Erica Shields and the “Freedom Blanket”

Instagram post by Jeffco School Board candidate Erica Shields (Nov. 2015)

This photo of a “Freedom Blanket” was posted in November 2015 on the Instagram account of Erica Shields, a Republican running for Jefferson County School Board in District 2 against incumbent Democrat Susan Harmon.

Erica Shields

You’re not seeing things — this is an actual social media post by an actual Republican candidate for school board in Jefferson County, which is where the Columbine school massacre took place in 1999. We obscured the face of the boy in the photo because it’s not his fault that his mom thought that this would be a good thing to put out on the Internet tubes.

Shields posts on Instagram and Twitter under the handle “mrscoam2016,” a reference to the fact that she was the 2016 “Mrs. Colorado America,” which is apparently a thing. As of September 2017, she also started posting under the handle “@EricaforKids.”

As the Lakewood Sentinel reported in mid-September, Shields fancies herself as a “public health educator.” Judging by her social media accounts, this is a fancy way of saying that she is a personal trainer/yoga instructor:

Shields, a Jeffco mom, describes her work as being a “public health educator,” who advocates for childhood causes including fitness, resiliency, pediatric cancer, child abuse and neglect, and education.

“Over the last year, I have spent a significant amount of time volunteering in schools which serve high populations of students from families living below poverty,” Shields said. “I have seen the incredible needs in these schools. I have learned not every student in Jeffco has the same opportunities despite the billion dollars we spend each year. I am running to be sure we focus on improving opportunities for all students so that they can be better prepared for college or career.”

According to the Sentinel, Shields opposes closing schools, opposes the idea of moving sixth-graders to middle school, and wants to “attract and retain great teachers and staff.” It’s fun to come out against cuts of any kind when you don’t have to actually worry about a budget.

Mail ballots drop in Jefferson County on October 16.

26 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55 says:

    That's child abuse. What would your righteous Christian gun-totin' friends say if this were a picture of a dark-skinned child, wih Arabic or Latino features?

    It's what they should be saying about the person who took this picture.

  2. Old Time Dem says:

    Apparently, looking like you were just killed because your gun collection fell on you is a thing:

  3. Old Time Dem says:

    Commenter Ed McDonald (below) notes that Ms. Shields has "both a masters degree and a Phd in public health."

    Precise information on Ms. Shields seems to be difficult to come by. Her campaign website notes that she has an M.P.H. (which is a master's in public health) and a Ph.D., but does not describe what field her Ph.D. was granted in nor what institution granted it. Her campaign bio also doesn't list any actual work experience.

    A facebook post describes her as a "certified personal trainer, weight-loss and fitness nutrition specialist, NSL master bikini pro fitness competitor, pageant coach, and reigning Mrs. Colorado America 2016" and "a public health educator with over 30 years of experience working as a public health educator in local and state health departments, schools, communities, and universities."

    Maybe her campaign bio could be a little more forthcoming as to just what that 30 years experience entails.



  4. ElliotFladen says:

    Unless you can demonstrate that Shields got her credentials from a degree mill, you don’t really have a coherent argument. Her love of the second amendment is frankly irrelevant to whether she can perform the job she is running for.  As such, this is a half-baked hit piece. 

  5. mamajama55 says:

    In a country where you have 500 children a year dying of accidental gunshots, another 7500 hurt, posting a photo of a kid cuddling up with guns is child abuse.

    If they are fake "toy" guns, as David Gilbert claims in the FB post below, that's no better. Remember Tamir Rice? He was 12 years old with a toy gun. The police didn't hesitate even three seconds to declare him a menace and take his young life.

    The police officers involved walked free. Again, if this was a dark-skinned child covered with guns real or fake, you right wing commenters would be frothing at the mouth, not preaching about 2nd amendment rights.

    The fact that this woman is running for a position in which she would be making decisions about the safety of children makes my blood run cold. It's not a "hit piece", Elliot – I could care less about her yoga certifications or what have you. Glorifying gun use for kids and creating a false sense of safety is reason enough never to elect her for any office.

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      The fact that this woman is running for a position in which she would be making decisions about the safety of children makes my blood run cold

      She probably sees herself as Julie Williams 2.0.

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        I'll bet it's more Julie Williams .357 . . .

        (In a further twist, I'm gonna' agree with Fladen.  Shields, in this instance, is a knucklehead, and is arguably acting irresponsibly — but as to the issue of this knucklehead's claimed credentials, why not get a little bit of, oh – I don't know, evidence or possibly some proof maybe, before going off stupidly half-cocked ???)

    • octabeck says:

      I don't like guns and I don't own any. But as a young boy, I loved playing with toy guns. Squirt guns, Nerf guns, cap guns – I thought they were all great fun. It didn't mean I was "dreaming about shooting illegal immigrants." This is hysteria that's distracting from real issues.

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        I bet you dreamed of going up against the Kaiser's men.  What's distracting is trying to explain this fetish with guns as normal.  This is not normal behavior and speaks to what other aberrant ideas that she will drag with her into the office.  We live in hysterical times when people other than Tim Tebow bowing during our national song are threatened with lynching.

  6. RepealAndReplace says:

    I wonder how far this woman spreads her blanket of freedom….

    Suppose little Rock grows up, marries and his wife and he decide they aren't ready for a child. Would Erica believe that little Rock's wife has the freedom to choose? 

    Or little Rock decides Jesus is not all right for him but Allah is. Does her commitment to freedom extend to Islam?

    Or little Rock doesn't want to marry Susie but instead Mike. Does her commitment to freedom extend to marriage? 

    These RWNJs are great spouting slogans but not so good putting them into actual practice.

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