Inspection- 55%?

By Ken Carman

 Channel 5 News here in Nashville reported a few mornings ago that shootings in Nashville are up 55% over last year. Of course, immediately, they had a right wing “think tank” expert on who claimed it was because of drugs. I am assuming they will therefore propose more draconian drug laws that will (“amazing!”) result in more drug related crimes. I also assume the Inspectionresulting rise in stock for Tennessee-based Correction Corporation will make stockholders very happy.
 But the expert’s one reason answer was, to quote my father’s generation, “poppycock.” Drugs have been around Nashville for quite a while and, yes, we have had an influx of a lot of new folks, more crack houses, more and more gang related crime but that would be over many years. No way in hell does that explain a 55% increase in half of one year.
 Gee, I wonder what has changed about society in the past year? I could simply start with the glorification of the bully, the increasing acceptance of violence as a solution and the Stand Your Ground mentality. But let’s go elsewhere right now, OK?
 Nashville is in Middle Tennessee: part of the South that was occupied for most of the Civil War by the North. If you think 150 plus years after that no longer matters you understand shew wop about the South. When we moved here in 78 just suggesting changes could get you fired, threatened and, sometimes, killed. “We don’t care how you Yankees do it up north,” a common refrain: even if you came from another country, or what some here may consider another country: California. The influx of immigrants has agitated this, I’m sure.
 There has always been some of that element here. That can’t be the “one reason.”
 Due to Nashville’s very touristy/music mecca nature aggressive, type A, personalities flock here. They all come with rifles strapped to their guitars: even asking for some exotic diminished chord pulled the trigger. Of course, until recently, the simple country music focus made the more “trah-dash-un-al cown-tree” strummer say, “A demin-ish-ed wha? You damn Idaho Yankees and your…” as they blew the fancy finger picker’s picking fingers off. OK, I’m joking. But Nashville does attract type A personalities like a big zapper attracts the wrong kinds of bugs. Still no singular cause of a sudden 55% raise there.
 Immigrants! That’s it! Those damn immigrants! But, wait, the influx of Ethiopian, Mexican, Vietnamese… most of these aren’t a part of our morning and evening who shot who reports. No, it’s the usual: black on black, white on white, some black on white but far more white on black. So that can’t be it. Yes this is also a longstanding problem: not something that explains a sudden 55%.
 Maybe it’s because too many of us view guns as some great “solution” and treat those who carry like they were perfect shots, are so wise they react faster than those who have the drop on you. Act as if they’re wise enough not to leave guns where teens and little kids might shoot themselves and others?
 Nah, also part of nationwide situation over the years, as well as Nashville statistics. Stupid people, or those with issues, getting guns and others getting shot has been part of the news for quite a while, not to mention the nation. I come from a wilderness area and some of us went down a different path when we saw hunters drinking, in bright orange pants and coats, headed down a trail to find their deer.
 Damn it, damn it, damn it! Nothing else that has happened recently seems to explain this radical increase except the rise of the ever angry orange one who has given an even bigger sense of empowerment to those who already liked pushing others, demanding those who they find disagreeable sit down and shut up, insult others to their faces, beat others who won’t submit or dare to disagree. He appeals to those who would rather shoot first then claim they felt “threatened.”
 Yes, as I stated before: we just had a national election where; despite losing the popular vote by rather substantial numbers for one who “wins” anyway, the bully was celebrated as if he vanquished all instead of squeaked by: everyone should bow to the Donnie deity. Now he is supposedly to be treated like the Emperor with No Clothes while his minions cheer the kind of mentality where if one thinks a reporter is asking too challenging questions there’s some unquestionable right to immediately assault them, break their glasses. Makes one a true, patriotic, A-MUR-I-CAN. Or when Kathy Griffin makes distinctly unfunny, inappropriate, beheading joke, that kind of political incorrectness needs to be crushed, but Nugent can make “jokes” that threaten the previous occupant of the White House and that makes him an honored guest at the new White House. Well, after all, he was “Demorat” and… “Shhh! He was Black!” (You know how whacked out the reaction has been when you have to weed through many pages of youtube commentary before I found out what she actually did.)
 As to the real reason for the sudden 55% rise, oh, I admit, I’m kidding… somewhat. Certainly there could be many reasons for this 55%, some I have already mentioned, some I haven’t. But a movement coming to power that already felt their fellow Trumpian sycophants should be “entitled:'” to use one of the words they love to toss around, to hunt down a young black boy without identifying themselves then kill him because he defends himself against someone obviously stalking him, already felt “entitled” to take over public property while brandishing weapons, felt entitled to shoot to death a passenger in a car because they had an argument about loud music, well, and Trump cheering this kind of mentality on; all that certainly could part of the reason for a 55% rise in shootings. And explain, like a spreading virus, others might also feel so entitled. This is a true entitlement culture in the worst sense of the word.
 Just celebrating a gun culture isn’t really a large part of the problem. People have done that for centuries. People celebrating a culture of entitlement to use violence and guns when they’re angry or want enforce their idea of political correctness certainly could be.
 Nashville has just always been a town where such things are amplified by the type of people who come here and were born here, plus our history. But if this “trend” ain’t in your hometown yet, don’t worry: just consider it a coming attraction.

                                               -30-
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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