When Did Tennessee Go Thug?


One of my favorite episodes of the old Star Trek (the original series in the late sixties) was Mirror, Mirror, in which Captain Kirk and a few other crew members have an accident in the transporter and materialize in a parallel universe where the Enterprise is a warship for an evil empire. Spock wears a goatee and the crew gains promotions by assassinating their superiors. It is a nightmare version of reality.

That story has always struck me as a powerful metaphor for how our country has changed since 9/11. But right now I am thinking of it as I read stories about Tennessee.

A group from Maury County was so concerned about the safety of their drinking wateractually went to the authorities at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The response was straight out of the old Soviet handbook:

“‘We take water quality very seriously. Very, very seriously,’ said Sherwin Smith, deputy director of TDEC’s Division of Water Resources, according to audio recorded by attendees. ‘But you need to make sure that when you make water quality complaints you have a basis, because federally, if there’s no water quality issues, that can be considered under Homeland Security an act of terrorism.’”

Read the rest at Last Resistance

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