The Moment of Totality

At the moment of totality during this upcoming solar eclipse on Aug. 21, I will be singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in celebration. Every now and then I fall apart!! And I need you more than ever!

So, there’s a contingency plan in case of clouds, right? The moon will come back the next day and try again?

The Boro hosts its annual BoroStock this month, the big celebration of local independent rock, as always, with no cover charge. So, it’s a free place to take your mother if you need a quality night of family fun.

Recently, vandals perpetrated some meat crimes in Murfreesboro, one involving spray painting a local religious institution while leaving behind some pork products, another targeting a local automobile with instruments of bologna. Though law enforcement has yet to arrest suspects in the incidents, the victims were quick to launch sensational PR campaigns claiming hate and intolerance in the extreme.

Vandalism is bad, m’kay. Everyone has a right to feel safe and secure in their home and town as long as they are not harming others. But does the victim’s race, gender, religion or sexual preference make an act more or less criminal? Or is everyone to be treated equally under the eyes of the law? Is punishing vandalism differently based on the religion of the victim something our society really wants to get into?

Hurting someone’s feelings is inconsiderate, but it shouldn’t be against the law. Vandalism is criminal and should be punished appropriately, but we do not need federal investigation of every instance of simple vandalism.

Using the hate crime and hate speech narrative can be good fuel for a media circus to get an audience riled up, but there is generally a deeper and more complicated issue at play that the media, and the audience, just do not want to explore. Take a close look at the Matthew Shepard case; there is a much more complex web of a story there than simply the “man was brutally murdered because of his sexual identity” tale that plays so well in the sound bite and social media era.

Isn’t there a little hate involved in the carrying out of any crime? Now, what’s the distinction between hate crimes and the other crimes? Are the non-hate crimes love crimes?

On to another controversial subject: Tennessee lawmakers recently struck down a law that allowed law enforcement to demand blood tests from drivers. The Supreme Court handed down an opinion last year stating that it is not a crime for people to assert their Constitutional rights, and charging someone with a crime because they refuse a blood test is not Constitutional. Tennessee was one of the few states engaged in the practice of criminalizing a driver’s refusal to take a blood test. In this case, drunk driving and vehicular homicide are bad, m’kay, but so is drawing someone’s blood against their will.

Some zealots in the state have launched a propaganda campaign supporting the idea that drivers should be strapped down and have blood forcibly drawn at the whim of law enforcement with no warrant. But for now, the Constitution wins, searches and seizures should be reasonable, you do not have to provide evidence against yourself, and it is no longer a crime to refuse a blood test in Tennessee. (And forcibly drawing blood from someone is probably more hateful than leaving bacon on their sidewalk.)

What do you think? I think I will remain an advocate for free expression and liberty.

Forever’s gonna start tonight! 


About the Author

Bracken, a 2003 graduate of MTSU’s journalism program, is the founder and publisher of The Murfreesboro Pulse. He lives in Murfreesboro with his wife, graphic artist and business partner, Sarah, and son, Bracken Jr. Bracken enjoys playing the piano, sushi, Tool, football, chess, jogging, spending time in his backyard with his chickens, hippie music, climbing at The Ascent, bowling, swimming, soup, tennis, sunshine, revolution, defiance and anarchy. He can cook a mean grilled cheese, and can fry just about anything.

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