Live from Music Row, Tuesday 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. – host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star reporter TC Weber in studio to comment on the lack of students with different viewpoints on gun control in Metro Nashville Public Schools protest discussions.
Leahy: TC Weber is in studio.
Weber: Are we back to our hanging, Chad?
Leahy: We have a hanging Chad. And the hanging Chad was, did any of these 12,000, 15,000 high school students here in Metro Nashville who either attended the walkout or 12,000, 13,000 who participated in these walk-ins yesterday and then had discussions about it felt comfortable or even had the idea to put forth policy suggestions other than gun control?
Weber: I have my doubts. Let’s just say that. And I don’t know for sure. I don’t know how those conversations were conducted. I think the primary concern of the principals was keeping everybody safe. Because when you have this kind of mass movement of people and you have this kind of for lack of a better word, disruption going on.
There’s always the potential for discipline issues to arise and kids will be put in an unsafe position. I think that a lot of it was a more controlled environment. I think depending on the relationship between some principals and their schools and the staff and the students, there was probably more of an open conversation. But I think for the most part, the conversations were the same conversations we hear their conversations with kids are concerned and kids are feared.
Leahy: I’m fearful. I’m gonna play back on what I think 99.9 percent of the conversation was. I’m afraid, guns are bad, ban guns.
Weber: Yes. And that’s what I would speculate. Yes. And I think that’s I think there is fear and a legitimate fear on all levels from teachers and administrators and students and I think that there is a great deal of questions about what to do. My biggest thing, and I said this beforehand on the show is we’re looking at solving problems in 2023 by employing solutions from 1995.
Leahy: Yes. Not working out so well, is it?
Weber: No, it’s not. And I found out, and forgive me for being ignorant, but you can print guns. You can use a 3D printer, and you make your own AR 15s. So how does that ban work? I don’t believe you can effectively ban anything in 2023.
Leahy: And in the United States, we have more guns than people right now. You can’t ban any of them.
Weber: But anything. Talk about drag queens, books, guns, none of it you can ban because I can sit in my living room and get everything ordered and delivered right to my house. So I think we have to invest in solutions, but I don’t think anybody wants to have that conversation.
Leahy: Yesterday afternoon Governor Lee set forth some proposals. And one of them, I’ll just talk about this one, was that we will have armed school resource officers in every public school in Tennessee and make it happen in private schools.
Weber: I’m 100 percent for armed SROs in schools. SROs that are doing more than just security. SSRs that interact with students, SSRs that know the students SROs that can predict things before they happen.
I will stand on the rock and say that if you’re arguing that a police officer in a school traumatizes a child, then we have a deeper issue. Police, when you and I were growing up was part of the neighborhood, they walked beats. You saw them here, and you joked with them.
Leahy: You respected them, and you didn’t mess with them.
Weber: And I think if we’re getting to the point that we can’t do that, we’ve got a deeper conversation. And the other part is, do I want an armed garment school? A, again, what’s the old saying?
You don’t go to war with the army; you want to go to war with the army you have. You have to deal with the circumstances of the world as it is today, and unfortunately, circumstances…
Leahy: Are bad.
Weber: They are.
Leahy: And you’ve got a bunch of nut cases out there.
Weber: We can debate all the other stuff. We can debate, but you have got to protect. And I think there are ways you can fortify schools. I think you can do training. I think all of that you can do in a manner that doesn’t fall into that turning schools into prisons.
Leahy: Let’s say a high school student in Metro Nashville believed we should not ban guns, we should honor the Second Amendment, and we should have armed resource guards. What percentage of the kids do you think have that political viewpoint these days to the extent that a kid can have a political viewpoint?
Weber: I think you would be shocked. I don’t think all the kids are as liberal as we think. I think there’s more conservative kids out there. I don’t know that many of them speak out.
Leahy: I think there’s a point. And you’ve got Adrienne Battle, who obviously hates guns. Right?
Weber: But here’s a point, and we’ve got to get this in, and I think this is very important. We’ve got people that are screaming at lawmakers that they have blood on their hands, but there are gun incidents at schools on more regularity. There was a gun found in a high school on the day of the shooting.
Leahy: And these are the kids bringing them into schools.
Weber: You haven’t even eradicated guns in schools. And I think that has to be a topic too. That’s part of the concern. At my kids’ school last year, we had a gun incident that was handled and then lied about. There’s no way else to put it.
I don’t typically like to call people liars, but when you look at the timeline that was presented by Fox 17, they handed me the timeline from the police. And you go, you lied. That’s not talked about.
Leahy: Before we head out TC, what I’ve noticed, interestingly enough, from any of the mayoral candidates…
Weber: Is anybody still running?
Leahy: Here’s the point. We’ve six left-wing lunatics running on the Democratic side, two Republicans, and one Independent. I haven’t heard any of these candidates comment on it.
Weber: I don’t hear any plan. I saw Freddie O’Connell out there hugging protestors yesterday.
Leahy: Oh, was Freddie out there?
Weber: He was out there hugging a few people, and I had warmed to Freddy a little bit. His statements lately fall into the pandering category.
Leahy: When you see Freddie, you’ve got to tell him to come in studio because we want to talk to him.
Weber: And is Matt Wilshire, is he on vacation? Is he out of town? Is he on a cruise somewhere? Because I didn’t hear anything from him.
Leahy: Matt Wilshire.
Weber: Yarbro has been doing his job as a state senator, but still, I haven’t seen any leadership for him, for the city that he wants to run. I haven’t seen anybody come out and firmly say, hey, here’s where we are in the city, and try to bring us together.
Leahy: What’s the city plan now? So let’s step back and say the following. I think Metro Nashville police were spectacular.
Weber: Yes. I don’t understand why I was thinking about this when I road in and heard that Andy Ogles wants to give them a Congressional Medal of Honor, and I think they deserve it. And I harken back to when we had the Waffle House shooting. And the name escapes me, but the man who made the heroic efforts to save everybody.
We couldn’t get away from him. He was at Predators Games. He was at Titans’ games. He was at Macy’s openings, he was everywhere. But these two officers acted in a manner that is textbook and other than a few, hey, thanks guys you did a great job. I haven’t seen them anywhere.
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 “TC Weber” by Thomas “TC” Weber for MNPS District 2 School Board. Background Photo “Gun Violence Protest” by March For Our Lives.