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10 years of indie news and commentary from Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Ben "BenQQ" Harrison, Editor, Email to be put on regular mailing list, advertising, response to any article, requests, releases, editorial submissions & tips. Readable in most devices. For best reading, expand your browsers to 100% of browser page.
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Ben Harrison
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How a paper shortage causes bodies to back up

(8/3/22 BenQQ) Shelby County still is reportedly experiencing a paper shortage that is causing delays in processing human cadavers, according to one post-mortem service.

"It's crashed everybody," said the CEO in one post-mortem service. "We are now recording Shelby County deaths in Fayette County."

The problem with that is Fayette does not have the capacity to print certificates. It prints only in the morning and in the afternoon, said the CEO.

This leaves the Shelby County Health Department ill equipped to certify deaths as attested to in the death certificate from doctors. The county issues the death certificate. Death certificates are needed for insurance claims and other purposes.

Further, families need death certificates to discover what took the life of their deceased relatives.

image from Graceland Wall taken and stylized by BenQQ

Woke Gets Elvis

(7/18/22 BenQQ) Never one to let go when it benefits it, the Sunday 7/17/22 Commercial Appeal raised yet another divisive and arguably incomplete story from a woke scribbler working for the paper's parent company, USA Today.

In a review about the new Elvis movie, Neledi Ushe draws on the social criticism that white rock 'n rollers “appropriated”--meaning stole--black music. The story entitled “Appropriation or Appreciation” should have been '...or Assimilation'. Even as a side element, it managed to ignore how different cultures always eventually mix despite differences.

The crux of the article and criticism of the movie is Elvis wouldn't be Elvis if America's segregated society at the time had not kept the major black music artists like Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Fats Domino out of the dominant white market.

Sure, you can make the case, but at most its one of those fun history exercises of what the country might have looked like had it not been racially segregated. What in history might have been different? Answer: everything, from politics to personal relationships to racial identity itself. By that I mean the blending of races to the point where racial identity was not even a thing. But, unfortunately, it was a thing. And there is an incentive to keep it a political, financial and social thing today.

Another thing is clear: now people, at least some quoted in the article, hate (or at least resent)  Elvis for having “white privilege” that, they argue, enabled him to be crowned “King of Rock 'n Roll” at the expense of other black music greats.

Little Richard argued he would have been king if the big picture of race had been different.

One guy in the article said whites were always looking for a “Great White Hope” to keep a black from becoming king. Honestly, growing up in Memphis, I never once came across that sentiment.

On the other hand...

At the time Elvis was just beginning to play to crowds in Memphis, someone told him he should play like the black musicians in a local club. He apparently started playing that way. He liked it. His audiences liked it.

Is that the only evidence to support the article's contention that Elvis' music was not “natural” like that of blacks?

Related, does music at some point after singing it a lot in your own voice become 'naturalized' and natural?

Finally, does being a white writer from a lower middle class background automatically define your work as “unnatural” as current anti-Elvis writers (apparently there are a few) would have you conclude?

If some or all that is true, I would argue the music industry in good woke consciousness should pull the contracts with white artists doing hip hop.

What Elvis did and what black artists couldn't do at the time was establish a mass market of young music fans over radio and early TV.  Are you experienced enough to remember Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show? If you had a TV set at the time in Memphis, you probably watched it totally unaware someone much later would attribute theft of a music genre to the outrageously new singer.
You watched because he was a local boy who got on national TV.

A popular huge market willing to spend money on sumptuous full color LPs - - one had multiple pages of fantastic Elvis portraits - - and buy tickets to massive concerts did not really exist before Elvis.

Finally, perhaps a more journalistically interesting, but less politically sensational, story is how white and black music rapidly “assimilitated” to create one thriving rock n roll music genre—just like the country, if you will.

Someone at the CA should have stopped and asked, “Hey wait a minute. What about all the times black musicians borrowed from white musicians? Doesn't that at least merit a paragraph?”

Example: Aretha Franklin performing “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” that became a big hit with blacks and was written by two Jewish boys from New York (Simon and Garfunkel).

