We already knew that the people out protesting the pandemic lockdown measures were increasing the threat levels faced daily by the nation’s health care workers, simply by astronomically increasing the likelihood that not only they will require hospitalization, but so will anyone they go on to infect—and by extension, the health workers as well. This is why we’ve seen these workers showing up as counterprotesters to the mostly far-right “Patriots” demanding a Trumpian “ReOpen.”
What we probably weren’t expecting was that they would be getting direct physical threats from the same crowd—as happened this week in Colorado and Pennsylvania.
In Greenwood Village, Colorado, an anonymous person emailed a threat to the Tri-County Health Department, warning that a “civil war” was about to erupt over the ongoing lockdown limits in Colorado for the COVID-19 pandemic:
“I know you’re the receptionist and not responsible for these edicts… but tell the 9 petty tyrants who want to keep locking most of Colorado down to (expletive) OFF. ‘We the people’ are DONE with this (expletive) (expletive), and you’re about to start a hot-shooting no (expletive) civil war. END. THE LOCKDOWN. NOW. Or face severe consequences.”
Police in the village say they have stepped up their patrols around the health department building as a response to the threat.
Gov. Jared Polis made a scathing reference to the incident on Wednesday. “Threatening a civil war over decals on the floor of the store telling you where to stand in the takeout line is really offensive to anyone who supports the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy in this country,” he said.
The previous Friday, a Colorado Springs man was visited by the FBI after he threatened to bring high-powered rifles to an anti-lockdown protest in Denver and use them. They wound up arresting him, discovering he had a large cache of pipe bombs he intended to use on any law enforcement officers who might dare to raid his home.
Meanwhile, a parade held Tuesday in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, intended to be a “Salute to Nurses” and other health care workers, was attacked by an unhinged man driving an SUV into the crowd of first responders and waving a gun, threatening to kill the people in the parade. He ended up in Darby Township with the SUV on its side following a police chase.
The man is in custody, but police have not released his name.
Nor are health workers the only frontline responders being threatened by the pandemic protesters. In Ecton County, Texas, the sheriff and his deputies have been inundated with death threats following the arrest over the weekend of six men who were brandishing their weapons outside a tavern that had opened illegally, ostensibly protecting its “free speech rights.”
The groups that organized the original protest outside the tavern are now protesting outside the sheriff’s office and a home they believe is his residence.
There’s a reason the Department of Homeland Security issued an ominous warning in the wake of the earlier Colorado arrest, “stating that it had identified threats of violent action to be taken against FBI agents and local law enforcement partners in reaction to an arrest happening this weekend.”
“DHS warned that a white supremacist extremist instant messaging group shared information claiming a quick reaction force was being staged in the Fort Collins, CO area in response to an FBI raid, and that the group was inciting followers to shoot through their doors at FBI agents and local law enforcement officers performing said raids,” according to a document filed by U.S. Attorney Jason R. Dunn on Sunday.