Monthly Archives: June 2021

No License Needed

On June 2, 2021, Governor Lee signed a bill into law that allows people to buy guns without a license or safety training (“permitless carry”). The law goes into effect on July 1, 2021. That means in Tennessee and 11 other states (so far) with similar laws…

I need a driver’s license to drive a car.

But I don’t need a license to own the gun that kills you.

I need a license to be a mental health counselor to counsel you to not kill yourself.

But I don’t need a license or a psych evaluation to own the gun that kills you.

I need a license to cut your hair.

But I don’t need a license to own the gun that parts your hair with a bullet and kills you.

I need a license to own a bakery to bake your birthday cake.

But I don’t need a license to own the gun that kills you before you celebrate your next birthday.

I need a license to build a house.

But I don’t need a license to own the gun that kills you, destroying your home and family.

I need a license to be a medical doctor who saves lives.

But I don’t need a license to own the gun that can rip your body to shreds and kill you.

I need a license to be a schoolteacher.

But I don’t need a license to own the gun that kills school children.

I need a license to own a funeral home that will prepare you for burial.

But I don’t need a license to own the gun that kills you and puts you in a coffin.

How many people die each year in the U.S. from gun violence?  There is no accurate body count because the NRA and its cynical enablers in Congress and in state legislatures passed laws prohibiting government agencies from gathering that information. Congress once threatened to defund the CDC if it didn’t stop tracking statistics on gun violence.  (The CDC had noticed that gun violence spreads much the same as infectious diseases.)  

There is also no agreed definition of “mass shooting” for the same reason. We’ve had either 225 or 232 mass shootings during the 150 days from January 1 – May 31, 2021.  That’s a mass shooting every 0.6 day in 2021. 

Can any of the politicians supporting these “constitutional carry” laws honestly say with a straight face to the police who must assume for their own safety that every encounter is a deadly-force situation, or to the battered women who know their batterers now have even easier access to guns with which to violate orders of protection, or to the parents afraid that their child will die in the next school shooting that looser gun laws make our society safer?  Honestly and sincerely?

About Norma Shirk

My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps small businesses to create human resources policies and risk mitigation programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to help small companies grow by creating the necessary back office administrative structure while avoiding the dead weight of a bureaucracy.  To read my musings on the wacky world of human resources, see the HR Compliance Jungle ( which alternates on Wednesday mornings with my history blog, History By Norma, (available at To read my musings on a variety of topics, see my posts on Her Savvy (

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Joy and Pain

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

These last few weeks have left me a bit empty emotionally and creatively, which is why this post is late. The excitement of being able to think about a future after COVID has given way to anxiety about when to wear a mask, how to travel safely, whether to travel at all, how to begin to re-enter the world. It’s all pretty exhausting and overwhelming. Added to the mix is the excitement and joy that my daughter has finally landed her dream job and will be moving back across the country to Los Angeles. It’s a complicated endeavor that needs to be completed in a scant few weeks and involves a cross country driving trip (my husband will be doing that), finding a place to live and getting her stuff moved. And professionally, let’s just say it’s been complicated. As a newspaper editor and reporter for a Jewish publication, the escalation of violence in Israel and the current ceasefire have meant difficult information to sift through and report while I watch unfolding misery on both sides. And finally, this last weekend saw an ugly and painful display of antisemitism in my city brought on by one woman who used a yellow star as a symbol of being unvaccinated.

To unpack some of this, I’ll first focus on my daughter because her situation is one that brings me joy and relief. Last summer during the height of the pandemic, she lost her job. Since then she has pieced together a living, often working two and three jobs, while applying for and interviewing for something in her field. I watched her bravely persevere and overcome worry while dealing with grief and anger, most of the time with a smile on her face. She is one of the strongest people I know and I am so proud of her resilience and courage.

As for the COVID pandemic, I guess I’m doing what most people are doing and trying to take baby steps to rejoin the living. As an extrovert in normal times, I’m surprised by how exhausted I feel at the effort it takes to make and execute simple plans. I feel overwhelmed at choosing a restaurant, preferring to either cook at home or order in. There are a few local places that have wrapped us in comfort the last year and a half (thanks to the crew at answer.) and it feels so much easier to just do that. But we are venturing out a bit and when we do, I feel almost normal. I’ve said, “hello,” to some clothes I haven’t worn in a long time, praying everything still fits (thankfully, so far, it all does). I have two short trips planned this summer and a big trip in the Fall. I’m anxious about traveling, but also looking forward to the change of scenery.

My professional challenges are more difficult to explore. As a journalist I’ve been trained to look at as many sides of an issue as possible, to be fair in analyzing and presenting the facts and to be balanced in my coverage. Lately though, the rising antisemitism in this country and around the world has shaken me. I am, after all, a Jew in America, raised to love Israel by parents who watched and prayed as the tiny country was born over 70 years ago out of the ashes of the Holocaust. My father-in-law was a survivor of German ghettos, concentration camps and death marches. The last trip he took before his early death at age 52 was to visit Israel, to experience the joy and relief at a Jewish homeland.

I traveled to Israel for the first time as a 15-year-old teen and have visited a few times since, watching the country grow from a developing land into a high tech, modern day marvel. Is it perfect? No. Did growth come at a high price? Most definitely. Does it deserve both criticism and admiration for the choices made in the face of daily existential threat? Absolutely. But since when does criticizing your country render you unpatriotic or worse, guilty of some sort of treason? I was raised to question, to voice my opinion, to push back against injustice, to challenge the status quo, and that includes my views about Israel. But make no mistake, I am a Zionist, I am fully committed to its existence as the only Democratic country in the Middle East. And that democracy demands that I speak up and speak out. I do not pretend to understand what it is like to live with constant threat, rockets and bombs. And there is certainly plenty of misery to go around on both sides.

And now I turn to the antisemitism infecting my own city. The pain I felt when I saw a local shopkeeper peddling the yellow star of David, emblazoned with, “not vaccinated,” to an often uninformed public, was immediate and deep. My stomach turned over as I read with horror the words in the social media comments. My community’s response was fast and direct, spreading to the greater Nashville area and reaching the pages and airways of national news outlets. Most of the woman’s vendors have stopped their supply of merchandise to her store and have made their outrage known. It has been both gratifying and comforting to know there are many people who were also reviled by the post. But the pain lingers like a handprint slapped on my heart. Sadness weighs on me and the creeping fear that history may repeat itself keeps me awake.

I pray my family’s suffering at the hands of those who sought to destroy us was not in vain. Never again.

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the Editor of The Jewish Observer of Nashville, and a former small business owner.  Barbara loves writing, telling stories of real people and real events and most of all, talking to people all over the world.  The Jewish Observer newspaper can be read online at . and follow her on Instagram @barbdab58

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