History we cannot avoid exists. If Elvis had a statue in Memphis, some people would want to pull it down. Elvis would be a symbol of old white culture despite the fact that he nor his fans had any particular antipathy toward blacks.

But in today's woke environment, because Elvis benefited personally from segregation that kept black competitors off the main stage, whites are now guilty of the broad racial crimes of the last century.

The modern agenda now reaching for Elvis and the broader culture that set him up as "King of Rock 'n Roll" are like Madame Mao's Social Revolutionaries. Tear down and rebuild.

If this meme of Elvis as symbolic of white culture, what is Memphis to do with its annual “Elvis Week?” Corporately enough, they could change it to “Music History Week.”

Biden Targets 147,000 Tax Payers Earning Under $50,000

(8.6.22) In the wake of Biden's promise to hire thousands of new IRS agents to audit tax payers, Fox News reports 147,000 lower middle income Americans have already been audited. This comes when Biden has increased government spending by the trillions, which in turn has reduced the spending value of the dollar which in turn is being aggressively taxed. This is no different than the abusive admins of abusive left wing dictatorships.

Such aggressive tax enforcement from the Democrats puts an especially heavy burden on those the party has traditionally claimed as their constituency. Minorities reportedly are abandoning the Democratic Party at an ever increasing rate.

Tax activist Grover Norquist on Fox News: "They want to take $80 billion from taxpayers, $80 billion and hire 87,000 more bureaucrats in the IRS. They go after independent contractors and small businesses, not General Motors, smaller businesses. That's where they think they're going to make their money."

Little attention has been raised by candidates of either major party to abolish the IRS for a national tax system such as a federal tax. Will Trump jump on this following Biden's tax abuses?

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Why Are Politicians so Bad?

Local or National. Its all the same. “Most” politicans operate on power maintenance and manipulation. They manipulate those they can to maintain and grow their power. That in essence is why they are so bad.

How do they get away with this? Discounting that they have no intolerance to embarrassment, the problem of bad politicians is supported by unthoughtful habitual voters. Thus imitative media accommodate the pre-existing prejudices of their print and viewing audiences.

Hence we have fewer media consumers from the “thoughtful class.”  The problem? This validates repetitive expensive, ineffective, stupid and venal polices. Further, the current education establishment teaches students now not to think. Habituating minds to ignore the condition we are in goes a long way in maintaining that condition.

Democrats and RINOs—let's call them DEMORS-are bad politicians. They offer the same policies that have rapidly put the county into a nose dive since Biden took the office.

On a local level, we see progressive politicians talk woke when they should be about better supporting local business, waging war on criminals, bring new jobs into the city as rapidly as possible and transforminig it into a high tech employment center where more money circulates. Companies seem to want to come to Memphis, but just can't quite make the leap. What's wrong?

Instead,DEMORS pander in the culture wars, the easiest way to manipulate the unthoughtful and to stay in power.

A Gun Lesson

Graphic image of guns and bullets for story about gun lessons in Memphis

(6/30/22 edited 7/5 BenQQ) The final straw was the Democrats dissolving our southern border to allow unvetted pre-organized masses, many of whom are reported to be criminals and terrorists, move illegally into the United States. Alleged President Biden has vacuously helped them into the country to colonize and make it their own.

Last year I wrote a story about their possible paths when crossing from the easternmost point of the Mexican border. One major route goes right through Memphis.

It's a trafficker's superhighway to the Northeast drug and child/adult sex slave markets. So, illegals and committed criminals pass through Memphis and some stay. Either way they (just on a local level) increase municipal costs, lower wages for contract labor and add to ever present criminal activity. The political party in power does not care.

So, I finally stopped resisting...

Recently I took a general gun class in preparation for a conceal and carry (C&C) permit in Tennessee. (This doesn't mean I'm carrying now or will be in the future.)

