In a scene that has become far too common in our world, at least 49 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand during Friday prayers on what the prime minister called “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”
One man was arrested and charged with murder in what appeared to be a carefully planned racist attack that was live streamed over social media for his followers. Police also defused explosive devices in a car, and two other armed suspects were being held in custody as police attempt to determine how they might be involved.
Police describe those detained as “having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand.”
The man who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto in which he explained who he was - a 28-year-old white Australian and a racist - and his reasoning for the attacks. In addition to the dead, health officials said 48 people were being treated at Christchurch Hospital for gunshot wounds and injuries.
It is the deadliest shooting in the history of New Zealand, a country unaccustomed to gun violence.
In national news, former Trump advisor Paul Manafort was sentenced for more crimes this week - he is now facing at least 7.5 years behind bars - and the State of New York announced they will also be charging the real estate mogul with at least 16 more crimes. Charging Manafort in state court would negate the possibility of a possible pardon from President Donald Trump, which has not yet been addressed by the administration.
As Manafort and others made news this week, President Trump turned to Twitter to rail against the Mueller investigation, and spoke to Breitbart about the possibility of violence, should anything happen that displeases his supporters, saying, "I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of Bikers for Trump -- I have tough people, but they don't play it tough until they go to a certain point and then it would be very bad, very bad."
While Trump met with Irish leader Leo Varadkar and dealt with the week’s events, the most damaging moment for the White House of the last several days was the Senate vote to overturn his declaration of a national emergency at the Mexican border. After the House predictably and overwhelmingly voted against the measure, it was assumed that the Senate would be a much closer vote, but in the end, 12 Senate Republicans joined Democrats in denying President Trump’s request.
Tennessee’s two representatives split on the vote, as the state’s senior senator, Lamar Alexander, voted for the measure and Marsha Blackburn opposed the rebuke. Alexander explained that the president’s emergency declaration takes “$3.6 billion that Congress has appropriated for military hospitals, barracks and schools and is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution that I swore an oath to support and defend.”
Trump has said he will veto the congressional resolution blocking his declaration.
Locally, there’s news of more jobs coming to the area, as an unnamed company has made a $30 million investment to build a call center office complex in Boone’s Creek that will house at least 1,200 employees.
The facility will be built along the reconfigured Exit 17 in Boones Creek, once it is in place, and improved access along the corridor is expected to generate even more investment and lure job creators to the area.
Based on the concept plan submitted as part of the rezoning request, the call center would be a three-story, 180,000 square-foot facility with a “great lawn” area, a loading area and a mechanical area. A site plan will now have to be approved by the County Commission, and construction could start as early as this fall.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation will close bidding March 29 on the Boones Creek exit project, with construction beginning roughly eight weeks later.