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Letter to the editor, April 29

Posted 4/29/23

To the editor:

These are tumultuous times in Tennessee...actually, it was a “tumultuous” week at the Capital, according to Representative Pat Marsh. (T-G Staff …

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Letter to the editor, April 29


To the editor:

These are tumultuous times in Tennessee...actually, it was a “tumultuous” week at the Capital, according to Representative Pat Marsh. (T-G Staff Report/4-18-23). 

On March 27, Aubrey Hale entered Covenant School in Nashville and delivered 152 rounds of AR-15 and 9mm carbine ammunition to three nine-year old students and three school staff members. Result, six dead. Seven, if you count the shooter. (Thank you to Officers Manuel Collazo and Rex Engelbert. They were brave and were thinking of everyone but themselves.) Start of the “tumultuous” week. Maybe.

It could have been March 29 when Chairman Pat Marsh and his committee members (discrimination and harassment committee) delivered their secret investigation findings to Speaker Sexton. Scotty Campbell (Representative and Vice Chair of the Republican Caucus) had broken House rules regarding conduct and had sexually harassed a House intern. Start of the “tumultuous” week? Maybe.

Or, could it have been that, on March 30, three Democratic Representatives shunned all decorum, forgot about protocol and being polite and stormed the Well. And they were armed with a bullhorn, signs, and, obviously their voices. Start of the “tumultuous” week? Could be.

Tumultuous means disorderly, loud, raucous, full of confusion.

Based on the definitions for tumultuous and based on the remarks made by Pat Marsh at the Ronald Reagan Day dinner, I would guess the tumultuous week at the Capital started on March 30. And ended on April 6 when the House voted to expel (or kick out) the “Tennessee 3.” Rep. Gloria Johnson from Knoxville was saved by one vote. She told reporters “It might have to do with the color of our skin.” Rep. Justin Jones from Nashville was kicked out, as was Rep. Justin Pearson from Memphis. But, the “two Justins” gained back their House seats the following week when their respective city councils unanimously returned them to Nashville.

Again, referring to the T-G Staff Report, Mr. Marsh sounded like he was justifying why the Justins had to go.  He never acknowledged them as Representatives, but referred to them as “those two young guys, these two guys, them, they, professional protestors, raising cane.” And he mentioned the name Jones only once; Jones wanted to be in the “limelight.” 

I don’t know why the “Marsh recounts TN 3 episode” article is still on my kitchen table, but I have read it every day since the April 18th paper arrived. I think I was trying to understand why getting “those two guys” kicked out was a more worthy dinner speech than a speech about the Covenant School victims and the military-type guns used to kill them. And why is sexual harassment a lesser upset to the decorum of the House than a 50-minute protest by three Democrats who are hoping for gun reform measures? One doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist; others get expelled.

Regarding the recently-passed School Safety Act of 2023: I pray that the trained, armed security guards in every school are able to protect themselves and those in their care. It seems like a near-impossible task to defend against a shooter bearing military type weapons.

By the way, the Tennessee 2023 General Assembly session ended on April 21st. While people were rushing to go home, Speaker Sexton, and I believe it may have been the Lt. Governor, suggested they may call for a “special gun reform session.” I would suggest we don’t hold our breaths waiting.

I would like to say thank you to the “Tennessee 3” for trying to get the Legislature’s attention.  And I am positive that Rep. John Lewis would have thanked the Tennessee 3 for getting in “good trouble, necessary trouble.”

Ellen Federowski