orlando Ray Jr. was seen in the car rider line waiving a weapon out the window.

Stupid kids.

• August 13, 2016:

A Rockwood police officer accidentally fired a live round during a drill at a middle school.

• August 9, 2016:

A Hendersonville dad accidentally shot and killed his 11-year-old daughter on the first day of school, then lied to police about it:

He told police that he shot his daughter after being awakened by a sound in the house. He said he got the gun from his dresser and shot it.

[…]

Originally, police were told that Timea was shot between the bus stop near their home and their house. Police were told the young girl went into the house and told her dad that she had been shot.

After obtaining a search warrant to enter the home, police discovered that Timea had actually been shot inside the home.

Multiple charges have been filed because dad is a felon who shouldn’t have had a gun and he lied about what happened. Which makes me feel so much safer, considering shit like this happens all the time to non-felons, who aren’t charged at all.

• August 8, 2016:

A Rutherford County sheriff’s deputy had his rifle stolen from his patrol car.

• August 1, 2016:

In Murfreesboro, a kid found his uncle’s gun on the bedroom dresser and accidentally fired it into the apartment downstairs.

• July 14, 2016:

Guns in cars, in Murfreesboro:

Officers were told that the driver of a Nissan Titan pulled in front of another driver traveling southeast near the corner of Northwest Broad Street and Van Cleve Avenue about 5:45 p.m., according to the incident report.

The driver of the other vehicle was forced to stop abruptly when the truck pulled in front of him. When he pulled into the left lane of traffic alongside the truck’s driver, the suspect pointed a semiautomatic compact gun at him and shouted expletives, the report stated.

The suspect, whom the driver described as a white male in his 20s with facial hair and a red cast on his thumb, was last seen on North Thompson Lane, the report stated.

Angry white 20-something males waving guns around to compensate for their sense of powerlessness. Almost like it’s a trend now.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

Rewarding Bad Behavior

If you are a major American brand trying to burnish your pro-GLBT bonafides with company policies that embrace inclusiveness and tolerance, I salute you.

But if you are a major American brand proud of this record of tolerance and inclusiveness, then please stop talking out of both sides of your mouth:

Nashville, TN – Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd joined Lowe’s in announcing the company will locate a new direct fulfillment center in Robertson County.

The home improvement company expects to invest approximately $100 million and create up to 600 jobs in Coopertown, northwest of Nashville.

Yes, this is huge for this community north of Nashville. And yet, Robertson County’s two representatives to the state legislature (Republicans, ‘natch) — State Rep. Sabi Kumar and State Senator Kerry Roberts — both supported the discriminatory anti-LGBT counseling bill. Both voted for it; in fact, Roberts serves on the Health And Welfare Committee which could have stopped this bill in its infancy, but every single Republican moved it forward. Shame.

This is the same bill which has caused the city of Nashville so many problems: the loss of conferences, backlash from celebrities and the like. Nashville, the first city in the state to pass an anti-GLBT discrimination ordinance, forbidding the city from contracting with companies that discriminate. Nashville, whose Democratic reps have opposed discrimination. But we’re the ones who pay, while Robertson County is rewarded for its intolerance.

I’ve mentioned it before (notably here), but boycotts don’t work if they don’t hurt the people who are doing wrong. Boycotts and bad national PR don’t work if they hurt your allies, not your enemies. And maybe we’ve reached a point where boycotts just don’t work, period (a position I have certainly stated before).

I don’t have the answer. I do know that claiming you’re pro-tolerance and pro-inclusion while rewarding the people who vote for bigots sends a mixed message. What are we to do?

Years ago I wrote:

Last year I had a conversation with a Very Famous Person™ who is generally regarded as a “forward thinker” on a lot of this stuff. He told me he sees the utter collapse of industry as we know it and the emergence of a new industry, one that is driven by these smaller communities. New products that aren’t harmful to the health or the planet will be created by members of the community. He told me social connectivity is the game-changer. Yes, walls are being put up, but as fast as they do people build ladders around them.

