Tag Archives: Tennessee

TN Had 5 Accidental Shootings This Week

Hello, America. There were five accidental shootings during a 7-day period in Tennessee this month. Most involved “responsible” gun owners who should have known better. So let’s dispense with the bullshit that gun owners are the “safest, most responsible citizens EVAH” who should be allowed to carry everywhere and anywhere to keep us all safe because calling 911 is useless.

Get over your damn selves.

The Tennessee Gun Report used to be a regular feature over here but it fell victim to my work schedule, along with everything else on this blog. However, five accidental shootings in one week is just too obvious to let pass.

All of this comes as Middle Tennessee cities like Murfreesboro and Nashville attempt to tackle gun violence.

It’s like saving a sinking ship with a bucket, guys. The problem is a culture that glorifies guns, views guns as the solution to every problems, and people who mindlessly repeat NRA propaganda without stopping to think what they’re even saying. “Ah have a raaaght to protect mah self and mah fambileee.” Yes, and of course a gun is the only way to do it, too. Meanwhile, these 2nd Amendment heroes are leaving their guns lying around for kids to find, shooting themselves and others while at the Walmart, or else their weapons become easy targets for thieves, who sell them to gangs.

Yesterday I had an argument with a friend who is an NRA supporter. He got so angry with me that he said he was going straight to the shooting range to let off some steam. Just as the Founders intended, amiright? I mean, that tells you everything you need to know about gun culture and the guys who love it. Saying you’re going to the gun range to let off some steam pretty much negates every single pro-NRA argument we’ve heard, but he was too stupid to see it.

As for those 5 accidental shootings in one week? Here they are:

• May 22, 2017:

18 year old Murfreesboro teenager accidentally shot himself in the foot.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – Police now say an 18-year-old who suffered a gunshot injury to his foot accidentally shot himself in Murfreesboro not too far from Middle Tennessee State University.

It happened at University Gables on South Rutherford Boulevard just after midnight.

According to a police report, the victim initially said he was at a party at the apartment complex when shots were fired while he was by the basketball court and that he was struck in the foot when he began to run.

He was taken to St. Thomas Rutherford with minor injuries and police later determined it was an accidental shooting.

They always initially blame it on some drive-by or non-existent assailant. Of course it was an accidental shooting. They usually are.

• May 19, 2017:

2 injured in reported accidental shooting at gun store

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Two people were shot in what appears to have been an accident at a Madison gun store.

The incident happened just after 11 a.m. at nRange on Gallatin Pike North.

One person was shot in the ankle. The other was shot in the finger.

Police are continuing to investigate the situation.

At a gun store. You’d think people who handle firearms for their goddamn job would know what they were doing. You would be wrong.

• May 18, 2017:

Man’s gun goes off while shopping at Clinton Walmart

An off-duty employee of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department accidentally caused quite a bit of a scene inside an East Tennessee Walmart when his gun discharged during a shopping trip. 

According to an incident report from the Clinton Police Department, on May 18 Brian Ball told authorities he had just made his purchase at the Clinton Walmart and was walking past the restrooms when he heard a loud bang. Ball then realized his gun had gone off.

He told responding officers that the bullet blew a hole through his shorts and grazed off the inside of his foot, but he wasn’t severely injured. 

According to Chief Deputy Mark Lucas, Ball is an employee of the jail.

Ball explained to officers that the firearm wasn’t holstered and was loose in his right shorts pocket when it went off, according to the report.

Another customer standing across from the bathrooms reported hearing a loud bang and then “a small sting on her foot.” She then noticed a small scratch bleeding from one of her toes “that possibly came from the bullet fragments,” the incident report noted.

Ball said that right after the incident he checked to make sure he wasn’t hurt, then sat down on a bench inside the store and cleared the firearm and took out the magazine.

Investigators found that the gun that discharged was not his service weapon, but was one he had registered with a Tennessee handgun carrying permit.

Ah, a CCW holder, one of our “safest, most responsible NEVER” citizens. I’m so glad our state legislature elevated CCW holders to near holy status, making sure they can carry everywhere and anywhere, as if they’ve got some kind of damn superpowers, even though this dufus had a gun loose in his shorts pocket.

Let us dispense with the assumption that these idiots are any safer or more responsible than your average Walmart redneck.

• May 16, 2017:

Police report: 10-year-old in Bradley Co. accidentally shot himself with his parents’ gun

BRADLEY COUNTY, Tenn. — A ten year old boy accidentally shoots himself in Bradley County, and according to an incident report he used his parent’s gun.

