by Thea Halo
The US is one of the richest countries in the world, with some of the most prestigious, award winning scientists in the world. The very speed at which multiple vaccines were developed for the Coronavirus should inform us that the US has brilliant minds at our disposal. Yet some of our leaders seem incapable or unwilling to utilize these rich resources. Government officials should not be allowed to base their decisions during a crises on whim, personal beliefs, or ignorance. Our medical experts are not here as window dressing. They are here to advise our leaders during a crisis. Failure to follow guidelines suggested by those experts—that lead to the death of citizens—should not be tolerated. Yet multiple government officials seem to rule by whim and ignorance.
“Despite Florida representing one in every five new COVID-19 cases in the country and the state’s ICUs and hospitals reaching capacity, [Gov.] DeSantis recently pushed Florida’s health and education departments to issue a rule barring school districts from implementing mask mandates. The executive order has already been met with multiple lawsuits, with parents noting that many children are currently too young to receive a coronavirus vaccine.”1
The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, who also tried to ban the mask mandate, is no better. These people are a danger to society and should be banned from holding any office that has authority over the public.
With the surge in Corona Virus cases in multiple states, and the rogue responses to those surges by the governors of those states, one has to wonder how those governors got elected. Do they simply hate people so much that they wish to hold other people’s lives in their hands—even the lives of children? Or perhaps they are simply too stupid to adhere to the age old adage: ‘Better safe than sorry.’
It’s bad enough to not require masks during a pandemic. But actually barring school districts from implementing mask mandates during a surge is beyond stupid. It’s criminal. If even one person dies from Covid on their watch, because of their ban on masks and encouragement not to be vaccinated, these D’Idiots should be arrested and locked up on charges of Criminally Negligent Homicide.
“Negligent homicide is a criminal charge brought against a person who, through criminal negligence, allows another person to die.”
Recently, a father “was charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, [for] acting in a manner injurious to a child,” not because he physically attacked his child, but because he left his 9 and 11 year old sons to care for his 19-month old baby, while he went to work. While the father was at work, their family dog mauled the baby, killing him.2
After lifting the statewide mask mandate in March, Texas Gov. Abbott actually “stripped cities, counties and school districts of the ability to put their own mask rules in place if the pandemic flared up again. As the delta variant has spread unchecked, Abbott has held firm.”3
One of the saddest news reports reads: “Texas Judge Says There Are No Kid ICU Beds: Have To ‘Wait For Another Child To Die’”4
In the case of Abbott and di Santis, perhaps Deliberate Homicide by way of Russian Roulette should be the charge. They put tens of thousands of citizens in their states at risk for hospitalization and death from the virus.
Fortunately, there are still officials in Texas with functioning brains.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic pushes Texas hospitals to the brink, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins implored a judge late Monday to buck Gov. Greg Abbott and give local officials the ability to make it mandatory for residents to wear masks.”5
As of August 8, 2021, there were 36,038 cases a day, with a seven day average of 110,360. From July 26, to August 8, there were 245,475 cases in Florida, 160,475 in Texas, and 154,301 in California.6 In fact, “Children accounted for 15% of reported COVID-19 cases” in the US in early August.7
Republican Governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, had also signed a law banning mask mandates in the state. Gov. Hutchinson now says “he regretted the move amid surging case numbers linked to the delta strain of COVID-19.”8
It seems it’s only when some of these politicians get Covid themselves that they see the light. For some, it’s too late by then. Texas Republican Executive Committeeman, H. Scott Apley was admitted to the hospital with ‘pneumonia-like symptoms,’ and put on a ventilator, where he would die from Covid. Two days before he was admitted to hospital, Apley—who was only 45-years old—had posted his “anti-vaccination sentiments on his Facebook feed, mocking people for worrying about COVID-19.” His post stated: “In 6 months, we’ve gone from the vax ending the pandemic, to you can still get Covid even if vaxxed, to you can pass Covid onto others even if vaxxed, to you can still die of Covid even if vaxxed, to the unvaxxed are killing the vaxxed.”9 In other Facebook posts, Apley “showed support for mask burning and called incentives to encourage vaccinations ‘disgusting.’”10
Right wing radio host “Dick Farrel was a vociferous critic of Dr Anthony Fauci and urged people not to get vaccinated.” Farrel had described Dr Fauci as a “power-tripping, lying freak” who conspired with “power trip lib loons,” and as recently as June, “urged people not to get vaccinated. … Described as an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, Farrel went all-in on unsubstantiated 2020 election fraud conspiracy theories … and questioned the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines.”11
Of course, all of that was before Farrel got the virus and landed in the hospital. He then told friends to get the vaccine, before dying on August 4, at the age of 65.
There are so many more stories like these. They would be hilarious if they weren’t so tragic, and possibly avoidable. How many others were influenced to their detriment by Trump, other politicians, and public personalities who have the ability to reach millions of people? Apley not only lost his own life at the age of 45, he left behind a wife and 5-month-old son who also tested positive for the virus. Presumably many others who lost their lives also left behind those who cared about them.
So who do we blame for this idiocy? Can we still blame the cult of Trump? It was Trump who “compared the coronavirus last year to little more than a case of the flu, and insisted 18 months ago that cases within days would go down ‘close to zero.’ He did this while being fully aware of how deadly the virus is and admitted he had downplayed the threat.12 In fact, President Trump’s White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, had admitted while addressing the pandemic in September 2020: “President Trump had the facts about the coronavirus as early as February . If he had not taken bold and swift action, those facts could have spread like wildfire.”13
In May 2020, Trump indicated that vaccines weren’t all that important. He claimed: “I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests. …This is going to go away without a vaccine. It’s gonna go away, and we’re not going to see it again.”14 Yet Trump and former first lady Melania Trump had received the Covid-19 vaccine at the White House in January 2021. Trump had also benefited from the monoclonal antibody cocktail, when he fell sick with the virus something almost none of the millions of US citizens who fell sick with the virus would receive.15
Trump’s refusal to inform the nation to take precautions for something he admits he knew was more deadly than the flu, cannot, and should not be swept under the rug. The price paid by many of his followers, some of whom seem incapable of thinking for themselves, has been, and continues to be, heavy indeed.
