Tag Archives: Tennessee

Summer In Tennessee: An Abbreviated Gun Report

I’m sorry I don’t have time to keep the gun report going but we did have two accidental shootings (at least) reported this week.

First, I want to call everyone’s attention to the excellent HBO documentary, Requiem For The Dead: American Spring 2014. I hadn’t heard anything about this documentary at all, and just stumbled across it while channel surfing last night. I found it riveting and tragic and enlightening — even for me, who considers herself rather well-informed on the issue of gun violence.

The first thing you notice is how young the victims are. Many of them young teens — people with their entire futures ahead of them. The second thing you notice is how random and how senseless it all is. Gun victims are of all colors and ethnicities, it’s not something that happens “in that neighborhood” or “to those people.”

Give it a look-see, maybe consider having a viewing party. These peoples’ stories deserve to be shared.

Without further ado:

• June 25, 2015:

1- A 13-year-old Roan Mountain boy accidentally shot himself in the leg:

Lacy said her son had been in his brother’s bedroom at 246 Ingram Branch Roan on Tuesday. She said her son noticed a .38-caliber revolver and thought it was a toy gun. The boy pulled the trigger on the gun, shooting himself in the right calf.

2- Guns and ammo stolen from a home in Greenville. I guess locking this shit in a safe is too hard for y’all to manage. FAIL.

• June 24, 2015:

This kind of incident normally wouldn’t make the Gun Report but it happened literally one block from my house, at a time when I’m ordinarily walking the dog while Mr. Beale does the dinner dishes:

At about 7 p.m., the woman was walking to her vehicle in the 1600 block of Woodmont Boulevard when a suspect approached her with a handgun, took her purse off her shoulder and ran away, said Metro police Capt. Michael Alexander.

So here’s a question: I know the pro-gun crowd thinks everyone should be carrying to prevent such a thing from happening, but if the victim had a gun in her purse, what good would it have done? In fact, it just would have given the thief a second gun! Unless we’re all supposed to be walking around with guns in our hands, like cops on TV or something. Stupid.

• June 23, 2015:

An East Knoxville woman was accidentally shot in the hand and leg at a barbecue when another guest was showing a friend his gun.

• June 19, 2015:

1- Clarksville police say they are seeing more guns and more fights turning deadly due to guns. Gee, I wonder why. Thinking ….

More people are now carrying loaded guns in their vehicles, and legally. Despite what many people believe, a law passed in Tennessee last year allows anyone who can legally own a gun to carry loaded weapons in their vehicles.

That can be in a seat, glove box or under a seat. So long as the person is not a felon or otherwise restricted from owning firearms, there’s nothing to stop someone from having a loaded handgun, shotgun or rifle within reach, said Capt. Craig Gipson, who oversees the Clarksville Police Department’s Special Operations Unit.

Before the state legislature changed the law last year, only people with state-issued handgun carry permits could legally keep loaded guns in their vehicles. Anyone without a permit could keep guns only if unloaded with the ammunition stored separately.

“We just see more on the street than ever before,” said Clarksville Police Chief Al Ansley.

And it’s not just in cars. Police are seeing more guns being drawn and fired during fights.

Ansley said the presence of more guns can quickly escalate an argument or scuffle into something far more dangerous.

“We have seen a lot of guns and weapons,” he said. “Especially compared to 10 or 15 years ago.”

Wow, I thought more guns was supposed to make us safer? Guess not!

2- In Memphis, a woman says her next-door neighbor pulled a gun on her and her 7-year-old daughter over a parking space. Armed/polite, yada yada.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Tennessee

Top 5 Ways The State Of Tennessee Welcomes Racists

Betsy at Pith has a post up about how communities provide cover for racists. She writes:

It’s not too much to ask that we look around our communities and ask ourselves if there are ways we’re signalling to dangerous racists that we support their cause. Are there ways that we’re normalizing and making ordinary and mundane things that should be read as warning signs?

Good point. Not to toot my own horn, but I made a similar observation back in 2013 when the League of the South announced plans to hold rallies in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro. At the time I wondered:

What is it about Tennessee that draws the hatemongers out of the woodwork? Thinking … thinking ….

But all sarcasm aside, maybe it’s time to revisit the topic. What signals are we in Nashville and across Tennessee in general sending to racists that their ideas are welcome? How does our state government send the message that we tolerate racist ideas? Let me count the ways.