Family says the boy is ok and now out of the hospital.

[…]

According to a police report, the 10-year-old was in his bedroom when he accidentally shot himself in the arm.
His parents told officers that he was talking to his friend on the computer when they heard a gunshot.

His parents also told police they didn’t know he had gotten a hold of the gun they’d “put up in a safe place.” The police report doesn’t specify if it was locked up.

Warren Duncan owns a gun shop.

Dad owns a gun shop. You’d think people who handle firearms for their goddamn job would know what safe gun storage is all about. But I repeat myself.

• May 16, 2017:

Teen accidentally shot after home burglary

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – Video helped Memphis police chase down a 15-year-old, who they say accidentally shot a 14-year-old right after a burglary.

Using video from a camera inside the home, police instantly recognized the two teens. They knew where they hung out and quickly left to find them.

An alert of an intruder on Rhonnie Brewer’s phone Saturday afternoon warned she and her daughter about the two teens inside their home.

Brewer called police as her daughter watched the teens rummage through their East Memphis home looking for valuables.

“They had pretty much pulled out every drawer, every (sic) clothes from out of the closet, I mean just deeply looking at things,” Brewer said.

An alarm triggered by Brewer’s phone scared away the two boys before police arrived.

Two iPads, about $500, her daughter’s backpack with a library book inside, and Brewer’s hand gun were all taken that afternoon from her Leatherwood home.

“I wasn’t so much worried about myself and my own safety as much, as it was what he would do while he was afraid with a loaded weapon,” Brewer said.

That loaded weapon was fired accidentally not long after the burglary, hitting a 14-year-old boy.

I love that Rhonnie Brewer has a sophisticated in-home security system with video cameras and cell-phone alerts but doesn’t have a goddamn gun safe in her house. Lock your fucking weapons up, lady. What the hell is wrong with you?

People are just too stupid to own guns.

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Filed under Guns, 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

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

Here Comes The Wing Dang Doodle

Hello, Tennessee! Yes, your legislature still has a Republican supermajority. So let the crazy games begin!

Republican Tennessee State Senator Janice Bowling apparently doesn’t have anything more important to do than worry about what your married gay friends and family call each other. Check out what this lover of “limited government” is doing in her bill covering the semantics of family life, SB-0030:

linguistics

There’s a House version, HB-0030, sponsored by John Ragan.

Now, that’s what I call small government! Deciding what words married gay people and their kids have a right to use! This is keeping people up nights? Well, I’m sure it all came from the fevered dreams of David Fowler, he of the TN Family Assn. Family Action Council, where all the rest of this culture war nonsense originates.

I just can’t imagine what the point of this is, except some good old-fashioned shaming, contempt and mortification. YOUR marriage is different! YOUR family is different! YOU don’t get to have a husband, and YOU don’t get to have a wife. YOU only get to have a spouse. And YOU, little Timmy and Jenny, YOUR family is different from everyone else’s! YOUR FAMILY IS NOT NORMAL. That’s what the point of this is, isn’t it? Just, basically, to be dicks?

Here’s how stuff like this usually plays out: even though the legislation is sponsored by rural county Republicans (Sen. Janice Bowling’s District 16 covers Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, Sequatchie, Van Buren and Warren Counties, while Rep. John Ragan is from District 33, Anderson County), if the bill moves on up the food chain and becomes a national story, it will be Nashville which suffers. Nashville is the biggst city here, and Nashville is where the big conferences, sporting events and concert tours come. So when people want to punish the state for bigoted, anti-gay legislation, they launch boycotts of Nashville. Even though Nashville is a progressive city, which was the first to have an anti-discrimination ordinance (which the state overturned) and sends to the legislature pro-GLBT legislators, we still have to pay the price when our redneck neighbors get up to their old tricks. So it’s Nashville which stands to lose sports tournaments and professional conferences, while the rural rednecks who sponsored this hate in the first place get to spout their sanctimonious bullshit and go on their merry way, never suffering any consequences whatsoever. Everything bad will happen to someone else — someone they despise, by the way, so it serves us liberal pantywaists right.

