Not So Pleasant: Tennessee Water Officials Warn Citizens That Complaints About Water Quality Could Be Treated As Terroristic Threats

220px-Drinking_waterThe Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation deputy director Sherwin Smith is warning citizens to think before they start raising concerns about water quality because they could be charged with making terroristic threats. Smith told Maury County resident that unfounded complaints could be considered an “act of terrorism” and turned over the the police and the FBI. The meeting followed complaints about water quality in Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee where children have become ill drinking the water. That left residents with the sense that they were being given a Sophie’s Choice by the TDEC: live with sick children or face a possible charge of being a terrorist.

Smith warned residents “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.” One audience member seemed to be in disbelief and asked “Can you say that again, please?” Smtih then repeated the warning.

The residents know something about terror. Joycelene Johns, 68, says that she has had no choice but to drink the cloudy, odd-tasting water for years. She added “I’ll drink it. but I pray before the first sip.”

The comments reflect a fear that the war on terror, like Saturn, inevitably devours its own. Criticism of the government is now viewed as a potentially terrorist act in our new society. The TDEC appears to be paraphrasing Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “The fault, dear Joycelene, is not in our water, But in ourselves.”

Of course, the worse thing is if Johns is arrested and water-boarded with the same contaminated water. The least they could do is use some bottled water so not to add insult to injury.

Source: Tennessee

317 thoughts on “Not So Pleasant: Tennessee Water Officials Warn Citizens That Complaints About Water Quality Could Be Treated As Terroristic Threats”

  1. Maybe every citizen in the US should call and complain about their water! How many FBI agents do we have?

  2. Did anyone send a water samples to an independent lab, far away from TN?
    I would have to say you should start there.

    A group of people did that in NJ years ago, and they did find things that should not have been there, and the company responsible is still working on the problem almost done.

  3. Mike Spindell:

    Very Aynish of you. 🙂

    Was Fritz an Objectivist?

    we also like this one as well:

    God, grant me the serenity
    To accept the things I cannot change,
    Courage to change the things I can,
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    Although Objectivists would replace or exclude God.

  4. I do my thing and you do your thing.
    I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
    And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
    You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.
    If not, it can’t be helped.

    (Fritz Perls, 1969)

  5. Bron,

    I like it.

    Or perhaps my favorite Socrates quote, “I drank what?”

  6. Bron,

    What AY says is correct. Many, if not most, of the posters here have a fairly syncretic view of politics. They’re liberal on some things, conservative on others. I myself would say I’m without question a social liberal but a fiscal conservative and my identification with progressivism goes not to any past usage of the term but to the more modern usage that simply means “someone who wants changes to create a more responsive, responsible and accountable form of government” in general. But what you are seeing is a reflection of the unusual aggregation of critical thinkers present in this forum. Bad ideas and weak arguments get shredded in here, no matter who makes them. Some people take this personally. But as you note, heat meet kitchen, kitchen meet heat.

  7. “pizza in my belly, I like apple jelly.”


    written on the stall wall in the MU engineering building’s bathroom.

  8. Nick,

    Swipes are for folks you wanna tool with…. Are you tooling with Mike…. If so cut it out….. If you’re tooling with Gene, do so at your own risk….. But for the civility of the blog…. Quit taking swipes at people….

  9. Bron,

    There are very few folks here that are progressive liberals….that’s my opinion…. Most voted for Obama as the lesser of two evils…. Me… I voted for Jill and before at Ralph…I think you have it wrong… But I may be wrong… Have been before…l

  10. BTW, for all of you trying to channel Buddha in your attempts to understand “living in the moment”, nowhere does he say you are supposed to live as if you have neither memory nor forethought. Just that you should be happy and content with the right now, for you cannot change the past and it is the past not the now and the future does not exist in the now so it is unknown.

  11. Bron,

    You are such a nihilist. 😉

    “The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

  12. Bron, Amen. And the end can be this evening. That’s why I choose to enjoy every day. I thank God every night for the day just ending, but never ask for tomorrow. That would be presumptuous. I embrace the serendipity of life.

  13. Speaking of passive aggressive.

    “I have been prepared to give this up since yesterday.”

    Then why did you take a swipe at Mike yesterday? Being prepared to do something and actually doing something are not the same thing. I bet you don’t even see the blatant passive-aggressive nature of what you just said even. Anosongosia is a terrible thing.

    You seem to fail to understand that we can pull up the entirety of your posting history, nick. We are also more than capable of analyzing it and detecting pattern evidence and presenting said evidence. We wouldn’t say we were willing to request the nuclear option unless we thought there was more than sufficient evidence to merit it. Such requests do require the Prof’s direct intervention and as the model promulgated here is one of community self-moderation, involving him directly is something we generally try to avoid when possible. Doesn’t mean we won’t do it.

    But you keep playing to those you perceive as being in your thrall and to your purpose instead of substantively addressing and correcting your behavior.

    I know how this story ends.

  14. Mike Spindell:

    Ok, I see your point.

    But I see Nick’s point too.

    It is hard to post here as a non-progressive/liberal if you are new. You guys can be pretty harsh on new people if you dont agree with them.

    But then some new people come in here talking sh*t about your views so I understand why you put them down. And if they cant take the heat, then stay out of the kitchen.

    The above comment [who gives a ……..] was in response to Gene and Ay posting their quotes. Just to be clear.

