Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Carry? Sure

I have not regretted one day leaving Nashville, not one.  True I moved to the Hot Zone of the Covid virus literally months before and traveled during its nascent outbreaks right up until the day the States shut down, I truly feel fine in both health and sanity even during this pandemonium.

What I am is bored.  I am tired of looking like crap as I have no motivation to do otherwise, I have cleaned, re-arranged and re-designed my home. I have cleared my closets once again and spend some time reading and writing but far less than I used to as I am so bored I cannot concentrate.  I am a loner but I have always had random encounters that sustained me until the next so not having a coterie of family/friends that has again not been a problem as that is the norm not the exception.  But at this point entering month three even I am wondering what the end game is here? There seems none but some vague concept of a vaccine in the near, the distant, or some time in the future.  You know like all the rest of it when this first began and the endless bullshit that is supposed to inform us but does little more than inspire fear.

And that is where we are, afraid very afraid.  The Cops have gone back to business of killing black people and white people are back to calling cops on black people so we are almost back to normal. There are increased car thefts and Subway crimes are up back into those like the 70s! See everything old is new again.  Well that if you don't count the 35 plus million unemployed, the endless daily death counts and the never ending bullshit accompanied by your daily Amazon delivery, then no.

And while there are some issues regarding violence I again follow the motto of personal responsibility.  I don't venture out past curfew, which is 8 pm so there you go we are all seniors in the center waiting for our turn to die, I walk with no cell phone, no obvious money or any purpose other than to walk and yes I see some serious problems with the homeless among other non-compliant folks congregating but then as I am still mobile I move on. What other people do is not my business and I have no social media presence to concern myself with as that seems to be the great instigator in much of the drama.  And living in Nashville that was something that even I could not avoid. The folks of the South love drama like they love sugar in tea.   You saw a great deal of that in my last blog post about the issues regarding physical distancing while being socially less so. Boundaries are an issue there.   And so are guns.  In Nashville the preponderance of guns on the street, largely by young minors, have led to serious gun violence and crime.  The major amount of shootings are in the black community and often most guns are obtained via theft, from gun stores who seem to not know how to lock up a store with gates and shatterproof glass, to cars themselves.  Many car thefts and break ins start with a search for guns.  I had two rental vehicles broken into for that reason alone and I was not alone in that.

Nashville is busy trying to do its best to keep the "it" mantra despite that a week before Covid a Tornado damaged parts of the city that was the most gentrified and of course selling point to attract new business that many incentives seemed to do just fine.  But then came Covid and the major industry of hospitals and hospitality (irony in the root word there) were also decimated and in turn the industries already at risk and on the fence began to shut doors and permanently close their doors as the city meanwhile was continuing to build mega buildings to attract the rich, the not so rich and the new residents that they keep saying are coming with little evidence to support that.  Amazon and their "Operations for Excellence" another irony as we are finding, and the white shoe financial firm, Alliance Bernstein, was to move part of their operations there which was giving the city powers there ultimate wet dreams.  Not surprisingly that moved seems rather prescient and they are moving forward, as of course many business located in Manhattan will likely also do outsourcing at home; However,  there are already well established hubs for that in North Carolina and even Texas, both hardly hit by Covid and they are red and friendly to business without being this bad, this sad and this grim.  Nashville was already falling apart and Covid did little to help that in being solvent, so what more can you do to a city struggling? Arm the residents!

So when I read about this new legislation today making the rounds in Tennessee, I knew what this was, again this is about black people and another way to exterminate them as pests. What massive incarceration did not accomplish, what Covid did not do will now be another means in which to legally kill black people.  You have seen it before under stand your ground and we are seeing it again only now we add the whole videography of it as some type of home movie in which to do what with.  Oh look let's film then out the person and get them fired, shamed and humiliated or if not that maybe assaulted or killed.  It will be evidence to exonerate us and prove our innocence, their guilt right?   Facebook live should call itself Facebook Dead.

Something tells me in a state where Domestic Violence is fifth in the nation, where crime is largely committed with guns by faces of color upon faces of color and where individuals believe in a Code of Honor that somehow validates defending that usually with guns then this is not going to end well.  Have a shot someone will ask and then they will twice. Once with liquor the other with a gun.  Think Covid is a problem? The cities devastated by a Tornado a problem?  That economic meltdown is a problem? That health care, education and voting are all serious issues that go ignored are problems? Sure but having a gun is not apparently as it will solve all of them.

