The murders in Chattanooga by an Islamic terrorist brought out the expected gaggle of politicians, replete with hand-wringing pronouncements and oozing sympathy for the families of the slain.
Without a doubt, most of the expressions of grief and support – even by politicians – was genuine and heartfelt. But the state’s chief politician, with his dismal record of addressing radical Islamic issues, chose to dither in the wake of the tragedy.
Even after governors in at least 14 other states quickly allowed National Guard recruiters to carry firearms to protect themselves, Bill Haslam is still “studying” how he should respond. Maybe this is his version of “leading from behind.” In the past he has been quick to criticize and marginalize past state legislative attempts to address concerns about a situation that has now left five dead on Tennessee soil. The result of such inaction was illustrated by an article in Politico this weekend headlined: “Tennessee is the Capital of American Jihad.”
Rep. Judd Matheny called out Haslam a few days ago by reminding the public that he personally warned the governor as far back as 2012 that something like this could happen and urged him to take preventive measures. The governor’s response to Matheny’s information? That Matheny somehow “owed the Muslim community an apology.” In light of his own neglect, RTP wonders if the governor now owes the families of the slain an apology.
RTP joins other Tennesseans and Americans of honoring our military personal and offering heartfelt condolences. But Tennesseans should have no sympathy for posturing politicians who ignore threats, try to block protective measures and then after a tragedy in our own state, can’t summon the courage to give our military personnel the means to defend themselves.