“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose” Kris Kristofferson once wrote.
Yet, the possibility of losing one’s health and potentially one’s life is, well, lost upon the people who have taken to dressing up in military garb, grabbing automatic weapons, and storming state capitols and governor’s mansions in protest of emergency pandemic regulations mandating that they stay at home and wear masks when they absolutely have to go out in public.
Their militant actions — which would likely be forcibly and quickly suppressed by police if the protestors were not primarily white — are all taken under the protestors’ misinterpreted notions of “freedom” which apparently are completely free of the concomitant corollary of responsibility towards their fellow citizens to prevent the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 virus.
As the estimates of the ultimate death toll from the pandemic skyrocket to the six-figure mark, the extremist nature of at least one of the organizers of such public demonstrations of intense selfishness was not surprisingly exposed today with the news of the arrest of one Bradley Bunn, a 53-year-old Colorado man who had been one of the organizers of an armed protest demanding that the state government lift its coronavirus restrictions.
ABC News reported today that federal agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms executed a search warrant at Bunn’s home on Friday after they were notified about his aggressively militant social media posts trying to encourage other angry protestors to take their automatic weapons to a May 1st demonstration at Colorado’s capitol building.
Upon arriving at Bunn’s residence, the federal agents discovered four pipe bombs as well as additional potential pipe bomb components inside the house. Luckily, Bunn’s arrest came before he could leave to attend the protest.
According to a press release from the office of U.S. Attorney for Colorado Jason Dunn, the pipe bombs that were found were transported to a gun range where they were “rendered safe” by bomb technicians.
While people who suddenly find themselves without a job or income due to the coronavirus pandemic are justifiably scared and angry, the barrage of right-wing propaganda that they are subjected to from Fox News and conservative talk radio — and the financing from shadowy billionaire-funded organizations — have led them to vent their anger at state restrictions mandating business closures and social distancing requirements designed to help save theirs and others’ lives.
Their true targets should be the Republican-led government that prioritizes and provides financial relief to businesses rather than individuals, repeating the same mistakes made at the end of the GOP-instigated 2008 financial crisis.
If the trillions of dollars in government assistance went to individuals then the majority of Americans living paycheck to paycheck without enough savings to cover an extraordinary income interruption like this would be able to pay their rent and mortgages, buy food and clothing, and seek medical care without the desperation they currently face.
To those who cry “that would be socialism!”, we ask what is it when those same dollars are paternalistically given to corporations instead and expected to trickle down to the down-trodden masses?
Might we suggest Socialist Voodoo Economics as the proper designation for the current system that preserves and extends the massive income inequality in our robber baron economy?
68,678 Americans have nothing left to lose because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rest of us still have our freedom and our responsibility to keep that number from growing.
If people are going to protest they should be protesting for a change in the system that put us in the current situation and demanding universal health care, bailouts for individuals, not companies, and a government of the people, not one dedicated to the interests of the oligarchy.
Let’s give the billionaires a taste of freedom and leave them with nothing left to lose.
And to the misguided armed protestors too stir crazy to want to wear personal protective gear like face masks — or too cluelessly selfish — we’ll leave you with this bit of commentary from this man who encountered a group of anti-lockdown protestors.
This is how I've felt since these ridiculous ass open up protests started. Bravo to this man. pic.twitter.com/izyAVK01Ck
— 🇯🇲Black🇭🇹 Aziz 🇳🇬aNANsi🇹🇹 (@Freeyourmindkid) May 4, 2020
Original reporting by Clayton Sandell at ABC News.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.