1- When the Memphis City Council voted to rename city parks named after Confederate figures like KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, the state legislature responded as it always does: by passing a law preventing municipalities from renaming city parks named for military figures. Not included in that legislation: a provision preventing municipalities from also renaming parks and monuments named for civil rights leaders. The measure passed overwhelmingly in both chambers:

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro was approved 26-3 by the Senate on Thursday. The companion bill passed the house 69-22 last month.

Approved 26-3 by the state Senate. Wrap your head around that for a second. Did our noodle-spined governor sign it? Of course he did! Why do you even ask?

2- This hideously ugly assault on common decency off I-65 just south of Nashville:

nbfs2

This is a privately-funded statue of the aforementioned Nathan Bedford Forrest, KKK founder and Confederate general, clearly visible as one drives I-65 between Brentwood and Nashville. Besides being hideously ugly, and honoring a hideously ugly idea, it’s also (usually) surrounded by a display of Confederate flags. Anyone driving into Nashville from the south sees this entirely inappropriate “welcome.”

While the nightmarish statue is privately funded and sits on private land, TDOT has right-of-way alongside the Interstate. Why the hell a massive tree screen wasn’t planted to prevent this assault on the senses from being the “welcome” visitors see as they enter our state capitol, I have no clue. (UPDATE: an effort to restore a vegetation screen has begun.)

3- When racist groups like the Southern National Congress, Stormfront and American Renaissance hold their annual conferences in our state-owned facilities like Montgomery Bell State Park and Fall Creek Falls State Park, it not only goes completely unremarked from our spaghetti-spined Republican governor and legislature, some of our state reps even speak at the events.

As I wrote at the time:

It’s amazing to me that our state legislature can hold pointless, grandstanding votes on anti-UN nonsense like Agenda 21, but a bunch of intolerant bigots and extremists hold a gathering at a taxpayer-funded state facility and no one can be bothered to make even the slightest gesture in objection.

When these things happen and our government can’t even be bothered to issue a declaration of protest, it sends a signal to hatemongers and racists that they are welcome.

4- When empathy-challenged Tennessee legislators troll people of color to garner headlines for themselves and are not rebuked by their caucus.

5- When shit like this happens, and no one is fired.

At what point will the state address the intolerance it endorses?

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Filed under racism, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

Remember the kerfuffle a few weeks ago about Tennessee’s hideous new $46,000 logo? Gov. Haslam said we needed it for “uniformity of messaging” or some such BS.

Well, our new logo was rejected by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office:

According to the federal office, the art was “primarily geographically descriptive,” which was against the rules.

You’d think for $46,000 someone would have known the rules.

FAIL.

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Tennessee Gun Report

Haven’t done one of these in a while but two accidental shootings in one day reminded me it’s time …

• June 11, 2015:

Country singer Randy Howard went out in a blaze of glory:

“He said he wasn’t going back to jail,” one of Howard’s neighbors shared with WSMV of the musician. “That’s what he told me.”

Howard missed a court appearance on charges that included DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving on a revoked license, and possession of a gun while intoxicated. When a bail bondsman went to collect him, Howard began shooting.

• June 10, 2015:

1- Memphis 4-year-old finds dad’s gun, lets freedom ring. Very sad.

It’s also highlighted Tennessee’s weak CAP laws, said to be among the worst in the country for prosecuting gun negligence:

In the wake of the tragedy, many are asking who should be held responsible.

Tennessee’s CAP Law states that criminal liability can only be imposed when a gun owner intentionally, knowingly and/or recklessly provides some or all firearms to children. That’s one of the weakest CAP Laws in the country.

We asked Tennessee State Representative Antonio Parkinson if change was in the works.

“I hadn’t heard anything in regards to strengthening the laws in regards to children having access to guns, but it’s definitely something that should be looked into,” Parkinson said.

In this case the boy’s father was outside when accident happened – Whether or not this situation meets that standard is yet to be determined, but it’s a fine line.

Do you prosecute for negligence, or show compassion for a grieving father? The question is one that needs has yet to be answered.

“What the legislature is willing to do? Are they willing to prosecute those who do not store their guns legally? But it’s definitely something worth looking into,” Parkinson said.

Would be nice if something good could come out of this, namely strengthening the laws about gun negligence. Tennesseans, write your legislators. They’ve guaranteed that innocent people will have more contact with firearms than ever before. Now they need to protect us unwitting bystanders by giving prosecutors the tools they need to go after cases of gun negligence. No more letting people off scott-free for injuring or killing innocent people just because they’re too scared to walk out the door without their security blanket.

2- In Chattanooga a man accidentally shot himself at home.

