Tag Archives: Tennessee

How Americans Celebrate


Apparently there were not one but two “celebratory gunfire” injuries in downtown Nashville. Slow clap.


Happy Birthday, Murica! How did you celebrate our national holiday? Did you do it with guns? C’mon, you know you did. You know you did!

Did you remember the law of gravity? That what goes up must come down? You know you didn’t!

What follows is a brief and by no means comprehensive look at American gunfail, Fourth of July style. And I’m going to start right here at home:

• Nashville:

A 9-year-old girl was struck by a bullet in downtown Nashville Saturday night while waiting for the fireworks show to begin.

The girl, who was visiting Nashville with her parents from Mississippi, was waiting with her family at First Avenue South and Korean Veterans Boulevard before the show when she felt a pain in her back, according to a news release from Metro Nashville police. She was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and treated for a small caliber wound, the release says. The injury is not critical.


A man also sustained a gunshot wound from a stray bullet while in the parking lot of Nissan Stadium during the fireworks.

The male victim was in parking lot C with his wife and two friends when a bullet traveled through is right arm and became lodged in his left wrist.

He was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Police told News 2 his injury was determined to be accidental and to have come from someone shooting a gun in the area.

Not exactly a tourism selling point, guys.

• Pittsburgh, PA:

Woman shot at Kennywood amusement park, possibly by celebratory gunfire

WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. (AP) — Police say a woman was shot while inside an amusement park in suburban Pittsburgh, and they’re investigating whether the bullet came from someone nearby celebrating the Fourth of July.

Allegheny County Police say the 26-year-old woman was in stable condition following the shooting just after 10 p.m. Saturday at Kennywood Park in West Mifflin. She was struck in the upper chest near her shoulder.

• College Park, GA:

Fulton County police have identified a person of interest in the death of a 16-year-old girl they believe was killed by celebratory Fourth of July gunfire.

Rasheedah Evans, 16, was inside her home on Harper Valley Drive in College Park on Saturday night when she was struck by a stray bullet and killed. Fulton County police spokesman Lt. Scott McBride said detectives have since identified 23-year-old Marcel Smith as a person of interest.

Inside her home. Even in your own home you aren’t safe. UNbelievable.

• Council Bluffs, IA:

A 7-year-old Council Bluffs boy is recovering after being wounded in the shoulder by a stray bullet fired into the air Saturday night.

Police say the boy was standing in the driveway of his home near North 26th Street and Avenue J around 10:30 p.m., watching the neighborhood fireworks with his grandparents when he began crying, complaining of pain in his right shoulder. His grandmother noticed a small amount of blood and thought he’d been struck by a firework. When she took him inside to clean the wound she discovered the bullet.

Spartanburg County, SC:

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. —The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office says a young man is in the ICU after getting accidentally shot in the head by his friend.

According to investigators, the friends were setting off fireworks for the July 4 holiday when someone — apparently angered by what they were doing — drove by and fired shots into the air.

Lt. Kevin Bobo said the two then got into vehicles to retaliate for the gunfire. Upon reaching the intersection of Chelsea Street and Old Farm Road, the friend fired at a vehicle but ended up striking the car where the victim sat.

Wild wild West, y’all. Weren’t we told that would never happen?


Filed under gun control, Guns, Tennessee

Tennessee Terrorism Update

Here’s an update on Tennessee’s own home-grown anti-Muslim terrorist, Robert R. Doggart. I wrote about him back in May. He’s a failed Congressional candidate who plotted to “utterly destroy” the upstate New York village of Islamberg.

Doggart confessed after he was wiretapped discussing his plans to burn down a Muslim school, mosque and to shoot anyone who tried to stop him and his “militia.” But if you thought getting caught plotting a terrorist attack on Muslims would actually get you labeled a terrorist, you would be wrong:

Doggart was arrested April 10 and charged with soliciting others to violate civil rights, attempts to damage religious property because of the religious character of the property and making threats through interstate communication. He pleaded guilty to interstate communication of threats and was released on bond to home confinement. He may not face any jail time.