Taught by a friendly, humorous City of Memphis police officer who had qualifications in a variety of weaponry, the Sunday class walked us through the different firearms, paraphernalia and laws regarding gun use in the State of Tennessee. Scheduled for 8 hours, the group decided to skip lunch amd took an official state test that required, at least for me, some concentration and judgment. After that, we reconvened with the instructor to a shooting range nearby.

With only 10 people of mixed gender and race and one taking the class as a requirement for an armed security service, stated reasons for taking centered on 3 overriding concerns: personal protection, rising crime and the likelihood of ever creeping gun confiscation by anti-gun zealots in the Biden administration. The instructor was not with trenchant comments regarding the erosion of our second amendment. (That, as you know, has been called the amendment that protects all the others.)

The class covered a number of areas you hear about loosely and usually incompletely in news. Here are questions and answers I gathered in class. But in no way should you rely on this information without getting yourself to a real gun safety class. You do need to hear about the legal nuances and your options if you have decided to buy or carry a gun. But don't take me as any kind of expert.

My story...

Years ago in Memphis, I and a friend were robbed at gunpoint (off Beale St.). Last year I was verbally assaulted and moved upon while filling my car at a gas station. The man was offended because I was looking at him. I must have been daydreaming about another place, another time. I beg forgiveness to the Antifa God. Perhaps I should go somewhere in public and kneel before a local gang so the local paper can put me on the front page and say how sorry I am historically. Yes, I was, absently enough, looking at him as I gassed up.

Both set of experiences involved black male assailants. I'm white. I complied with thefirst and talked to the second without incurring bodily injury. But I don't know what would have happened had I been carrying when my armed robber and driver pulled their cute late model yellow Jeep curbside a few feet from us.

When we turned to look, I noticed the passenger had opened his door to display his pistol, barrel pointing down, at floorboard level. His gun-holding wrist shook menacingly with purpose. As if to avoid some sort of legal check-off, he never pointed the gun directly at us, just brandished it, which, if he had taken the course, he would have known you just can't go around doing.  

He said-and I quote-”Do you *n----s* wanna die?”

We handed over our wallets in total compliance. I remember thinking there goes my California driving license as the compact Jeep u-turned at speed. I never recovered my license. Likewise, the robber may have become enraged at only gaining $2 from me. I was worried he would return for revenge.

My friend and I made it on to the well known bar Gertrude and Mabels. From there we called the police and the bartender gave me a beer for my experience. The free beer was like a consolation prize. It could have gone way worse counting two more victims on the streets of Memphis. It took about a half hour for the police to arrive. It was a busy night.

At any rate, I believe I pieced together from media reports my young stupid robber was killed soon thereafter in a shootout with cops or civilians at a liquor store.

All that to say, ever since then, I thought about carrying a firearm.

And now to my actual gun class.

I am neither a lawyer nor a member of law enforcement. Again, you need to get into a class yourself if you plan to buy, carry or already own. I categorize these as “can you,” questions as they most are set by existing gun law. I frequently add more questions to the answers I heard in class. You can respond at my link below.

So can you...

Gift a gun?
Yes but are you responsible if you give your gun to a person unqualified to buy a gun legally? Consider any possible risks of gun ownership of your giftee as well as how that may put you in legal jeopardy "if anything happens."

Take a gun to a park?
Yes, but not if there is a school event going on at the time.

Can you buy a gun if you have a record of domestic violence?

How do you carry your gun in your car?
You're supposed to put it in some sort of lockbox, though I don't know if that's required legally and the instructor never brought it up anyway.  

On carrying your firearm in a purse or bag.
That seemed to be a pet peeve of the male instructor. When reaching for your gun in time of need, don't dig thru gum wrapper, kleenex, wallet, hair brush, etc.--unless you were thinking to politely offer a breath mint to your shooter.

Is Tennessee an "open carry" state?
Yes. Tennessee is an open carry state.mThat means if you have an enhanced handgun permit, you can open carry firearms with restrictions.

What about reciprocity with other states?
Yes, Tennessee has reciprocity, meaning other states honor the carry laws of Tennessee. Other states have legal carry reciprocity but restricitions apply. Check out this
reciprocity map.  


