As cases of COVID-19 surged across the country due in no small part to the growing prevalence of the delta variant, Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania announced a statewide order requiring that both public and private K-12 schools mandate masks to start the school year. Republican candidate for who-fucking-cares Steven Lynch of Northampton County gave a speech that went viral last week where he called on “strong men” to go with him to school boards where mask mandates were approved in order to “remove them.” Lynch, an excruciatingly over-manicured personal trainer, went one further by saying that he would be “going in 20 men strong” to “speak,” where he would be “giving [school board members] an option: they can leave or they can be removed.” Not much of an option, and not legal. In fact, it’s a threat of violence. So much so that The Morning Call reports that Northampton County sheriff deputies will be adding security for the county’s upcoming school board meetings.
Will Mr. Lynch be able to take time away from what is likely the hourly grooming of his hair, eyebrows, and beard to go to the school board meetings? Only time will tell. While Northampton Area School District Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik wouldn’t address Lynch by name to the news outlet, he reached out to the county sheriff’s office after that speech. “In my line of work, in today’s world, I’m concerned about everything. I don’t sleep very well at night because there is so much going in today’s world politically that comes into our district and our schools, unfortunately. I have to take anything and everything very seriously,” the superintendent said.
According to The Daily Beast, Lynch claims to own something called “Keystone Alternative Medicine And Weight Loss,” attended the Jan. 6, 2021 insurgency at the Capitol building, “and claims to have been contacted by the FBI about the day’s events, but denies any wrongdoing and has not been accused of a crime.” Good folks on both sides, and all of that.
After the video went viral, Lynch posted a statement to his Facebook campaign page saying that “People being removed from a seat does not automatically translate into a physical altercation. It had to do with the elected position. I don't condone violence. I would never advocate for it.” He went on to say that the full context of the video would show that when he said the stuff he said, he didn’t mean it like that. I can read and hear and see and there is only one context in which his statement isn’t a call to violently remove elected officials from their positions. That context would be if before the video began, Lynch told the audience that he was about to do a “character” that he created that was a man so insecure about his alpha manhood that he created what he believed to be the most alpha manhood outer costume and was going to yell about how alpha male he was. Unfortunately for Mr. Lynch, that footage does not exist.
What does exist is Lynch using the viral nature of his threat to bring “20 men” to remove school board members as a fundraising ploy. On his page you can spend $30 (plus shipping, I’m guessing) to buy a “I’m 1 of 20 I’ve got your 6” T-shirt. Get it? The “6” is military speak for “back.” And the design is a distressed stencil font so it looks like what the Army would write on your duffle bag if you were in the Army. But you aren’t. Buying this shirt doesn’t put you in any army, unless you call being an insecure prick an “army.” You are just buying a shirt so that you can say you support threatening school board members who vote to try and mitigate the spread of a virus that has killed over 650,000 Americans and has forced shutdowns of many of our daily activities for over a year.
Let’s forget about the fact that every place that pretends we are not in a global pandemic ends up having to close down their schools after cases surge. Let’s forget about the fact that there are school districts that have closed after only a couple of weeks of classes after teachers (plural) died from COVID-19. Anti-maskers are out and about raging against school boards, against teachers, against educators, in the hopes of … freeing their children from the oppression of having to wear a mask in school as a public safety measure?
How does assaulting a teacher by ripping off their mask make the point you are supposedly trying to make? How does threatening teachers and school officials with violence prove your point about your child’s safety? Lynch’s response to this was reposting evidence free, no-link studies claiming magical treatments for COVID-19 by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Until you can really square that circle, school districts will be forced to ask for law enforcement to help keep the peace at meetings.