• June 5, 2015:

Guns and “hundreds of rounds of ammo” were stolen from a U-haul outside a Fairfield Inn in East Memphis. Responsible gun owners responsibly leaving their shit out where people can steal it. So responsible, y’all.

• June 3, 2015:

Welcome to Tennessee! Errr… or not:

Taylor is alleged to have fired a gun towards an occupied vehicle at the Tennessee Welcome Center. Assistant Sullivan County District Attorney Gene Perrin says charges are forthcoming in that first incident, pending completion of an investigation.

Shortly after shots were fired on I-81, at approximately 12:55 p.m., Sullivan County authorities were alerted to an 11-W motorist who was “pointing a gun and racking it.” In statements later obtained by police, the victim stated he was westbound on 11-W near J. H. Fauver Road. A Pontiac Grand Prix reportedly approached from behind “at an extremely high rate of speed.”

The driver of the car, later identified as Taylor, allegedly swerved back and forth while following the other motorist, then sped past. After pulling over in front of the other driver, Taylor reportedly “brake checked him as if he was trying to cause an accident.”

The victim told police that he flashed the headlights on his vehicle. That reportedly prompted Taylor to produce a black handgun out his driver’s side window, pull the slide and point it towards the other driver.

I’m so glad we’re all allowed to drive around armed. Makes me feel SO much safer! /sarcasm

• May 26, 2015:

A Springfield, TN airman walked into a North Dakota Walmart and “opened fire” for no apparent reason. He then turned the gun on himself. What a terrible tragedy all the way around.

• May 22, 2015:

The Tennessee Legislature recently voted to arm constables, those rural cop wannabes who are charged primarily with issuing warrants. Which in light of this recent incident seems a supremely stupid idea:

ONEIDA, Tenn. (WATE) – A man who is a lieutenant with the Scott County Jail and an elected constable is charged with firing a BB gun at several children near his home Wednesday night.

Michael Wilson, 58, is charged with assault. Officers with the Oneida police department say they were called to The Church of God on Paintrock Road around 8:30 p.m. A caller said several children had been shot with a BB gun while they were playing volleyball at the church.

Parents said around 20 kids were playing volleyball at the time.

Tennessee constables have a pretty checkered past. Here’s one who was charged with dealing drugs. Here’s one who, as a student at MTSU, was found to have a gun in his dorm room in violation of school policy.

• May 20, 2015:

1- A Shelbyville woman pointed a gun at another driver because they “came into her lane”:

The suspect was driving a black SUV, passed the victim driving in the otner direction, then quickly stopped and yelled at her, deputy Tim Fox’s report said.

“She allegedly stepped out of her vehicle holding a small caliber handgun in her right hand with her finger on the trigger,” Fox said. “She allegedly accused her of coming into her lane and said she needed to leave or it would be bad.”

The woman is described as in her 30s with black hair in a ponytail and weighing approximately 120 pounds.

Guns in cars, such a great idea!

2- And speaking of guns in cars, people in Kingsport just can’t stop pulling out their guns and pretending they’re Yosemite Sam. In one instance the guy flashed his concealed carry permit, pretending it was a police badge. In another incident, the guy (who had a concealed carry permit) pointed his gun at the driver of a car who honked at him because FREEDOM.

Such responsible people.

• May 15, 2015:

1- Interesting note of distinction here:

The most distinctive cause of death in Tennessee is the accidental discharge of firearms, according to new mapping data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were 336 accidental gun deaths in Tennessee between 2001 and 2010.

Accidental gun deaths aren’t the main cause of death in Tennessee. Heart disease typically ranks as the leading cause of death in the state each year. The CDC data instead focused on causes of death in each state that veer most widely from the national average.

Once again, Tennessee is at the top of a list you want to be at the BOTTOM of. Slow clap, Tennessee Republicans.

2- And as if on cue: A Hickman County deputy’s daughter accidentally shot herself.

3- Dumbass Rutherford County man unaware that gravity is still a thing nearly shot his neighbor when he fired his gun to scare away vultures:

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Bullets rained down beside a Rutherford county man as he was standing in his backyard. It turns out, a neighbor was firing shots to scare away vultures.

It happened Monday morning at daybreak when a swarm of vultures converged on top of the cell phone tower next to Tyler Moody’s home on Old Lebanon Road in Rutherford County.

Moody grabbed his .22 caliber rifle in hopes of scaring them away.

“I just fired warning shots up in the air,” he told News 2.

A nearby neighbor said he heard the gunshots before bullets started falling down beside him in his backyard.

• May 7, 2015:

A Knox County jury convicted Rodney Lee Scott of manslaughter in a road rage shooting incident.