House committee passes permitless gun carry bill, despite governor saying it is no longer priority

Natalie Allison, Nashville Tennessean; May 26, 2020

A bill initially backed by Gov. Bill Lee to allow for the carrying of a handgun without a permit advanced in a House committee Tuesday, despite the governor earlier saying it was no longer a priority.

While House judiciary committee chairman Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, announced at the beginning of the meeting that they would not take up the governor's pair of criminal justice reform bills, the committee still proceeded with a permitless carry bill Lee announced in January, passing it four hours into the meeting.

Curcio said the decision not to vote on the criminal justice reform bills was made in consultation with Lee.

The governor in recent weeks said his pre-coronavirus legislative initiatives, including permitless carry and wide-ranging abortion restriction legislation, "are not the priorities" he now has for the legislature this year.

"My priority is going to be on the state's budget and making sure that we make the decisions that are going to best serve Tennesseans through this next particularly challenging economic period," Lee said in late April.

The legislation, House Bill 2817, would allow for both open and concealed carrying of handguns for people 21 and older, as well as for military members who are 18 to 20. House members spent hours debating the legislation in between hearing testimony from several speakers against it and one in support.

The bill would also increase the crime of theft of a firearm from a misdemeanor to a felony, as well as mandate a six-month incarceration sentence for the crime, up from the current 30-day requirement.

It passed 16-7 and will advance to the House finance committee. A single Republican, Rep. Martin Daniel of Knoxville, voted against the legislation. He told committee members he did so because his district is largely opposed to the measure and supports the current handgun permitting process.

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, has said he is uninterested in the Senate taking up legislation not directly related to the coronavirus pandemic, making necessary changes to the budget or other bills that are time-sensitive and can't wait until next session.
Police, prosecutors continue speaking out against permitless carry

Leading law enforcement officials and prosecutors around the state have been among those also speaking out about the legislation, which former Gov. Bill Haslam opposed when it previously was filed.

Bill Gibbons, president of the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission and former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security under Haslam, provided testimony against the permitless carry portion of the bill, but in favor of enhanced penalties for gun crimes. Gibbons is also the former district attorney in Memphis.

"Over time, you're going to see, basically, our handgun permitting system totally undermined, and there won't be any reason for the vast majority of citizens to seek a permit or to renew a permit," Gibbons said.

He and House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, quibbled over what the estimated fiscal impact of the bill will be, though Gibbons noted that the legislation comes at a cost of more than $20 million.

A portion of that estimated cost, just under $3 million, is attributed to the projected loss of revenue from handgun permits, though Gibbons argued that only a 20% reduction in permits was an "optimistic projection" if the bill passes.

An updated fiscal note for the legislation is not available on the General Assembly's website.

Gibbons said the local crime commission voted unanimously to oppose that portion of the legislation.

Memphis Police Department Director Michael Rallings also spoke against the legislation, which he said "makes Memphis less safe and our police officers more vulnerable."

"I am not against guns," Rallings said. "I am against illegal guns and guns being used against kids and to harm and kill law-abiding citizens."

He noted the ongoing increase in violent crime in his city. Rallings asserted that the state should instead focus on continuing to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, and if lawmakers are bent on passing the measure, push it to the next session to allow time for more work on the bill.

"More guns, I've never seen it equal less crime," he said.

Lamberth repeatedly defended the measure, arguing that it would not result in an increase in crime.

Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, carried the bill.

"The state of Tennessee has infringed on my constitutional right by requiring a permit," Van Huss said of the the state's established permitting system.

Carol Frazier and Linda McFadyen-Ketchum from Moms Demand Action, a gun control lobbying group, also spoke against the bill, as well as Stryker Warren, a health care executive from Nashville. DJ Parten, the Southeast regional director for the National Association for Guns Rights, spoke in favor of it.

Last year, the legislature passed a bill allowing individuals to opt to take a much shorter online class to receive a basic permit, rather than an all-day in person course.

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