Your Right to Protest Doesn't Make Your Protest Right
Ian Franks
25 Apr

Derivative work, using 'TV Static Screenshot 2' by Justin March, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Recently, demonstrations have been taking place in states across America, as protestors rebel against the COVID-19 stay-at-home measures and other lockdown laws.

These people have taken it upon themselves to ignore the needs of the many, demanding immediate action to ease, if not end, the restrictions brought in to help stop the spread of the virus.

Why? For no good reason.

According to the Seattle Times, on Sunday, 19th of April, more than 2,000 people gathered at a rally in Olympia, Washington, with pictures revealing that social distancing was flouted.

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and public health scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, soon took to Twitter, commenting: “I predict a new epidemic surge (incubation time ~5-7 days before onset symptoms, if any, and transmission to associates around that time, even among asymptomatics)… so increase in 2-4 weeks from now.”

It won’t be long until we find out if he’s right.

Some Washington state representatives were seen to take part, including Jim Walsh, Vicki Kraft and Robert Sutherland. The Seattle Times said Sutherland appeared to have a handgun tucked into his pants and was particularly upset about a ban on recreational fishing.

“Governor, you send men with guns after us for going fishing, we’ll see what a revolution looks like,” he reportedly said.

Now that is going too far. If it were not for the fact that it does not call for imminent unlawful action, that statement would constitute arrest and prosecution for inciting violence.

Protesters say the stay-at-home measures imposed by states are an overreaction to COVID-19. They claim that restricting movement and closing businesses are unnecessarily hurting citizens.

A downtown Minneapolis restaurant forced to close. Image via Flickr, taken by Chad Davis, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Such claims are made either out of ignorance or denial of the evidence that has emerged from other countries. This is no time to stick your head in the sand. Listen to scientists and health professionals. These restrictions are unpleasant but necessary, according to those trying to save us - those working in science, epidemiology, public health, healthcare, and social care.

Some protestors have attended these demonstrations bearing firearms. Why? Because they claim the restrictions infringe on civil liberties. Of course, none of the restrictions contravene the Second Amendment, so the right to bear arms is not compromised, but it seems the suggestion of gun violence is inherently linked with these rallies.

On the wider issue of civil liberties, don’t get me started. 

I was a member of the National Council for Civil Liberties and taking part in campaigns for civil liberties before most of these protesters were born. Known since 1989 as Liberty, this human rights advocacy organisation is the UK equivalent to the American Civil Liberties Union.

In my view, civil liberties are desperately important and represent a key feature of any progressive democracy - but, in a civil emergency such as this pandemic, civil defence, public health, and safety of all must take priority.

Other criticisms have been levelled at the effects the restrictions will have on those workers laid off due to non-essential business closure, the self-employed no longer able to work, the vulnerable, and so on.

On this matter, it’s hard to disagree. The US response has been appalling.

Just look at what some countries are doing to protect the jobs of those unable to work: France is guaranteeing 75% of wages, the UK promises 80% and Spain has opted for 100%. 

A pub gets the last laugh in London, UK. Image via Flickr, taken by Duncan C, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Ian Franks is the managing editor of 50 Shades of Sun.

In the US, unemployment benefits have been boosted by $600 a week and are now easier to claim. Then there is the one-off ‘stimulus’ payment of $1,200 to anyone earning less than $75,000 a year. In light of the severe economic downturn this pandemic will cause, that’s pathetic.

How far will that go? Absolutely nowhere. It’s worse than a joke. And, for the supposed leader of the Western world, it shows little more than contempt for citizens.

President Trump has not helped the situation. Despite what he may say now, he did decry it as a hoax. Once he could no longer justify that, he said it would soon pass and that it was no worse than flu - that there was no need for restrictions. One lie after another.

Then there was the infamous interview in which he said he’d like to see America open up again “by Easter”, despite not even a shred of guidance suggesting that such a target was possible.

In this entire situation, the person I feel for the most is Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force. He has warned that, if the US moves too quickly to end stay-at-home orders, there could be another surge in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, Trump presses on regardless.

Does he believe he’s right? Does any responsible voter believe he’s right? This is an election year, after all.

The answer, as usual, will likely take some time to emerge.