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What $46,000 Can Buy

Apparently, a super crappy logo:

7835634_G - Version 2

Seriously, our state government just paid $46,000 for that? Excuse me, I got so bored looking at it that I fell asleep. Someone wake me uuu… oh wow, I did it again.

This is a seriously shitty logo in every way a logo can be shitty, chief among them being it’s so generic it could be Indiana if they just added a bottom to the “T.” It also kinda looks like the LP Building Products logo, which not coincidentally the marketing company that designed the state’s new logo also represents. I wonder if they designed their logo, too. This logo is so utterly lacking in any creativity that I have to think there’s another agenda at play. Like someone’s favorite PR company needed some work to do, or some big donor’s daughter needed a class project.

I can’t imagine what was wrong with our old logo:

th

I liked this. According to Wikipedia, the three stars represent East, Middle and West Tennessee. It’s distinctive. The circle and stars is our state flag. It’s simple but we all know what it means.

So, why change what ain’t broken?

[UPDATE]:

Reaction has been swift:

CFkcaECVEAEkDlY

[UPDATE]: 2

This being the age of social media, the new logo has a Twitter account. A sample:

logoHaslam

I’ve also seen some funny logo parodies. For instance:

CFlOH6FUkAAv0XO

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Oh Lookie, Tennessee Grew A Terrorist & He’s Been Arrested

Oddly, I haven’t heard anything about this in our Tennessee news media, and a part of me wondered if it weren’t some weird hoax. But then, it’s Tennessee, and nobody does crazy like we do:

An American man who stood in elections for the US Congress has admitted plotting to attack a Muslim community, shooting residents and burning down a mosque.

Robert R. Doggart, 63, was arrested by the FBI before he could carry out the plan to “utterly destroy” Islamberg, a village in New York state.

Posts on his Facebook page, tapped phone calls and conversations with police sources revealed the plot to attack on 15 April, setting fire to key buildings and killing anyone who resisted with guns or machetes.

According to a plea agreement filed at the US District Court of the Eastern District of Tennessee, Doggart wrote a Facebook post in February saying: “Target 3 [Islamberg] is vulnerable from many approaches and must be utterly destroyed.”

He met several co-conspirators in different parts of the state, justifying the carnage by claiming that residents were “planning a terrorist attack”, legal documents published by Heavy said.

They planned to burn down buildings including a mosque, a school and a cafeteria, shooting anyone who tried to stop them.

In a phone call to an FBI source on 6 March, Doggart was recorded saying: “Those guys have to be killed. Their buildings need to be burnt down. If we can get in there and do that not losing a man, even the better.”

He issued advice on guns, telling people to arm themselves with AR-15 and M-16 rifles.

Doggart, who ran as an independent candidate for the 4th Congressional District of Tennessee in 2014, admitted planning to carry an M4 carbine and offered to arm the FBI source with “the meanest shotgun on Earth”.

Doggart ran for Congress in 2014 to represent Tennessee’s 4th Congressional district, the seat currently heald by Scott “abortion for me but not for thee” DesJarlais. According to Ballotpedia, Doggart only got 9,238 votes. He’s apparently an engineer in the energy industry and spent 17 years with TVA.

His platform reads like your typical Fox New-watching Tea Party wackaloon:

Doggart said his platform calls for the integrity of the Constitution, the protection of the people, land and form of government by the military; fair distribution of appropriations; reversal or revision of the Roe vs. Wade court decision allowing abortion on demand; limiting immigration or amnesty to reasonable numbers supportable by the economy; and full disclosure related to the Benghazi incident.

So, you know, just your standard-issue Tennessee Republican. Off to slaughter Muslims in Islamberg, New York. Looks like Tennessee has its own home-grown terrorist now, plotting to attack a community in New York. Of course, if the local media ever does get around to reporting on this story, do you think they’ll use the “T” word? I’m thinking …. not.

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Filed under Islam, right-wing hate, Tennessee

Tennessee Out-Crazies Texas With Wingnutty Homeland Security Group

So, who is this weird “Tennessee Task Force on National and Homeland Security” claiming it has a “mandate” from the Tennessee legislature in its fundraising letters and on its website?

The group in fundraising literature describes itself as a “non-profit publicly funded and operated body with a mandate endorsed by Members of the Tennessee State Legislature to protect the citizens of Tennessee from the existential threat posed by various acts of terrorism.”

The legislature, for its part, is distancing itself from the group, saying,

[…] the group “does not function in any official capacity.”

and,

[…] it would be “erroneous” to claim the group had been endorsed by the General Assembly.