And I see this happening around me in a hundred different ways. We homeschool our kids, we buy food at the farmer’s market, we have 500 different channels to watch on TV instead of 10, we get our news from blogs and Tweets not just the corporate fish-wrap and Villagers in Washington. We’re starting down the path of decentralization, it’s only just begun but a profound societal shift has been put in motion.

This idea still resonates with me today. If Home Depot personifies right-wing evil (pro-tip: it does!) and Lowe’s personifies political hypocrisy, I guess the answer is for me to find that cute little liberal mom-and-pop hardware store where everyone who works there agrees with me 100% of the time. Good luck to me.

The alternative is to try to root out the intolerance and bigotry the old-fashioned way, and just turn off all the other noise. The conundrum is that it isn’t just noise: you can’t check out of a national conversation on justice and civil rights and human rights; if someone is going to spout some intolerant BS, don’t expect me to remain silent about it.

I point all of these things out because I feel like we live in very complicated times, where the old rules about social action no longer apply. I have friends who live in Robertson County, I’m sure these jobs will uplift some really good people. But by the same time, these rural counties need to stop sending crazy people to the legislature. Because we all end up hurting in the long run.

3 Comments

Filed under corporations, GLBT, Nashville, Tennessee

Tennessee Gun Report

Time to check in with Tennessee’s gun crazies.

• July 13, 2016:

A Maryville man accidentally shot a woman in the stomach, then lied to police about it:

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office was called to a mobile home on Tomotley Road Thursday night around 6 p.m. where they found Kassie Deanna Hill, 34, with a gunshot wound to the stomach.

Carver told deputies a man wearing black clothing and a black cap came inside and shot Hill in the stomach and then ran through a field and woods behind the home.

After conducting an investigation, Carver admitted he lied about the home invasion and said his gun accidentally discharged while he and Hill were in close contact. HIll’s and Carver’s accounts matched up.

• July 11, 2016:

After the shootings of police officers in Dallas, this lone TN National Guardsman decided to “stand guard” outside the Murfreesboro police department. Dude looks kinda stupid if you ask me.

Stand_Guard_123

TN National Guard told him he can’t do it in uniform representing the Guard.

• July 9, 2016:

Who cares if the Republicans have a supermajority in our state legislature? Tennessee Democrats aren’t sitting still when it comes to gun violence. They’ve just announced their “10 for TN” plan to tackle the issue. Some good ideas here; now, let’s get to work electing more Democrats so this can actually happen.

• July 8, 2016:

Gee, it’s almost as if having civilians armed to the teeth might be a problem for law enforcement or something:

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) – Authorities in Tennessee say a man who opened fire on a highway in Tennessee targeted police officers and others because he was troubled by incidents involving black people and law enforcement officers.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says in a news release that initial conversations with the suspect, identified as Lakeem Keon Scott revealed he was troubled by incidents across the U.S. The TBI says the suspect is black; the shooting victims are all white.

Investigators say Scott killed one person and wounded three others, including a police officer. Scott had two guns early Thursday morning when he shot at a motel in Bristol, Tennessee, and then shot indiscriminately at several passing cars. When he was confronted by police, he fired at the three officers who responded.

Nobody could have anticipated….

• July 5, 2016:

1- A man in Nashville’s downtown tourist district was struck by a stray bullet, possibly from celebratory gunfire. In 2015, two people visiting Nashville for its huge Fourth of July event were hit by celebratory gunfire.

2- A judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by the wacko Tennessee Firearms Assn. and Bill Goodman Shows over a ban on gun shows at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.

3- Too many “responsible” gun owners are too cavalier with the storing of their weapons, leaving them in unlocked cars or unlocked houses, where they inevitably end up used in crimes. Can’t say that’s where all of these 9,000 gun originated but it’s safe to say a hefty percentage did:

Nearly 9,000 guns seized across U.S. in 2015 have been traced back to original TN owners Most were used in crimes

Law enforcement agencies across the United States picked up almost 9,000 guns during 2015 that traced back to original owners in Tennessee, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Most of the 8,841 guns were seized after they were used in crimes, while some of the weapons may have been found or turned in to law enforcement agencies voluntarily.

