Ace Speedway in North Carolina. Home of Death Race 2020?

These people won’t protect their own lives. Few masks. No social distancing. I have family, friends and work colleagues in North Carolina. I worry about their health. I don’t know how to protect them from deadly public health failure and mistakes made by Trump and others in their state. What can I do to help them?

After I saw the photos from this event I wrote letters to local reporters in North Carolina who covered the non-mask wearing, non-social distancing observing fans at the opening of Ace Speedway in North Carolina on May 23rd.

Subject: Will you follow up on your story on May 23, at Ace Speedway?

Hi Jeff and Andrew:

I’m following up on your Winston Salem Journal story at Ace Speedway on May 23rd. (News Observer story) and I saw the photos. Few masks. 100’s of people close together. Will you be doing a follow up?

Race fans in line to purchase tickets at the Ace Speedway on Saturday, May 23, 2020 in the rural Alamance County community of Altamahaw near Elon, N.C. Photo by Robert Willett News Observer. Composite by Spocko. Data source: NBC News

You might have seen photos and news reports . . . → Read More: Ace Speedway in North Carolina. Home of Death Race 2020?

Why are conservatives marching into death & misery?

For answers to this question listen to a great interview with Rebecca Solnit by Chris Hayes for the podcast: Why Is This Happening? Finding solidarity in a disaster with Rebecca Solnit: podcast and transcript

I recommend people listen to this not just to understand why conservatives are acting this way, but also because she describes all the good ways ordinary people in communities normally respond to disasters vs how movies and media portray them.

She uses her research into the 1906 earthquake and then talking about the flooding from levy failure after Katrina for the book A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster. (5:00)

Rebecca Solnit. Author of A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster

REBECCA SOLNIT: …the hundredth anniversary of the San Francisco earthquake and fire was coming up in 2006, around 2004, I got involved in a few projects to think about what had happened, started looking really closely at what happened, and then realized that the earthquake didn’t do that much damage. Institutional authorities, treating the public as an enemy to be controlled, and making bad decisions was actually the most destructive force. And in . . . → Read More: Why are conservatives marching into death & misery?

Mask It or Casket? How to Push Mask Wearing In Retail.

There needs to be a national campaign to support mask wearing. It needs to come from certain types of national organizations and be directed at corporations.

From Piotr Szyhalski’s Daily COVID-19 Reports See more of this brilliant work here

To make it work there needs to be movement on multiple fronts with support from people with various types of expertise and influence. This needs to happen because of the massive failure at the national political level to protect lives during a pandemic.

One place to support mask wearing is at the retail level. This piece in the New York Times points out why:

Who’s Enforcing Mask Rules? Often Retail Workers, and They’re Getting Hurt

The risk of a violent reaction now hangs over jobs already fraught with health perils. May 15th by Neil MacFarquhar

“Why aren’t you wearing the mask?” Jesse asked the customer on a recent day at a store in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. “I am not here to question what you believe in. These are the rules. I am just asking you kindly to wear the mask.”

The customer, Genevieve Peters, who was recording the entire exchange, refused. “We are in America . . . → Read More: Mask It or Casket? How to Push Mask Wearing In Retail.

Michigan Police will arrest anti-lockdown protesters who brandish guns

On May 13th Michigan State police put out a video explaining what protesters can expect at the planned protest at the State Capitol on May 14th. They explain in a video that there will be a significant police presence, troopers wearing masks, cops on bikes, K9 units, a mobile command center, and some “different vehicles” to help create a safe environment.

The police asked everyone to adhere to the social–six feet–distancing and said, “please bring your face covering.” They also explain that they will be arresting people who brandish guns.

Here’s a Facebook link to the whole video. I’m glad they communicated this information. The police made a decision before the last two protests on how to act. They let people break the social distancing laws. This is the third organized protest. The time for “extreme discretion” of violations of social distancing is over. The police know how to cite and arrest people. They know how to take precautions to prevent infecting themselves and others while doing it.

The media will look to see if people openly carrying guns will be arrested. But those not carrying a deadly weapons could be carrying a deadly virus.

I’ll be . . . → Read More: Michigan Police will arrest anti-lockdown protesters who brandish guns

County With 2nd Most COVID Deaths In CA Rescinds Pandemic Orders

Riverside County has the 2nd most COVID cases & deaths in California but its supervisors just voted to rescind public health orders. Here are the details from the Desert Sun. It’s outrageous. It’s should make your blood boil.

(Left) David Werksman, 51, County Sheriff’s deputy died from COVID-19. Survived by his wife and three children. (Right) Deputy Terrell Young, 52, a 15-year veteran and the department’s first to die from COVID-19.

Maybe the supervisors forgot about the death of Deputy Terrell Young, 52, a 15-year veteran and the department’s first to die from COVID-19. He leaves behind his wife of 31 years and four children.