As an side, I’m curious, what do they mean by “publicly funded and operated”? Do they get public appropriations? Or are they saying they get money from the general public? I ask because on their website they say they are,

[…] a non-profit privately funded body with a mandate endorsed by Members of the Tennessee State Legislature to protect the citizens of Tennessee from the existential threat posed by key terroist entities.

Which one is it? Privately-funded or publicly-funded? Do they even know?

I wanted to know more about this strange group that doesn’t know where its money (or mandate) comes from. Let’s ask the Great Gazoogle. Here’s a story from March of this year in which they held a private “briefing” for legislators. Their spokesperson is Jeff Hartline, the Tea Party wackaloon who unsuccessfully ran for Jim Cooper’s Congressional seat:

The group is chaired by Jonna Z. Bianco, formerly the vice president and director of the congressional Electromagnetic Pulse Caucus.

Yes, I’ll stop you right there, buckaroo. The Electromagnetic Pulse Caucus is a delusional sci-fi conspiracy popular with the WingNut Daily crowd. As Salon.com explains it, the fear is that some Dr. Evil-type will detonate a nuclear weapon in the upper atmosphere, which:

[…] sends gamma rays flying in all directions, which produce high-energy electrons, which create an electromagnetic pulse that will damage electronic systems. According to the Federation of American Scientists, to create an EMP that would affect the entire country, the malefactor in question would have to detonate a “large device” some 400-500 kilometers over Wichita – roughly the altitude at which the International Space Station orbits earth.

Alrighty then. So maybe technically possible but realistically bullshit. So this is the group “briefing” our Tennessee state legislators in a closed-door meeting to which the media were excluded. Why am I not encouraged that the legislature is making very weak noises about not being associated with these crazies? The fact that they’re even listening to what they have to say is alarming enough. And they do seem to have found a kindred spirit in notorious Agenda 21 wackaloon Rick Womick.

From the March Nashville Post story:

Legislators said, off the record, after the closed meeting the information shared by the task force was interesting, but some details appeared taken out of context.

Hartline said aspects of the group’s message include organized crime, illegal weapons transferred in and out of the state, human trafficking, and electromagnetic pulse devices. “That’s a piece of it,” Hartline said about EMPs, “because that does present a clear and present danger to the ongoing of commerce in Tennessee.”

In 2013, state Rep. Rick Womick claimed in a legislative hearing that an electromagnetic pulse bomb was set off outside of Shelbyville, an attack local authorities said they had no record of.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

So who is Jonna Z. Bianco, this group’s “chair”? Again, to the Great Gazoogle:

Jonna Bianco is the president and founder of the American Bondholders Foundation (ABF), an organization that seeks to hold the People’s Republic of China accountable for its debt obligations to U.S. investors dating back to the first half of the 20th Century.

Ms. Bianco brings an encyclopedic understanding of this matter, and achieving liquidity for ABF’s bondholders has been her sole professional focus since 2001.

She also sits on the following related boards:

• United States Congress’s EMP Caucus “Task Force on National and Homeland Security”
• Prague Security Studies Institute (Czech Republic)
• Prague Security Studies Institute (Washington D.C.)
• National Defense University Foundation
• Center for Security Policy (Washington D.C.)
• Tennessee Freedom Coalition (Nashville, Tennessee)

These are interesting groups. The Tennessee Freedom Coalition has been labeled an anti-Muslim hate group by the SPLC. The Center for Security Policy is Frank Gaffney’s fearmongering anti-Muslim organization. See a pattern here? The rest are some lower-tier Neocon think tanks and free-market groups operating on the fringes of the foreign policy apparatus. What’s interesting is that I couldn’t find any supporting documentation that Bianco actually sits on some of these defense boards. However, I did find this interesting lawsuit related to her work with the American Bondholders Foundation.

This “Tennessee Task Force on National and Homeland Security” is starting to exude a strong stench of merde. Yes, kids, I’m starting to think the whole thing may be an elaborate scam. And it certainly wouldn’t be the first time a Tea Party-affiliated group was just an elaborate money-grubbing hoax.

I’m not sure we’re any clearer on who the Tennessee Task Force on National and Homeland Security is. Quite honestly, I’m not sure even they know who they are. One thing I’ve learned about the Tea Party is that organizationally it is like a hydra that continually spawns new crazy groups with which to fleece the gullible. And that’s exactly what this group looks like: a bunch of tin-foil hat paranoiac grifters who will ultimately embarrass this state worse than Jade Helm 15 has tarnished Texas.

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