Live from Music Row, Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – guest host Aaron Gulbransen welcomed Jeff Beierlein and Aaron Spradlin in studio to discuss local solutions to human and child trafficking.
Gulbransen: Jeff Beirelein line has a couple of points that you wanted to make, and I wanted to give you the opportunity to touch on some of them on this issue that we’ve been talking about.
Beierlein: Sure. Thanks. And first of all, I want to appreciate the opportunity to be on the show this morning. This is great talking about a lot of heavy issues at times too. A lot of them are, highly charged and exciting things, too in certain ways. But ultimately, we have to decide what’s important to us as a community and what we want to prioritize.
The issue of the sex trafficking piece, to the drugs, the border, et cetera. Should we make that a priority? And that’s something we should resource. And to me, it typifies some of the worst examples of coordination or lack thereof, be it deliberately or not, between the federal government and the entities thereof, state and local governments, and then the potential to work with non-profits to address a very serious issue.
And the sex trafficking piece would probably be at the top of some of the most heinous criminal activity that we can think of. But the fact that it’s happening under our noses is awful. And so we were talking about during the break were some of the steps that can be put in place, what we should expect, and how to make this a louder priority at the state level if the federal government’s unwilling to address it.
But they’re definitely facilitating some of the things that allow for that. Maybe lack of accountability both at the border or sending people out into communities, so it’s fascinating to hear what the mayor of Knox County said earlier that plane loads of folks are just being dumped in McGee Tyson, which is probably happening in a lot of different airports within the community.
Folks getting dispersed out in the community without any oversight, control, et cetera. That’s how children are trafficked—and beyond that point, who knows what happens to them, Aaron. So thank you for making that a point.
I would be interested in other things we can do to address it. I think, first of all, calling it out and understanding what task forces are in place now. And what more we could recommend from, as you mentioned, a budgetary perspective that we can control at the state level. Any other thoughts on that?
Spradlin: Let’s go back to Mayor Jacobs. What’s the budget he’s trying to get?
Beierlein: A billion dollars.
Gulbransen: No tax increases.
Spradlin: There’s no tax increase.
Gulbransen: And an increased amount of pay for the police.
Spradlin: A billion dollars is no drop in the bucket. And he’ll probably pull it off, and I hope he does. I pray that he does—95 counties in the state of Tennessee. Now, not of, not all of them are in Knox County. You’ve got some pretty small counties, but then you got some mega counties.
Let’s say, for instance, I don’t know, the seventh wealthiest county in the nation, Williamson County. What could they do to help? What could the mayor of Williamson County do to help to take a stand, to do something to help his law enforcement?
I think Mayor Jacobs is leading the charge as an example, and that can be mimicked across the entire state. Leave Capitol Hill up there if they’re not going to do anything about it. And I’m going to put a lot of this on the governor. All right? And I like him because I knew him before. I think more could be done in his particular position.
Gulbransen: He needs to stop obsessing about a red flag law and think about saving children, is the blunt way to put it.
Spradlin: I’m with you 100 percent.
Gulbransen: And we’re talking about child trafficking. Red flag laws don’t save anybody. They’re in 20 states around the country. They don’t do a darn thing. So if you’re saying that those save children, you’re lying.
And anybody who supports the red flag law is anti-Second Amendment. And anybody who is calling us heartless for saying that is absolutely wrong, as we’re sitting here fighting against human and child trafficking, what in the world are you doing?
Gulbransen: Justin Jones ain’t fighting child trafficking.
Spradlin: No. Justin Jones isn’t doing anything but being the domestic terrorist that he is. And I have no problem saying this because I’ve dealt with him so many times before he was dropped into the legislature. And he is not a hero for his side.
He is a bully, and he should be put in prison. And maybe someday he will. Maybe if we have this ridiculous special session, it’ll happen. Because he’ll show himself and he’ll probably do something out of line or he’ll force somebody else to do it.
And maybe there’ll be some coercion. Anyway, the point being back to you, Jeff, the local, the county, they take control of it. All right? If it’s not going to happen to the top, let’s make it happen here. All right, let’s go down to Chattanooga. Right now, Chattanooga is a war zone.
We don’t hear about it. Do we all know we got the aquarium and we got the Riverwalk, and we got all the pretty places you can stand and look out over everything. No, it’s a war zone. You got the Crips, you got the cartel, you got drugs, you got sex trafficking. It is not a pretty place.
There ain’t enough money in town for me to go down there and live, and I live on the edge of this county. And, but my point is, if you put the efforts out there like Mayor Jacobs is doing you can start doing this at the grassroots level. You don’t even need the dadgum Hill to do it. You know what I mean? That’s to answer your question.
Beierlein: Sure. And I would like to make the point too, the legislature has been phenomenal on so many issues.
Spradlin: Yeah, absolutely. I’m not trying to take away that.
Beierlein: And they have made headway in places that have probably been off the table before, been an example for so many other states. So they’re taking up our same legislation. However, I think there are some more steps we can take collectively to fight this and make this priority move forward.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Jeff Beierlein” by Jeff Beierlein. Photo “Aaron Spradlin” by Mission America Foundation.