Roy Exum: Are We Not Safe?

Sunday, May 22, 2022 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Some experts believe that all hell will break loose across the United States tomorrow morning, shortly after 10 a.m. You see, it is on Mondays when the Supreme Court announces its most recent findings and there is good reason to believe the Roe v. Wade decision will be made public tomorrow. The reason you believe widespread chaos will erupt is because a memo leaked from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reveals the Biden administration is preparing for a nationwide wave of violence following the decision.

Recently a leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito hinted strongly that the high court plans to overturn the landmark abortion case and almost immediately pro-choice protests erupted nationwide.

Protesters have targeted the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices with picketing and loud chants. They have threatened to burn the Supreme Court down and hurt the families of the conservative justices.

Vandals have charged at least five pro-life crisis pregnancy centers across the U.S. and Catholic churches have been threatened and vandalized as well. The DHS memo reportedly says those protests "are likely to persist and may increase leading up to and following the issuing of the Court’s official ruling."

The DHS memo read, “The mere advocacy of political or social positions, political activism, use of strong rhetoric, or generalized philosophic embrace of violent tactics does not constitute domestic violent extremism or illegal activity and is constitutionally protected.

"DHS is committed to protecting Americans' freedom of speech and other civil rights and civil liberties, including the right to peacefully protest," a DHS spokesperson told Fox News. "DHS is also committed to working with our (law enforcement) partners across every level of government and the private sector to share timely information and intelligence, prevent all forms of violence, and to support law enforcement efforts to keep our communities safe."

That doesn’t sound violent, does it? And in Tennessee we don’t act like crazy people. Ah, but an ‘activist’ from Murfreesboro  – a lady by the name of Chloe Cerutti – penned a guest column in the Knoxville News-Sentinel on Friday. As I asked you pay particular attention to the numbers, here is how that read:

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ARMED AND ANGRY, TENNESSEE IS NO LONGER EITHER CIVIL OR SAFE

(This op-ed appeared in the Knoxville News-Sentinel [www.KnoxNews] on Friday May, 20, 2022)

By Chloe Cerutti, Guest Columnist

In many ways, Tennessee is a great place to live. A cost of living 8% lower than the national average, combined with a temperate climate (if you exclude the tornadoes) and lovely scenery explain why this location is attractive to retirees and transplants alike.

Add in Tennessee’s many business-friendly incentives, low wages and anti-union laws — all enticements to manufacturers wanting to increase profitability — and it’s easy to see why we are among the top 10 fastest-growing states in the country.

Nevertheless, Tennessee is not as idyllic as many would have us believe, particularly for those 13.9% of Tennesseans living below the poverty line. Indeed, our high poverty rate ranks us among the 10 poorest states in the nation. Half of Tennessee families depend on a female breadwinner, and 40% of those are living in poverty.

With that in mind, it’s hard to justify the passage of laws seeking to deny reproductive and workers’ rights and laws that treat homelessness and sleeping on public property as a criminal offense. So, despite this perceived image of growth, success and prosperity, for many Tennesseans the reality of their lives is far more grim.

Tennessee is now considered to be among the top 5 most dangerous states in the nation. That includes being 10th highest in the number of women killed by men and eighth highest for children and adolescents dying from gun accidents, a direct result of the 1 in 3 children who live in a home that legally stores a loaded and unlocked firearm. That high crime rate has also caused this state to be considered the 10th most dangerous place for our older residents to live.

Tennessee ranks second nationally in road-rage shootings per 100,000 people. Harvard researchers have found that rude drivers with guns in their cars are more likely to be aggressive and engage in road rage. Adding to concerns about the safety of traveling our roadways is the fact that we now rank eighth highest for the number of fatal car accidents.

And given last year’s passage of a permit less carry bill in Tennessee allowing people to be publicly armed with loaded handguns without a background check or safety training, these incidences of homicidal road rage, reckless driving and automobile fatalities will undoubtedly increase along with our traffic.

And how have Tennesseans fared as a result of these lawmakers’ refusal to expand Medicaid? Well, our life expectancy is now 1.5 years less than the national average, no doubt due in large part to the closure of 16 of our hospitals and the nearly 800,000 (11%) of Tennesseans who are without medical insurance.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic was responsible for Tennesseans having the fourth-highest infection and death rate of any other state. All of this contributes to Tennesseans having the nation’s highest rate of bankruptcy and an ongoing cycle of poverty.

Last but certainly not least would be this legislature’s passage of a flurry of divisive, hate-filled, anti-transgender/LGBTQ bills designed to create an atmosphere of intolerance where these individuals are made to feel unsafe, undesirable and unwelcome.

This year's elections provide an opportunity to elect those officials who value people over politics and democracy over divisiveness. Vote accordingly.

(Chloe Cerutti is a retired escrow officer from Seattle, Washington, a 15-year Murfreesboro resident and a long-time civic activist.)

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A vote is immeasurably better than a protest.

royexum@aol.com


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