The guns were recovered from 49 states, and the states closest to Tennessee saw the most guns from Tennessee, according to a new report from ATF. Mississippi topped the list with 392 guns, followed by Georgia with 256.

On average, it took 10.5 years for a gun to go from its first owner to being used in a crime and recovered by law enforcement, according to the report.

That “time to crime” statistic helps ATF agents recognize when someone is purchasing weapons and intentionally selling them to be used in crimes, said special agent Michael Knight. A quick turnaround is suspicious, he said.

Interesting stuff.

• July 3, 2016:

A 17-year-old girl in Chattanooga accidentally shot herself.

• July 2, 2016:

Accidental shooting deaths are on the rise in Tennessee. Just as we allow more guns, everywhere. Hmm… what a coinky doinky!

• July 1, 2016:

1- A toddler in Clarksville shot himself in the face and died:

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A 3-year-old has died after he accidentally shot himself in the face.

It happened shortly before 5:30 p.m. Friday on Samantha Lane in Clarksville.

The toddler was taken to Tennova Healthcare-Clarksville in critical condition but later passed away.

Clarksville officials told News 2 this appears to be an accidental shooting.

The house was “Protected By 2nd Amendment Security”:

Screen-Shot-2016-07-03-at-12.46.12-PM

That gun sure kept that kid safe. Except that one time.

2- A Greene County man was driving home from work when his van was struck by a stray bullet.

• June 24, 2016:

Three people, including a Cleveland TN restaurant owner, were shooting an AR-15 and pistols at a jug on top of a trailer, and learned first-hand why that’s a really bad idea:

The weapons — described by the shooters as an AR-15 rifle and two pistols — were aimed at a 5-gallon water jug sitting on top of a trailer on Majeske’s property, according to a police report.

Beyond the trailer are woods, and behind the woods are three houses a “substantial distance away,” Bradford said.

“As they were shooting, bullets were actually going into multiple residences,” Bradford said. “Our deputies who got to the scene observed bullets striking trees and various objects around those residences. People were woken up by the gunfire that happened around midnight.”

Deputies found bullet holes in three homes, including the bedroom wall of one house and near the kitchen and back door of another home, where an adult and four children live.

The neighbors were evacuated from their houses as deputies tried to figure out where the bullets were coming from, Bradford said.

Are we safer yet?

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

Tweet Of The Day

From Tennessee State Rep. John Ray Clemmons, Democrat (of course), of Nashville:

JRClemmons

Clemmons is referring to the anti-GLBT counseling bill our Republican state legislature recently passed and which our Republican governor signed into law. Two counseling groups pulled conventions out of Nashville over the legislation, even though the Nashville delegation to the legislature overwhelming opposed the bills, in effect punishing those who agree with them.

And God, I am so sick of the hypocrisy. I’m sure the GLBT community really appreciates the thoughts and prayers of Republicans who have devoted the past few years to telling them who they can marry, where they can pee, which counselor they can see, which bakery and pizza parlor to do business with, etc. In fact, enter the search terms “TN anti-gay bill” into any search engine and you’ll find a long list of “thoughts and prayers” from Tennessee Republicans.

Oh lookie, here are some:

tn anti gay bill

Take your thoughts and prayers and shove them, you transparent, phobic, phonies. And stop telling me the enemy is “radical Islam.” The Orlando shooter didn’t need to go to Syria to learn how to hate gay people, we’ve got plenty of assholes spouting that shit right here at home. Some even have friends in very high places. The fact that the Orlando shooter was Muslim, not Christian, seems to be more a matter of time zones and determination.

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Filed under Current Events, GLBT, Tennessee, Tennessee politics