Publisher’s Positions

By Steve Hunley

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Our entire community was devastated by the death of Tucker Blakely, a deputy in the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.  It is especially poignant to consider the domestic violence call was Blakley’s last before becoming a K-9 officer.  Tucker Blakely had already picked out his K-9 before going out on what was his last call.  Domestic violence calls are some of the most dangerous situations any law enforcement officer will answer during his or her career.

Tucker Blakely had a heart for service, joining the United States Army at 18, where he served as a combat medic.  Blakely then joined the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, graduated from the Knox County Regional Training Academy in 2021.  A week ago Sunday, Blakely was one of the officers who responded to the domestic violence call in West Knoxville.  Matthew Rose started shooting at the deputies and officers fired back, killing Rose, but not before he had mortally wounded Tucker Blakely.  Rose evidently had a criminal history and had problems with drugs and alcohol according to recent news reports.

Blakely was rushed to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where he died from his injuries.  Fellow officers held a vigil outside the hospital as they prayed for Blakely.  The flashing lights in the parking lot could be seen for miles around.

Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler, struggling to contain his emotions, made the announcement of Tucker Blakely’s death at a press conference.  A solemn procession of law enforcement vehicles and a squad of motorcycles accompanied Tucker Blakely’s body back to a funeral home in Powell, where he had attended high school.  It was one last service the sheriff’s office personnel and fellow officers could perform to honor their fallen comrade.  It was a small tribute to a big man who deserves all the tribute we can give him and his service to our community.

By every standard, Tucker Blakely was just as fine a young man as God ever made.  Blakely had a love of his country and a need to serve and protect the public.  At a time when it is awfully hard to recruit law enforcement officers due to the campaign of vilification, dehumanization and systematic abuse by those who wish to defund the police in this country and release criminals and predators back out onto the streets, Tucker Blakely shone like a beacon during the darkest of nights.

People need to sit up and take notice of the sacrifice made by Tucker Blakley, to reflect upon those people, fellow human beings, who live to serve and protect us and our loved ones.  Tucker leaves behind his own loved ones, including his wife, Katarina and a 5-year-old son, his parents, and his brother Ty, who is the mayor of Maynardville.  Law enforcement officers have families, too.  To the family of Tucker Blakely, The Focus family extends our collective prayers and sorrow, along with thanks for his service and life.  To the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, The Focus family proudly stands beside you in honoring the life and service of a true public servant, brave and true.

Most of us should take a moment to reflect upon the young man whose life was taken from him much too soon.  A life snatched away from his wife, son, and family.  That life is irreplaceable.  We should say a prayer and thank God for Tucker Blakely and his life.  Because of young men and women like Tucker Blakely, America still remains the home of the brave and the land of the free.

Deputy Blakely’s life, far too short and tragically ended too soon, counted for something that cannot be measured by man.  Tucker Blakely lived his life in the service for others and died in the service of our community.  As Sheriff Tom Spangler said so movingly, Tucker Blakely lived as a hero, and he died as a hero.  Truer words have never been spoken.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 KJV


Former Principal Should Be Expelled

What happens to a student who recklessly pulls a fire alarm for the meanness of it?  He or she is suspended or expelled.  New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman did that very thing in the Cannon House Office Building.  Bowman, a former school principal, excuses himself by saying he was in a hurry to get to the floor and thought by pulling the fire alarm, it would open an emergency exit.  There are those who say it was a failed attempt by Bowman to delay a vote.  Of course, Jamaal Bowman was the principal of something called the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action in the Bronx.

The bottom line is the former school principal apparently has difficulty opening doors without staff to help him.  The door in question was clearly marked as an emergency exit only and alarms would sound if opened.  So, naturally, he pulled a fire alarm because that’s what one does in New York to get through a door.  Evidently, there’s a leak in the roof and something seeped through Bowman’s bald dome and it wasn’t smarts.

Republicans are suspicious.  Some Republicans believe Bowman was trying to delay the vote on the budget bill and Democrats were wanting more time to consider it when Bowman set off the fire alarm.

Bowman is a Leftist, a self-described “progressive” who is a member of the far Left “Squad” in Congress.  Bowman’s first notoriety came from a screaming rant having something to do with gun control in the corridors of the Capitol while congressmen were leaving the floor following a vote.  When Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky asked Bowman to stop yelling, the New Yorker screeched, “I was screaming before you interrupted me.”

While there wouldn’t be much of a debate about suspending or expelling a student for having deliberately set off a fire alarm for no good reason, the standard for a progressive congressman is different.

Bowman went to the trouble of sending a memo to his Democratic colleagues in the House with suggested talking points for fellow congressmen to use defending him before media outlets.  That didn’t go as well as he had hoped as he called Republicans “Nazis.”  Bowman claimed he was unaware of the reference in his memorandum, so the congressman seems to be claiming it was written by his staff and sent to every Democrat in the House of Representatives without his bothering to read it.  He must have been one heck of a principal!  A regular whizbang of social education.  Bowman probably has “restorative practices” tattooed someplace on his body.

After thinking about it, Jamaal Bowman really might not be at fault after all.  Obviously, a social education isn’t a real education and he may never have learned how to open a door.  For that he has to depend upon those who went to Public School 32.  Those who went to a private school doubtless take the elevators and walk through the tunnels connecting the House Office Buildings to the Capitol.


Rules For Thee But Not For Me?

Justin Jones, the former activist turned State Representative, is suing Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Cameron Sexton for not being allowed to talk on the House floor.  Jones’ lawsuit references what he calls his “illegal” ouster from that body.  The House had changed its rules that those members who were repeatedly out of order would lose their right to speak on the floor for the remainder of the day.  Jones was the first to run afoul of the new rule and when it was enforced, the Democrats in the House got up and left the chamber.  Justin Jones is seeking unspecified monetary damages in his suit.

For someone who dislikes law enforcement, Jones certainly likes to resort to it when he needs it.  Jones previously filed a complaint against fellow state Representative Justin Lafferty who objected to Jones thrusting his phone in his face.


Blackburn Outraises Johnson 2:1

Another member of the “Tennessee Three” Gloria Johnson announced she has raked in $1.3 million in contributions from Leftists in all 50 states in her race to win the Democratic nomination for the U. S. Senate.  Senator Marsha Blackburn raised $2.7 million during the same quarter, more than double the amount raised by Johnson.  Add to that the $6.5 million Blackburn had on hand.  Blackburn received contributions from individuals in all 95 of Tennessee’s counties and the average donation was $20.04.  Johnson’s average donation was “just” $51.27.