The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby has the latest updates on a disturbing developing story in arch-conservative Mesa County, where even as COVID-19 cases increase and hospitals near capacity amid one of the lowest vaccination rates of any populated county in the state, angry mobs of residents are showing up weekly to demand the county nullify state and federal laws they consider to be impingements on their freedom, with the alternative being civil war:
Just as they did at the end of the commissioners’ meeting a week ago, a large group of area residents complained Monday to the three-member board that the local, state and national reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic was a violation of their civil liberties, and called on them to enact a resolution declaring the county to be free of state and federal laws.
Many comments included not-so-veiled threats, while others were fraught with debunked allegations.
“We have citizens that are crying out, but eventually they’re going to get tired of crying out … and it’s going to come to a civil war,” Wendy Wood said.
It’s difficult to sort out exactly what these people are demanding, since the basis of their demands ranges from the benignly false to the craziest stuff your crazy uncle ever dared whisper. And none of these people were whispering:
“Our children are still being forced to wear masks in school, unhealthy,” added Diane Baker. “Our hospitals refuse to provide medical care to those not wearing a mask. Not OK. The cures available for COVID are still being withheld by the government. Definitely not OK.
“The media is still lying to us about the vaccine for a virus that should be labeled as a bio warfare weapon,” [Pols emphasis] she said. “Medical experts are still advertising the benefits of the vaccine, when in fact people are dying after taking it.”
On the receiving end of this bellicose mob’s rage last night were the three Republicans who serve on the Mesa County Board of Commissioners: former Congressman and failed 2010 gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis, failed 2006 lieutenant governor candidate and noted bestiality opponent Janet Rowland, and lesser-known area businessman Cody Davis. Mesa County of course never enacted COVID-19 restrictions beyond the state’s requirements, and as of today, most COVID-19 restrictions in Colorado have ended.
In last night’s hearing, Rowland refuted the contention that hospitals refuse to treat unmasked patients via her personal experience, and implored the audience to understand that 95% of COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of 2021 have been among the unvaccinated. The pleading of both McInnis and Rowland for this mob of their nominal political allies to see reason is a revealing microcosm of the struggle of the whole Republican Party to come to grips with reality in a “post-truth” world they helped create:
“I’m not sure why folks are getting the idea that a board of county commissioners all of a sudden can rise above everything else and dictate what’s going to happen,” McInnis said. “It’s just not reality.” [Pols emphasis]
McInnis also said it was unfair for the speakers to imply that their individual rights were paramount to others, such as business owners who may still be requiring mask wearing.
Those of us watching this spectacle unfold from across the Divide might be tempted to revel in the schadenfreude of Republican elected officials facing the misguided wrath of their own constituents, whose low-information energy they were happy to cultivate for political gains whenever it suited them. But because these people are actually threatening violence if their impossible demands are not met, it’s probably best to not encourage them in any way.
Suffice to say that Mesa County’s low vaccination rate is just one symptom of a much larger problem.