OPINION
Your Right to Protest Doesn't Make Your Protest Right
Ian Franks
25 Apr

Derivative work, using 'TV Static Screenshot 2' by Justin March, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Recently, demonstrations have been taking place in states across America, as protestors rebel against the COVID-19 stay-at-home measures and other lockdown laws.

These people have taken it upon themselves to ignore the needs of the many, demanding immediate action to ease, if not end, the restrictions brought in to help stop the spread of the virus.

Why? For no good reason.

According to the Seattle Times, on Sunday, 19th of April, more than 2,000 people gathered at a rally in Olympia, Washington, with pictures revealing that social distancing was flouted.

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and public health scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, soon took to Twitter, commenting: “I predict a new epidemic surge (incubation time ~5-7 days before onset symptoms, if any, and transmission to associates around that time, even among asymptomatics)… so increase in 2-4 weeks from now.”

It won’t be long until we find out if he’s right.

Some Washington state representatives were seen to take part, including Jim Walsh, Vicki Kraft and Robert Sutherland. The Seattle Times said Sutherland appeared to have a handgun tucked into his pants and was particularly upset about a ban on recreational fishing.

“Governor, you send men with guns after us for going fishing, we’ll see what a revolution looks like,” he reportedly said.

Now that is going too far. If it were not for the fact that it does not call for imminent unlawful action, that statement would constitute arrest and prosecution for inciting violence.

Protesters say the stay-at-home measures imposed by states are an overreaction to COVID-19. They claim that restricting movement and closing businesses are unnecessarily hurting citizens.

A downtown Minneapolis restaurant forced to close. Image via Flickr, taken by Chad Davis, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Thanks for subscribing to The Locus!
Something went wrong. Sorry about that.

Such claims are made either out of ignorance or denial of the evidence that has emerged from other countries. This is no time to stick your head in the sand. Listen to scientists and health professionals. These restrictions are unpleasant but necessary, according to those trying to save us - those working in science, epidemiology, public health, healthcare, and social care.

Some protestors have attended these demonstrations bearing firearms. Why? Because they claim the restrictions infringe on civil liberties. Of course, none of the restrictions contravene the Second Amendment, so the right to bear arms is not compromised, but it seems the suggestion of gun violence is inherently linked with these rallies.

On the wider issue of civil liberties, don’t get me started. 

I was a member of the National Council for Civil Liberties and taking part in campaigns for civil liberties before most of these protesters were born. Known since 1989 as Liberty, this human rights advocacy organisation is the UK equivalent to the American Civil Liberties Union.

In my view, civil liberties are desperately important and represent a key feature of any progressive democracy - but, in a civil emergency such as this pandemic, civil defence, public health, and safety of all must take priority.

Other criticisms have been levelled at the effects the restrictions will have on those workers laid off due to non-essential business closure, the self-employed no longer able to work, the vulnerable, and so on.

On this matter, it’s hard to disagree. The US response has been appalling.

Just look at what some countries are doing to protect the jobs of those unable to work: France is guaranteeing 75% of wages, the UK promises 80% and Spain has opted for 100%. 

A pub gets the last laugh in London, UK. Image via Flickr, taken by Duncan C, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Ian Franks is the managing editor of 50 Shades of Sun.

In the US, unemployment benefits have been boosted by $600 a week and are now easier to claim. Then there is the one-off ‘stimulus’ payment of $1,200 to anyone earning less than $75,000 a year. In light of the severe economic downturn this pandemic will cause, that’s pathetic.

How far will that go? Absolutely nowhere. It’s worse than a joke. And, for the supposed leader of the Western world, it shows little more than contempt for citizens.

President Trump has not helped the situation. Despite what he may say now, he did decry it as a hoax. Once he could no longer justify that, he said it would soon pass and that it was no worse than flu - that there was no need for restrictions. One lie after another.

Then there was the infamous interview in which he said he’d like to see America open up again “by Easter”, despite not even a shred of guidance suggesting that such a target was possible.

In this entire situation, the person I feel for the most is Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force. He has warned that, if the US moves too quickly to end stay-at-home orders, there could be another surge in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, Trump presses on regardless.

Does he believe he’s right? Does any responsible voter believe he’s right? This is an election year, after all.