“If a Muslim had planned to carry out such a religiously-motivated deadly attack, he would certainly have been labeled a terrorist and charged accordingly,” said National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We ask the Obama administration to rescind the plea agreement, which – as it stands – could see this individual free in the community.”

What is it about white, male right-wing hate that is never recognized as terrorism? If this was Muslims planning an attack on a church or Christian school, every cable and network news program would be covering it non-stop. I’ve seen little if any news coverage of Doggart in Tennessee newspapers, even though the guy ran for Congress.


Filed under conservatives, right-wing hate, Tennessee

Sign of the Times

Sign in front of what I affectionately call the Wingnut Bible Church located near my house:


The Wingnut Bible Church appears in this space about once a year. Last year they were (illegally) advertising a fringe U.S. State Senate candidate. Every Memorial Day and July Fourth they put dozens of American flags out on their lawn, too. Because Jesus was totally all about America, you guys.

Wonder if they’ll go all in with the American flag display this Independence Day or if they’re so disgusted with SCOTUS that they’ll take a pass.


Filed under gay equality, GLBT, Nashville, Tennessee

TN Legislature Grandstanding Over Nonexistent Threat

Apparently Tennessee legislators are unfamiliar with the First Amendment of our Constitution because they have been crafting a “Pastor Protection Act” to make sure no pastors are forced to perform gay marriage ceremonies:

A new bill in Tennessee seeks to “protect” churches and clergy from performing same-sex marriages. But is it necessary?

The move comes after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage on Friday. State Reps. Bryan Terry and Andy Holt anticipated the Supreme Court ruling and have been working on the bill for several months, reports Nashville’s CBS affiliate.

Both representatives reject the validity of yesterday’s decision. “God is the ultimate Supreme Court and he has spoken. Marriage is between one man, and one woman,” Representative Holt said in a press release.

The proposed law would reiterate protections already in place. As Representative Terry noted, “The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.” He also cited Article 1 Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution and said “personal freedom of religion is protected and no human authority can interfere in the rights of conscience.”

Oh. So they know this law is unncessary but they want to “reiterate” protections already in place because Tennessee politicians can never pass up an opportunity to grandstand on the culture wars. Which they are always losing, I might add.

Hey, if you guys want to write in stone how you’re yet again on the wrong side of history, be my guest.

What this really comes down to, of course, is religious conservatives wanting to be protected from criticism for being on the wrong side of history. Sure as day follows night, there will be a case where a same-sex couple wants to use a pavilion or building owned by a religious non-profit and they will be denied — legally. And it will hit social media, and they will be mocked for their recidivist stance, and there will be pearls to be clutched and couches on which to faint, and once again conservatives will confuse free speech with the free hand.

This will happen because this always happens. Hell, churches around the South still have a problem with interracial couples.

So why don’t we dispense with the bullshit and remind everyone that nobody is forcing anyone to perform a ceremony they don’t want to perform — hell, religious groups have been refusing to officiate ceremonies between divorced couples, interfaith couples, etc. since forever. None of that is changing. Lots of churches already refuse to rent out their buildings for weddings to couples who are not church members. Why? Because weddings are a huge pain in the ass for church staff.

So nothing is going to change. And every time you idiots grandstand about how God doesn’t wants gays to get married and God Hates Fags and all that crap we’re going to mock you and tell you you’re wrong and call you names. And that noise is just going to get louder and louder.

[ALSO, let me repeat: Tennessee Republicans are really off the mark when they grandstand on the homophobic crap but can’t be bothered to grandstand with a vote of disapproval when the goddamn Ku Klux Klan holds their annual meeting at one our state parks.]


Filed under culture wars, gay equality, GLBT, religious right, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

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.


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:


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?


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.



Filed under Tennessee