Tennessee enacts new law increasing penalties for criminal mob behavior
In stark contrast to jurisdictions whose leaders have passively accepted rampaging mobs wreaking destruction on their citizenry, Tennessee has sent a powerful signal to wannabe insurrectionists, who have not neglected the Volunteer State. Following George Floyd's death in May, The AP reported:
Protesters in Tennessee's capital set fires inside and outside a courthouse Saturday night and toppled a statue of a former state lawmaker and newspaper publisher who espoused racist views.
YouTube screen grab.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper declared a state of civil emergency after protesters set a fire inside Metro Courthouse. The flames were quickly put out.
Demonstrators also made their way down Broadway Street, famed for its plentiful honky tonks, as well as the historic Ryman Auditorium — known as the mother church of country music. A few small fires were lit near the the national historic landmark, which was built as a tabernacle in 1892 and restored in 1994, but those were quickly extinguished by firefighters.
Thousands had rallied near the state Capitol starting in the afternoon to protest police brutality and racism. The demonstration turned violent after darkness fell, with protesters breaking windows in government buildings and causing other property damage.
Republican Governor Bill Lee called a special session of the state legislature to address the threats to civil order, and the solons introduced and passed a bill (H.B. 8005) that was signed by Lee last Thursday, with no press conference or other fanfare, substantially increasing penalties on people engaging in destructive protest and occupying public spaces while denying their use to others.
The Associated Press summarizes:
[T]he new law now states that those who illegally camp on state property would now face a Class E felony, punishable by up to six years in prison, rather than a misdemeanor. Felony convictions in Tennessee result in the revocation of an individual's right to vote.
The bill also imposes a mandatory minimum 45-day hold if convicted of aggravated rioting; enhances the fine for obstructing emergency vehicles from accessing highways; requires a court to order restitution for damaging state property; and creates a Class C felony offense for aggravated assault against a first responder — which carries a $15,000 fine and mandatory minimum 90-day prison sentence.
It may require some criminal prosecutions under the new law for Tennessee demonstrators to grasp the notion that they will be held personally responsible for the destruction they cause and will suffer felony penalties under a broader range of circumstances. But this is how our political system is supposed to respond to emerging threats. And the dress rehearsal for revolution currently being carried out across the nation definitely a serious threat that requires strong tools to counteract.
Hat tip: TheBlaze.