The answer, as usual, will likely take some time to emerge.

Your Right to Protest Doesn't Make Your Protest Right
Ian Franks
25 Apr

Derivative work, using 'TV Static Screenshot 2' by Justin March, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Recently, demonstrations have been taking place in states across America, as protestors rebel against the COVID-19 stay-at-home measures and other lockdown laws.

These people have taken it upon themselves to ignore the needs of the many, demanding immediate action to ease, if not end, the restrictions brought in to help stop the spread of the virus.

Why? For no good reason.

According to the Seattle Times, on Sunday, 19th of April, more than 2,000 people gathered at a rally in Olympia, Washington, with pictures revealing that social distancing was flouted.

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and public health scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, soon took to Twitter, commenting: “I predict a new epidemic surge (incubation time ~5-7 days before onset symptoms, if any, and transmission to associates around that time, even among asymptomatics)… so increase in 2-4 weeks from now.”

It won’t be long until we find out if he’s right.

Some Washington state representatives were seen to take part, including Jim Walsh, Vicki Kraft and Robert Sutherland. The Seattle Times said Sutherland appeared to have a handgun tucked into his pants and was particularly upset about a ban on recreational fishing.

“Governor, you send men with guns after us for going fishing, we’ll see what a revolution looks like,” he reportedly said.

Now that is going too far. If it were not for the fact that it does not call for imminent unlawful action, that statement would constitute arrest and prosecution for inciting violence.

Protesters say the stay-at-home measures imposed by states are an overreaction to COVID-19. They claim that restricting movement and closing businesses are unnecessarily hurting citizens.

A downtown Minneapolis restaurant forced to close. Image via Flickr, taken by Chad Davis, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Such claims are made either out of ignorance or denial of the evidence that has emerged from other countries. This is no time to stick your head in the sand. Listen to scientists and health professionals. These restrictions are unpleasant but necessary, according to those trying to save us - those working in science, epidemiology, public health, healthcare, and social care.

Some protestors have attended these demonstrations bearing firearms. Why? Because they claim the restrictions infringe on civil liberties. Of course, none of the restrictions contravene the Second Amendment, so the right to bear arms is not compromised, but it seems the suggestion of gun violence is inherently linked with these rallies.

On the wider issue of civil liberties, don’t get me started. 

I was a member of the National Council for Civil Liberties and taking part in campaigns for civil liberties before most of these protesters were born. Known since 1989 as Liberty, this human rights advocacy organisation is the UK equivalent to the American Civil Liberties Union.

In my view, civil liberties are desperately important and represent a key feature of any progressive democracy - but, in a civil emergency such as this pandemic, civil defence, public health, and safety of all must take priority.

Other criticisms have been levelled at the effects the restrictions will have on those workers laid off due to non-essential business closure, the self-employed no longer able to work, the vulnerable, and so on.

On this matter, it’s hard to disagree. The US response has been appalling.

Just look at what some countries are doing to protect the jobs of those unable to work: France is guaranteeing 75% of wages, the UK promises 80% and Spain has opted for 100%. 

In the US, unemployment benefits have been boosted by $600 a week and are now easier to claim. Then there is the one-off ‘stimulus’ payment of $1,200 to anyone earning less than $75,000 a year. In light of the severe economic downturn this pandemic will cause, that’s pathetic.

How far will that go? Absolutely nowhere. It’s worse than a joke. And, for the supposed leader of the Western world, it shows little more than contempt for citizens.

President Trump has not helped the situation. Despite what he may say now, he did decry it as a hoax. Once he could no longer justify that, he said it would soon pass and that it was no worse than flu - that there was no need for restrictions. One lie after another.

Then there was the infamous interview in which he said he’d like to see America open up again “by Easter”, despite not even a shred of guidance suggesting that such a target was possible.

In this entire situation, the person I feel for the most is Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force. He has warned that, if the US moves too quickly to end stay-at-home orders, there could be another surge in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, Trump presses on regardless.

Does he believe he’s right? Does any responsible voter believe he’s right? This is an election year, after all.

The answer, as usual, will likely take some time to emerge.

A pub gets the last laugh in London, UK. Image via Flickr, taken by Duncan C, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

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