If this isn’t a description of Negligent Criminal Homicide on Trump’s part, and on the part of other government official who disregard the lives of those they govern, than what is?
True to form, Trump recently said on a call-in talk show hosted by Dan Bongino of Fox News:
“Could you imagine if I were president right now and we had this massive attack from the coronavirus? … If that were me, they would say, ‘What a horrible thing, what a horrible job.’ And I don’t ever hear that.”16
Trump doesn’t hear that because he seems to still be living in his own universe where he hears and sees only what he wants to hear and see. In other words, Donald’s Dungeon of Delusion, where too many other D’Idiots have joined him.
“The U.S. ended up tallying 25 million cases of COVID-19, and deaths topped 400,000 by the end of his administration.”17 In other words, on Donald Trump’s watch!
“In the immediate hours following Biden being sworn into office on Wednesday, sources with direct knowledge of the new administration’s Covid-related work told CNN one of the biggest shocks that the Biden team had to digest during the transition period was what they saw as a complete lack of a vaccine distribution strategy under Trump, even weeks after multiple vaccines were approved for use in the United States.”18
How can we justify locking people away for life for one or two murders, when we allow these politicians a free ride after hundreds, and sometimes tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands die because of their deliberate misinformation about a deadly threat, a failure to distribute vaccines in a timely manner, or because of mandates that actually block precautions from being implemented?
How many US citizens must die before these politicians are held accountable? A charge of Criminally Negligent Homicide, or even deliberate Homicide by a kind of Russian Roulette, should be seriously considered for these derelict ‘leaders’.
1. Justin Baragona, GOP Senator: I ‘Disagree’ With DeSantis’ Ban on Local Mask Mandates. The Daily Beast. August 08, 2021. https://www.thedailybeast.com/gop-senator-bill-cassidy-says-he-disagrees-with-desantis-banning-local-mask-mandates 2. Katie Campione. 19-Month-Old Baby Boy Dies After Being Attacked by Family Dog. People. August 11, 2021. 3. Joshua Fechter and Isabella Zou The Texas Tribune. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins sues Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over mask mandate ban. Fort Worth Dallas Telegram. August 10, 2021. 4. Lee Moran, Texas Judge Says There Are No Kid ICU Beds: Have To ‘Wait For Another Child To Die’. Huffpost. August 14, 2021. 5. Joshua Fechter and Isabella Zou The Texas Tribune. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins sues Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over mask mandate ban. Fort Worth Dallas Telegram. August 10, 2021. 6. Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count. The New York Times. August 9, 2021. 7. Hayley Miller, Children Made Up 15% Of U.S. COVID-19 Cases Last Week: Report. Huffpost. August 10, 2021. 8. Nick Visser, Arkansas’ Republican Gov. Says It Was An ‘Error’ To Sign Law Banning Mask Mandates. huffpost. August 9, 2021. 9. Walter Einenkel, Texas Republican who promoted mask burning dies of COVID-19. Daily Kos. August 06, 2021. 10. Mike Stunson, Republican official who mocked COVID in final Facebook post dies of virus in Texas. Fort Worth Star-Telegram. August 06, 2021. 11. Edward Helmore, Rightwing radio host and anti-vaxxer dies of Covid. The Guardian. August 8, 2021. 12. Trump Tells Woodward He Deliberately Downplayed Coronavirus Threat. NPR. September 10, 2020. 13. Andy Borowitz, Kayleigh McEnany claims no one has worked harder than Trump to Protect Americans From The Facts. The New Yorker. September 10, 2020. 14. Mary Papenfuss, Trump Declares COVID-19 Will Vanish ‘Without A Vaccine,’ Contradicting Experts. Huffpost. May 10, 2020. 15. Jim Acosta and Caroline Kelly, Donald and Melania Trump received Covid vaccine at the White House in January. CNN. Updated 5:04 PM EST, Mon March 1, 2021. 16. Mary Papenfuss, Trump ‘Imagines’ How People Would Squawk Had COVID-19 ‘Attack’ Erupted On His Watch. Huffpost. August 8, 2021. 17. Ibid. 18. Jim Acosta and Caroline Kelly, Donald and Melania Trump received Covid vaccine at the White House in January. CNN. Updated March 1, 2021.
Thea Halo is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Not Even My Name, a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC, and a former producer for public radio in upstate NY. Not Even My Name was instrumental in garnering the first state-level resolutions in the U.S. that recognized the genocide of the Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians. She was a co-sponsor and driving force, along with Prof. Adam Jones, of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) resolution that affirmed the Ottoman Genocides of Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians as comparable to the genocide of the Armenians. She has also published a collection of poetry, and a number of Thea’s historical papers on the Genocides of Greeks and Assyrians have been published in books on the Ottoman Genocides. In 2009, Thea, along with her mother, Sano Halo, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 105, were awarded honorary Greek citizenship by the Greek government. In 2002, Thea was awarded the AHEPA Homer Award and, in 2012, the Association of Greek American Professional Women honored Thea and Sano for their “Profound contribution to Literature and to Hellenic Cultural Heritage and History.” Thea has also won numerous awards for her poetry and literary essays.