This is what the Winnipeg Free Press recently said about my home town:
“As Manitoba recorded a record high COVID-19 death toll Saturday, nearly 200 people gathered in violation of public-health orders to protest lockdown measures, mask wearing and vaccines.”
Will they next protest the fact that they can’t drive 90 km per hour in a school zone? Is that what freedom is all about? What if my religion says I should be able to drive any speed I want?
Reeve Lewis Weiss said he does not trust the information being distributed by public-health officials and news media and that they have a right to refuse to wear masks, presumably no matter how many lives he endangers. He believes that if he does not feel sick he can’t transmit the disease to others and therefore poses no danger to them. This of course is contrary to accepted scientific evidence, but he does not seem bothered by that.
Weiss acknowledged people are dying and said he supports health-care workers, but he downplayed the seriousness of the virus and said he and others who attended the recent protest rally in Steinbach believe they can’t trust the information being distributed by public-health officials and news media, and that they have a right not to wear masks. Weiss also said, “It isn’t a good time to have to hold a rally when people are dying around us. But what you don’t realize, or many people don’t realize, people are always dying around us.”
Yes people are always dying but our hospital to my knowledge has never reached capacity before. A local nurse at our local hospital compared the situation there to war time where the patients just keep coming. She warned us that health-care workers there have also reached capacity and can’t sustain their efforts much longer. Some people trying to get in to the local hospital had to be triaged in their cars in the parking lot, because there was no room in the hospital.
Meanwhile many of the other protesters referred to themselves as “freedom fighters.” As if having to wear a mask when in public is equivalent to people living under oppressive regimes like Syria. Is there any equivalence here?
Added to the toxic mix is of course religion. We live in the Bible belt and that is to be expected. It is part of the reason the media likes to keep an eye on us here. I am not saying all local religious people are the same as the protesters. But when I heard that one of the protesters yelled “Go home to the devil, you!” as provincial officials left the rally, I knew we were in trouble. These were government officials doing their best to ensure that the hospital could accept more patients if needed. Working to save lives in other words. The protesters treated them like Nazis.
Yet as this was going on “rally-goers listened to Christian music piped through loudspeakers affixed on a flatbed trailer and cheered as several speakers — including retired chiropractor Gerry Bohemier — decried shutting down churches and schools, imposing restrictive lockdown measures and mandating masks. They held signs with slogans such as “love over fear,” “honk for freedom” and “the media is the virus.”
To which I say: Honk if you love truth.