KNOXVILLE (WATE) – We're just a few months away from football season. But already there's been a lot of interest in season tickets and Vol memorabilia. The idea of a new coach has injected a renewed optimismMore >>
We're just a few months away from football season. But already there's been a lot of interest in season tickets and Vol memorabilia. The idea of a new coach has injected a renewed optimism for the future of UT football.More >>
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KINGSTON (WATE) - A "Shoot Coach Lane's Bobble-Head Day" hosted by a local gun shop will go on as planned, but the charitable beneficiary says it no longer wants to be involved.
The event at Frontier Firearms in Kingston was intended to raise funds for Second Harvest Food Bank.
The store plans to give Tennessee fans on Saturday the opportunity to take aim at the plastic likenesses of Lane, and his father, former Vols defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
Brant Williams, owner of Frontier Firearms, said he wanted to give fans an outlet for their frustrations following the former Vols head football coach sudden departure from Tennessee 365 days ago.
"That's what sports is about. They have teams, villains, teams they don't like, coaches they hate. I think Kiffin will go down, in Tennessee fans' book, as one of those people," said Williams.
"The idea is to finally have closure to Lane's leaving. It is time to let it go. A good way to come out and express frustrations and get behind the new coach and the team as they move forward next year," Williams added.
Williams and gun owners at Frontier Firearms say they understand some people disagree with their methods, especially only a few days after the tragic shooting that wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and wounded and killed several others in Arizona.
"YouTube is covered up with 'Smash Lane Kiffin' bobblehead dolls and people shooting them with shotguns," said Williams. "That's been going on for over a year. This isn't a new idea. We just thought we'd make it into a positive event where people can benefit and that truly is something needed right now."
Though the proceeds of the event were to go to Second Harvest Food Bank, the organization decided to end its involvement after hearing complaints from some local citizens.
Second Harvest Executive Director Elaine Streno made the decision after 6 News first reported on the event.
Williams issued a statement Thursday after Streno announced her decision, saying he respects "2nd Harvest's decision and understand that they must consider feelings on all sides."
"We hope firearm owners do not take this as a sign that 2nd Harvest Food Bank is anti gun. They are not," Williams' continued in his statement. "Rather they are merely reacting to unfounded accusations against a single shooting event as being somehow connected to the actions of a lone, mentally disturbed gunman in Tucson, Az."
Williams then took on those who say the event was in bad taste:
"We reject the notion that anyone other than the lone perpetrator is responsible for those murders. We reject the President's suggestion yesterday that the murders and injuries in Tucson reflect or are the result of some dark flaw in our national character. We reject the idea that the perpetrator was in any way encouraged or spurred on by political discourse – whether civil or uncivil.
"Moreover, we fail to see the connection between shooting at toy figurines and the shooting rampage of a mental disturbed individual. Millions target shoot, hunt, and compete with firearms every day without being overwhelmed by the desire to murder. The fact is no SANE person is compelled to kill as the result of shooting inanimate targets – be they paper or bobble-head. Yet an insane or evil person needs no prompting – they do what they do regardless."
Williams said the event will take place at Frontier Firearms as scheduled on Saturday, January 15, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Alabama football coach Nick Saban traveled into Vol Country Tuesday for a benefit speaking engagement in Athens.More >>
Alabama football coach Nick Saban traveled into Vol Country Tuesday for a benefit speaking engagement in Athens. The coach spoke in a tent filled with UT and Alabama fans about leadership and motivation, making the night about more than football.More >>