  15. AY, Merely do a rough count of the words on this, and other threads, where you have been trying to “enjoy the blog.” My complaint is often the same as yours, these spats get repetitive and tedious. It’s all on the record. It’s not even close, AY. They hijack their own threads. I would often be complimented by clients for the directness and brevity of my communications, both written and verbal. No bullshit, no polemics. We must always direct our complaints and anger in the correct direction. I have been prepared to give this up since yesterday. Ciao.

    1. The amount of words are unfortunately necessary to respond to passive aggressive behavior which by its nature is deceptive. The passive aggressive MO works by appearing to say one thing, when really saying another. The MO also depends upon people forgetting what has come before and in their restating what they’ve said as they go along. That is why I pointed out clearly what was being done with direct quotes and explanations. For the PA personality being reminded of their past quotes is taken as aggression, since they are being called to account for their behavior. What I’ve been doing is using the only surefire way to counter PA behavior and no doubt being re-quoted pisses Nick off because it exposes his methods. Then again Nick is merely a “blue collar, lovable Italian guy, who spreads love and joy to everyone”. Touching, but to use his own terminology provably “Bullshit”.

  16. “I am not sure I understand how Nick telling us a restaurant is good is being passive aggressive, or how his anecdotes are construed as something other than anecdotes.”


    Just from this thread alone and certain not his most egregious:

    Example 1

    “AY, I’m iced down, a bit less medicated, and ready to be your ally today. We have some superb Guest Bloggers but a “chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”

    Now the following characterizes passive aggressive behavior:

    “When a person has a passive-aggressive behavior pattern, he may appear to comply or act appropriately, but actually behave negatively and passively resist.”

    Look at Nick’s two sentences. In the first he uses his condition to elicit sympathy and allies himself with AY as if they are both together struggling against Gene, which I don’t quite think AY is stating. AY is arguing against Gene’s actions, but is not saying he approves of Nicks actions. In Nick’s second sentence he praises most guest bloggers, but in context is denigrating Gene as a weak link. This is a type of technique where a person will usually directly remember the praise and sub-consciously remember the opprobrium.
    It is also done to try to drive a wedge between the guest bloggers. The two sentences constitute classic passive aggressive behavior and this is especially so because his target is implied, rather than named, the better for plausible deniability purposes.

    Example 2

    From Nick:

    “Bron, I have lamented often of the lack of black folk here and I have tried to recruit some. Two guys I know have read this blog for awhile and said, “No f@cking way.” This blog is insular and cliquey, but I see some of the cliques breaking up, which is good.”

    In his first sentence he is accusing the blog of being lacking in having black people comment, which with it implies a hostility to Black people. The fact that we have commenters like RWL and Po escapes him as does the fact that there has been no hostility here to people of color by the bloggers. The second sentence is Nick’s proof by anecdote “two guys I know”. It’s like my saying two guys I know have said Nick is a……..take your pick. Finally his last sentence criticizes the blog, Professor Turley’s running of the blog and those superb guest bloggers that Nick praised above for being “insular and cliquey”, but heartens us all by ending that things are changing, The change implied is coming because of Nick’s fearless stand and his winning personality triumphing over those “evildoers” Mike and Gene. Nick really imagines himself in a heroic struggle for the “hearts and minds” of this blog. Nick sees himself as a General in this struggle and currently you and AY are the foot soldiers he is marshaling as in the following:

    Example 3

    From Nick:

    “Bron and AY, Good work. Take note Gene is solo on this. There was a time, not long ago, when there would be a posse chasing you two free thinkers back into the herd, or banished from the herd. I’ve been “moderated” and deleted w/o righteousness. So, I know how you feel. My opiate haze only allows me to offer moral support. But, as I learned over my career, listen for what people don’t say. Take note of who doesn’t appear. And find some laughs as you joust. Time for some prune juice.”

    Yep, you two are Nick’s troops fighting his cause under his generalship and guidance. Does it matter to him that both you and AY stated you were neutral in the argument between him and me and Gene? Apparently in the musings of his overlarge ego he just see you as two guides to be manipulated.

    Example 4

    From Nick at 11:26pm yesterday:

    “I gave positive suggestions to help an obviously unhappy man find some bit of pleasure in his life.”

    I am of course the unhappy man he’s speaking about trying to “help”.
    However, what preceded that at 6:26pm:

    “A curmudgeon would see a good natured, blue collar, Italian guy who likes to engage people on positives notes, w/ humor, anecdotes, recipes, banter, etc. as “an ass kisser.” Says everything about you Mikey, and nothing about me. You are in a downward spiral and virtually all are seeing it. Look on the bright side of life. Laugh. Pick one f@ckn’ day of trying to save the world and just have some goofy fun. Do you have an inner child? And yeah everything goes over my head. You know, us PI’s never pick up on anything.”

    First, looking at his characterizing the 6:26 comments as “positive suggestions”, do you think that’s what they were? Second, you may notice his calling me “Mikey”, something he started weeks ago in an attempt to diminish me, not realizing I like to be called Mikey and many of my friends have done it for many years, though without the malicious intent. Finally, ask yourself Bron, having interacted with me for many years do you see me as a curmudgeon? Do you see me as unhappy? Think I’m on a downward spiral? The “inner child” incidentally was an attempt to tweek me on being a Gestalt Therapist, since we work a lot with what we see as the “inner child”.

    Anyway, you can act as you please. Nick feels he’s already recruited you two despite your declarations of neutrality. I don’t need defenders because unlike Nick I’m not in a war for blog popularity, or status. Many people here like me, some people don’t. C’est la vie

  17. Bron,



    “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” – George Santayana

    “Just because you’ve forgotten doesn’t mean you’re forgiven.” – The Arcade Fire

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