So here’s a pre-emptive word to the wise, because if it’s not this particular piece of crackpottery, it will surely be something else: please target your activism toward the actual crazies in the legislature, not your allies representing Nashville. How about sending a message to Nissan USA, whose “Decherd No. 2” plant builds Infiniti engines in Winchester? Or why not send some letters to the CEO of Silver Spring, Md.-based Competitive Power Ventures Inc., which one year ago announced a $1 billion power plant in Grundy County? Or Germany’s Mann+Hummel, which builds car parts and has a plant in Dunlap, TN? Or maybe send a message to the CEO of 3M, which recently invested $135 million in a new Anderson County plant? Or why not hit the Google and find out which lefty-leaning corporations (CostCo, Amazon, Netflix, etc.) have distribution centers in these rural counties?

I strongly suspect that these corporations will have the ear of State Sen. Janice Bowling and House Rep. John Ragan to a far greater extent than liberal activists in Nashville, whom they already despise and are happy to ignore.

1 Comment

Filed under boycotts, GLBT, LGBT, marriage, Tennessee politics, Tennesseee

Tennessee Gun Report

While the state tries to figure out if it has the worst or best accidental gun fatality rate in the land, Greene County grapples with its own dubious distinction, leading the state in gunfail. It’s something I’ve long suspected.

Sheriff Hankins said after we showed him the high number of gun incidents in his county, he plans to work with area gun shops and ranges to set up more classes and raise awareness about safety.

Probably a good idea, bro. Because ….. read on.

• September 25, 2016:

A 12-year-old in Nasville was shot in the leg by another child this morning. Update:

Metro Capt. Jason Reinbold said the shooting took place when a group of children […] ran out to the driveway to meet a visitor who had just arrived. The visitor, a woman who has not been identified, had a gun in her car, Reinbold said.

The 2-year-old child found the gun and accidentally fired, hitting the 12-year-old in the leg, Reinbold said.

Dear god, let’s charge that idiot woman with negligence.

• September 24, 2016:

There appears to have been an accidental shooting in Memphis, with the victim in critical condition. No other information at this time, however.

• September 23, 2016:

1- One of our safest, most responsible citizens EVAH took his gun to work, as the law allows, and promptly shot the place up, killing two supervisors before turning the gun on  himself. Slow clap, Tennessee. Getting harder to tell the good guys with guns from the bad  guys.

2- A Madison Co. corrections officer has been suspended after his gun discharged at the jail.

• September 22, 2016:

Another incident involving a CCW holder, this one out of Columbia. Guy was drunk and brandishing a gun at a car containing children in a case of rage, because safest, most responsible, etc.

• September 21, 2016:

A 15-year-old student brought a gun to Siegel High School in Rutherford County.

• September 16, 2016:

1- Congratulations, Greeneville! The state capital of gunfail notches an entry in this week’s run-down: a man accidentally shot a relative in the eye attempting to shoot a dog. For some reason I get the feeling that a trailer park might have been involved. Just a hunch.

2- A Murfreesboro man has been charged with plotting to assassinate two Democratic members of Congress, neither of whom are from Tennessee, and threatening to shoot up a courthouse:

Kaehiokahouna Stewart, 36, was arrested Friday morning at his home, officials said. Court documents and officials say Stewart went so far as to buy a plane ticket to Hawaii to carry out his murder plot.

A complaint filed by the government says Stewart sent threatening emails and posted threatening videos on social media, specifically targeting U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

On Aug. 19, Stewart sent an email saying he would fly from Nashville to Honolulu on Nov. 1 “with the intent to shoot people at the Princess Jonah Federal Building,” a news release from U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee David Rivera’s office says.

The complaint says Stewart has sent grievances to various government officials, including Hirono, Gabbard and President Barack Obama, since November 2013.

“Stewart falsely believed that his (Social Security number) had been duplicated and issued to a fellow soldier he met while stationed at Camp Stanley in Korea in 2002,” the news release says.

He wrote to the Social Security Administration and Department of Defense saying they ruined his life.

“Stewart demanded he receive 100% Veterans Administration disability and $50 billion or he would purchase a gun and a silencer and would not be responsible for any crimes he committed,” the complaint says. It also says Stewart’s Social Security number was determined to be one digit different from the other U.S. Army soldier.

So many crazy people out there and every damn one of them can buy a gun, no questions asked.

• September 14, 2016:
1- A Roan Mountain hunter was accidentally shot when his hunting partner tripped.

2- Members of the Tennessee Firearms Assn. tried to test the Tennessee Valley Fair’s ban on firearms in order to gain standing for a legal challenge of the ban.

Nobody actually entered the fairgrounds or was arrested. However, they recorded a police officer telling them they’d be “subject” to arrest if they entered the fair armed.

Okie dokie.

• September 13, 2016:

Multiple weapons stolen from a home in Memphis.