When can you shoot someone?
Only when your or someone else's life is imminently, meaning immediately and physically threatened, you can argue imminent threat. My comments: your best bet is to expect to be charged, so have legal gun coverage insurance. Even if you are found innocent of all charges, you won't end up ruined financially by ambitious woke district attorneys.

Can I use a gun in protection of someone else?

Yes, but only if his or her life is in imminent danger. I remember the case of a man displaying aggressive actions toward a woman who was sitting in a car. The car was in a parking lot in East Memphis. The woman's husband shot him and was convicted over what was probably argued as legal defense. The point: when you ever shoot someone, you are putting yourself in legal jeopardy of the state, even if you think you are rightly protecting someone else.

Under what circumstances can I SHOW a gun in protection of myself or someone else?
I don't remember this even being brought up in class, but it is probably illegal to “brandish” a weapon without cause. On the other hand, I've heard if you pull your weapon, you have good reason to use it. If any legal experts read this, feel free to respond. Regardless, an ambitious anti-gun woke DA could argue even spotting a gun handle under clothing is brandishing. I now am surprised that people—excluding current media—don't ask more questions of candidate district attorneys regarding their prosecution policies of citizens involved in self-defense shootings.  Tennessee law:

39-13-101. Assault. (a)  A person commits assault who:     (1)  Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;    
(2)  Intentionally or knowingly causes another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or    
(3)  Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.

What about use of a gun when threatened with a knife?
Imminent life threat seems to cover this as well. Instructor said knife attack can be deadly at 21 feet. So shoot the bastard. Hopefully the DA won't disagree.

Where can you be prohibited from carrying?
Various places. For example, private businesses can prohibit concealed guns if a sign is posted. You cannot carry in a park if a school event is occurring at that park at that time. Look for posted conceal and carry signs.

What is the Castle Doctrine?
Like the “Every Man A King” mantra back in the days of the great Louisiana populist Huey Long, Tennessee lawmakers rightly decided your home is your personal “castle” that you can protect with deadly force. That doesn't mean you can step out your door and shoot someone in your front yard who is threatening to break in. Again, depending on the DA and wording of the law, you may not be allowed to use Doctrine Castle defense even if someone who has removed a window screen, raised the window and is about to crawl through. The criminal has to be in your house.

Does the Castle Doctrine extend to my car?
Yes. But does that mean an assailant has to be in your vehicle before you can shoot him? Can you shoot him if he reaches your body, such as your neck, through a window? Can you shoot him if he is the process of entering your car uninvited? Again, hopefully voters will begin to review prosecution records and ask these types of questions of DA incumbents and candidates who want the job.

Can criminals be sued over Castle Doctrine issues?
No. Apparently law makers, that is, lawyers, actually turned down a way they could make more money. That's amazing. The spirit of Huey lives on.

Can I use deadly force, that is, shoot, to protect my property?
No. This is maybe one of the greatest categories of gun owners getting legally prosecuted. I think its a gun law that should be reconsidered, especially regarding vehicle theft and, for lack of a better term, business sackings.

But might the DA charge you anyway?
This wasn't covered in the class, but I'm always fascinated with official government behaviors. The answer: Who knows. It's been my observation district attorneys will file charges and avoid arguing most any shooting was good self-defense. Look at George Zimmerman but moreover Kyle Rittenhouse. Both were put through legal hell before coming out innocent of charges. And both were fortunate to have pro-bono attorneys.

Conversation with students in my class seemed to indicate most were already used to firing a weapon. I was not, excepting the time when I was twelve years and shot a bird with a bb gun for which I experienced waves of guilt and 37 years later when as a photographer covering it, I fired an old powder pistol at a Civil War reenactment. Then the park rangers didn't seem to care, even though I had quaffed some homemade muscadine. Both had a kick.

To find gun safety classes in Memphis, go to and search for "gun safety classes Memphis."


More coming up:
How to buy a gun in Memphis
How to train with a gun in Memphis

Like to respond to this or contribute to an upcoming article?

Ben Harrison