Thursday, August 31, 2023

August 2023 Tennessee Special Session: Morality Can't be Legislated (published 8-31-2023; article #429)

4/13/2019 photograph, by M. Fearghail. See the 4/13/2019 article.


Poly-Tics” -- do I need a 67th article? There are already 66 articles, under that “Topic Section.” I've grown tired of writing on the subject. There is a higher calling. By the way, “poly-tics,” as I say and write the word, is from Greek, πολύς, meaning many, and ticks, or blood suckers. Dwelling too much on “poly-tics” will suck the life out of you! In contrast, being inspired by God's grace, through Jesus' atoning sacrifice, will fill your life with everlasting joy.

This month has had two full moons, on 8/1/2023 and yesterday. This is certainly a Blue Moon type of article. I'd rather not write it. I have to. This article is another effort to encourage biblical morality, to get this once great nation on the right path. Please indulge me.

Reason for the Special Session

The immoral actions of one person, on March 27, 2023, at The Covenant School, in Nashville, Tennessee, murdered three adults and three children. The murderer used firearms, to carry out the immoral deed. The trigger was the wrong decision by an evil person.

Of several media sources, this article references: “Nashville school shooting: Seven fatally shot at Covenant School, including 28-year-old suspect,” on The Tennessean, by Chris Gadd, Rachel Wegner, Kirsten Fiscus, & Craig Shoup, published 3/27/2023; updated 3/30/2023. The police stopped the threat, in a just manner, by killing the murderer.

That immorality prompted Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to call a special legislative session, which was held from the 21st to the 29th of this month. See “Gov. Lee Announces Special Session on Public Safety to Begin August 21,” on Tennessee State Government (, 5/8/2023.

Result of the Special Session

The news media have filled several segments about the special session. I've had passive interest in the stories. This article cites two sources that summarize the session.

First, see “With tempers mounting, Tennessee's special session ends with little action on guns,” on The Tennessean, by Melissa Brown, Vivian Jones, & Angele Latham, 8/29/2023. The article begins, by stating:

Tennessee's special legislative session, held in the shadow of the worst school shooting in state history, ended Tuesday with no significant changes to the state's gun laws and only a narrow slate of bills sending more money toward public safety issues.

The other reference is: “Tennessee special session on public safety comes to an end after House and Senate Republicans reach deal,” on 10News WBIR-TV, by WBIR Staff, 8/29/2023. This column indicates that SB 7089 passed. If the bill becomes law, it would spend tax dollars, in the following seven areas. The total cost would be $110.2 million.

-- “$10 million for school safety grants;”
-- “$1.1 million to create a public safety campaign dedicated to safe gun storage;”
-- about “$12.1 million” for “sign-on and retention bonuses for behavioral health professionals;”
-- about “$3 million” for a “behavioral health scholarship program;”
-- “$4 million for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for a'Behavioral Health Safety Net Program;'”
-- “$30 million” for “school safety grants;”
-- and about “$50 million” for “community mental health agency grants.”

The article further states:

Other than the appropriations measure, the House and Senate passed three other pieces of legislation that will head to Gov. Bill Lee's desk.

  • SB 7088: Requires the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to submit a report on child and human trafficking crimes and trends in the state by Dec. 1, 2023, and each Dec. 1 thereafter.

  • SB 7086: Requires clerks of circuit or general sessions courts to notify the TBI of the final disposition of criminal proceedings within 72 hours, instead of 30 days.

  • SB 7085: Directs the Department of Safety to provide free firearm locks to Tennessee residents if they ask for them, and requires handgun safety courses to contain instruction on safe gun storage.

The media have reported on the various opinions, conflicts, disagreements, and protests. In several instances, emotion seemed to have outweighed reason. A legislator or two may have addressed the root problem, which additional funding and laws cannot fix, but I didn't see a news segment that included the remarks.


The Violence Prevention Project Research Center (The Violence Project) has mass shooting data from 1966 to current. The project states that it is “a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to reducing violence through research that is public-facing and informs policy and practice.” The website includes a Mass Shooter Database. The chart, on that database, titled “Mass Public Shooting Deaths by Incident, 1966 – present” shows 191 total mass shootings that has led to 1,369 deaths. (My tally, from that chart, indicates 194 total mass shootings and the same 1,369 deaths.)

My study of the chart derives the following summary. From 1966 through 1979, 14 years, there were 18 total mass shootings that caused 91 deaths. In the decade of the 1980s (1980 - 1989), 23 mass shootings are listed that inflicted 150 deaths. The decade of the 1990s (1990 - 1999) shows 37 mass shootings and 213 deaths. The 2000s (2000 - 2009) reports 37 mass shootings with 237 murdered. The last decade, of the 2010s (2010 - 2019), lists 56 mass shootings that killed 516 people. 2020 records two mass shootings, killing nine people. 2021 lists eight mass shootings, resulting in 53 murders. Last year, 2022, reports seven mass shootings and 58 deaths. In the current year of 2023, so far, the chart shows six mass shootings that killed 42 people.

When I was in grade school and high school, from 1965 to 1978, mass shootings and so-called “gun violence” were unknown, in the rural area where I was raised. School buildings were unlocked, when school was in session. In high school, older students and even teachers had shotguns or rifles, on the gun racks, secured in their locked trucks. (They had either been or were going hunting.) The societal norm was morality, based on the biblical worldview, the Declaration of Independence, and the US Constitution.

Additional laws could, in theory, lessen the so-called “gun violence.” The further spending of tax dollars might help prevent some “gun violence.” Those steps, however, are like trying to stop tons of water from pouring through many holes in a dam, by plugging a few small holes with chewing gum. More laws and funding, which are constitutional, may help, but they are not the ultimate solution.

What is the ultimate solution? It is not political. It is moral. This once great nation must restore the biblical and constitutional values, upon which it was founded. Only then will so-called “gun violence” become seldom and rare events, as it was when I was growing up.

Where are the politicians, who boldly make that statement? Did Governor Bill Lee make that statement? I don't recall having heard him do so. Morality can't be legislated. I have spoken. Who is listening?

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