• September 10, 2016:

1- Two are injured in separate accidental shooting incidents in Clarksville:

CLARKSVILLE — One man was injured Friday night after accidentally shooting himself while cleaning a gun, and another was hit by stray gunfire during an altercation on Ryder Avenue early Saturday morning, according to Clarksville Police.

Are we safer yet?

2- A gun-toting UT football fan didn’t show much sense when voicing her support for the Vols at the Battle of Bristol:

bristol

• September 9, 2016:

1- Two Nashville teenagers tried to rob a pizza delivery man but it all went awry when one of the robbers accidentally shot himself in the arm.

2- This responsible Chattanooga-area gun owner launched a standoff with law enforcement and fired as many as 30 shots at 6 sheriff’s deputies.

We haven’t really talked about this but Google “standoff with police” and be amazed at the huge number of angry white males armed for battle who are terrorizing their neighborhoods these days. It’s really quite shocking.

• September 8, 2016:

In Louisville (Tennessee, not Kentucky) a woman isn’t charged after shooting a nine-year-old in the head. Because, accidents:

The sheriff’s office said the boy’s mother was handling the gun while the boy was playing and it went off by accident.

They said the round traveled through the floor and sub-floor to to the first floor and struck the boy on the forehead.

• September 5, 2016:

A dispute between neighbors in Drummonds starts with one firing gunshots into the woods and ends with the other bulldozing a house in the middle of the night.

• September 2, 2016:

A Goodlettsville man was arrested for trying to enter Canada with a gun.

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Filed under Housekeeping

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

Privatize The Gains, Socialize The Losses

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, the richest governor in America, has been working to make his family business even richer, and the rest of us poorer, according to The Tennesseean:

After taking office, Gov. Bill Haslam reconstituted an obscure board that enforces environmental rules for the industry that helped make him the richest elected official in America.

Since then, the Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board has taken steps to shift the financial burden of cleaning up toxic spills at gas stations and truck stops from business owners to taxpayers.

The 14-member board, 12 of whom are appointed by the governor, sets rules for the $50 million environmental fund overseen by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, or TDEC. The fund has been paying to clean up spills since 1990. It is financed by a combination of a gas tax paid by consumers at the pump and an annual fee paid by owners of petroleum tanks.

Since the board has been reconfigured, members representing consumers have been eliminated.

The board, which retained its four petroleum industry members, has voted in favor of a resolution to increase the state dollars available to private companies for environmental spills caused by failures or accidents from $1 million to $2 million. That became law in 2015.

This year, a new law gives the board the power to give all gas stations and truck stops a big break — suspending their annual fees to the cleanup fund entirely. Some board members have signaled their support for eliminating those fees this year — despite hearing from the man in charge of the state’s underground storage tank program that a “historically high burden of this funding has shifted onto the public.”

Suspending the industry’s financial contributions would leave taxpayers, who haven’t gotten the same breaks as gas stations and truck stops, bearing full financial responsibility for toxic spills.

Surpriiiise, surpriiise!

This isn’t the first time Gov. Haslam has used his position to enrich his crooked family business. But … blind trusts, yada yada.

And I know my conservative friends are going to say, “But wait, Beale, those costs get handed down to consumers anyway,” after all, isn’t that what they always say? Isn’t that the whole point of “deregulation” and the glorious, unfettered free hand of the market and all that crap? The thing is, the costs don’t get passed down to consumers on a dollar for dollar basis, there is only so much of this “passing on to consumers” that the market can bear.

And this is the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Democrats believe in making industry pay for the damage they cause. If you pollute, you pay. If you make a mess, you clean it up. If your underground storage tanks are leaking, you fix it, and you fix the mess you made. It’s like kindergarten, people. Easy-peasy.

Republicans think that’s so unfair, you guys! Republicans believe that their rich friends should be allowed to do whatever they want, and let the chips fall where they may. Because they think that when they prosper, everyone prospers. It “trickles down,” don’tcha know. They still believe that nonsense!

Meanwhile, the only thing trickling down is polluted ground water and contaminated soil. But what do they care? They live in their gated communities with the private water source and they jet off to Aspen and Europe and all that, where they don’t have to live with the mess they create. They aren’t really affected, are they? It’s not their groundwater, is it? It’s yours! If you want it to be clean, you pay for it! That’s what they believe.

They are truly horrible people.

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Filed under Housekeeping

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.

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Filed under corporations, GLBT, Nashville, Tennessee