Perhaps they need to see the photo of David Werksman, 51, a Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy who was with the department for 22 years. Better yet, the supervisors should hear from his wife and three children who are still alive.

Of course these deaths happened WAY back in April, so I guess they become just another number. Here is the video of the procession of Werksman’s funeral. Do the supervisors need to know that this hits more than old people? Here’s the story of 21 year old Valeria Viveros, who worked as . . . → Read More: County With 2nd Most COVID Deaths In CA Rescinds Pandemic Orders

Blue Lives don’t matter to anti-lockdown protester

Remember this photo? He’s not a neo-Nazi from LA. He’s a 52 year old flooring installer from New Hudson, Michigan. His name is Brian Cash and he’s a piece of work. From Detroit Free Press

Brian Cash, New Hudson Michigan April 30 Lansing State Capitol (Photo: JEFF KOWALSKY, AFP via Getty Images)

“Cash: He is not concerned about the virus (“Not at all”); he doesn’t believe masks protect people and won’t wear one (“Ever”); he doesn’t agree with the stay home order because people are still going to stores, pharmacies and gas stations anyway (“So what is the point of staying at home?”); he believes the virus was intentionally released by the Chinese government, and he said he had never voted before the 2016 election (“Because f*ck the government, you know?”).

These anti-lockdown protesters don’t care about their lives or the lives of others. And others exposed to Brian Cash SHOULD be concerned about him. Here’s some sick irony, he installs floors for the state health department!


[Cash] has been working for The Boji Group, on ongoing construction projects at state health department locations.

Now If I was the general contractor on those construction projects, I would . . . → Read More: Blue Lives don’t matter to anti-lockdown protester

What Happened When Cops Didn’t Arrest Anti-lockdown Protesters

Remember the April 15th “Operation Gridlock?” in Lansing Michigan? In my piece on April 21st I said we needed to start tracking these protesters to show that they will spread the virus to other communities. Well, someone did.

Cellphone data shows 300 of the people who had gathered in Lansing for “Operation Gridlock” scattered throughout the state after the protest. The color of the dot represents device activity: yellow is more activity, red is lighter.

The people at the Committee to Protect Medicare released data which shows the protesters dispersing to smaller communities across Michigan in the following days. The map above shows that cellphones that were in Lansing on April 15 scattered across the state. (Link)

Rob Davidson, executive director of The Committee to Protect Medicare said on Lawrence O’Donnell on April 30th that they saw a rise of 50-200% in COVID19 cases at the places those cell phones ended up.

Davidson predicts that we will see more of this following the April 30th protests. “If we keep doing the same thing over and over we’re never going to get out of this.”

Protesters without masks, PPE may have spread COVID-19 to North, West Michigan

The . . . → Read More: What Happened When Cops Didn’t Arrest Anti-lockdown Protesters

What’s the penalty for a viral assault on a police officer ?

Are these unmasked men infected with COVID19? We don’t know, no one was tested. If they were, screaming in the face of the police poses a threat to the officer and the community. When we look at Michigan law we see that whether or not they are infected these men CAN be cited for breaking MCL 10.33 & MCL 30.405(3). That’s a misdemeanor. However no one was cited.

Historically people have been prosecuted for willfully spreading a deadly virus.

In Michigan until last year, a person living with HIV could face a felony up to 4 years in prison for not disclosing their HIV status prior to any type of sexual penetration. That sentence has since been reduced.

“The amended law removes those living with HIV who are on treatment and virally suppressed-posing no risk of transmitting HIV-from being subject to prosecution”.

For PLHIV who are not on treatment and not virally suppressed, it remains a felony if they do not disclose and do transmit HIV sexually. If they do not disclose and do not transmit, the penalty has been reduced to a misdemeanor in the amended statute. Any person with a “specific intent” to infect another person also . . . → Read More: What’s the penalty for a viral assault on a police officer ?

How can we help Grand Island protect its citizens from coronavirus, state and federal government?

Yesterday I watched Rachel Maddow talk about the Mayor of Grand Island Nebraska begging the Federal government to help them.

It reminded me of an EPIC battle my friends at Nebraskans Against Gun Violence won to defeat a bill in which the state would preempt any local gun laws.

Back in the spring of 2017 NAGV’s Danni Layne and I both talked to Grand Island city attorney Jerry Janulewicz about the bill prior to the vote. We focused on safety. The preemption law would have prevented safe storage of guns, gun powder and ammunition. Laws would have to be changed or face lawsuits from NRA lawyers.

Besides a meat packing plant, Grand Island has a major ammunition manufacturer. We spoke with the public safety officials in the city and pointed out that local control is important, especially when the conditions in their city are different than in the rest of the state. For example fire safety laws around ammo storage.

The local fire marshal noted that if the gun preemption law was passed the city legally couldn’t enforce fire safety laws around ammunition storage.

The bill was defeated. The city was able to keep its safety laws.

. . . → Read More: How can we help Grand Island protect its citizens from coronavirus, state and federal government?