The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into threats made against state lawmakers who helped pass the new synthetic drug laws.
A Tennessee blog has not only posted nasty things about the lawmakers, but it also may have suggested they would be harmed.
Seldom has a new law had such an instant impact. The ban on synthetic drug sales has led to the raiding of more than a dozen Tennessee convenience stores, and now it may have led to these alleged threats.
The TBI is investigating after some strongly worded posts were published on the Tennessee Political Blotter targeting the lawmakers who voted to ban synthetic drugs.
The blog even named family members and promised payback.
"I've had a couple of veiled threats with a couple of things that have gone on, and a couple anonymous letters at the office lately. You know, normally they are not that serious, but when you have a drug dealer on a blog make those kinds of threats we do take that seriously," said State Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet.
And so did the Tennessee Highway Patrol, which actually went to the trouble of contacting all family members of State Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport.
Shipley is the House sponsor, and Beaver the Senate sponsor, of the bill costing money for merchants but saving the lives of young people.
Soon after the law went into effect, law enforcement across Tennessee closed stores and confiscated their cash for selling synthetic drugs.
"They certainly need to stop them from importing bath salts and plant food, which is just a form of Ecstasy that kids get a hold of. And it's almost worse than meth. Meth kills you slowly, but these can kill you instantly. And they don't know what they're taking," Beavers said.
The lawmakers said they found it a little unnerving when the blogger knew so much about Shipley's family. Shipley said the situation is frightening, but it won't affect his attitude as a legislator.
"I'll do it again, period. It's the right thing for America," Shipley said. "Americans can't be intimidated from doing the right things and neither can I, period."
Beavers is not a shrinking violet. She will tell you how she feels on an issue. But this feels a little different and is a little scarier than other times.
"As for me, I have a carry permit and can protect myself," Beavers said.
Beavers said if there is any loophole in this new law, she will work to tighten it up next session.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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