By George Miller
Resentment, suspicion and in some cases, sheer desperation, drove people out in the streets today to express their concerns and anger over the COVID-19 lockdown approach, which has thrown tens of millions out of work (far more than unemployment statistic reveal) and sometimes, into poverty and onto food lines. It has also greatly curtailed human social and economic activity in an attempt to break the rapid growth of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friday’s COVID-19 lockdown protest was part of a coordinated at least 15 event statewide effort. It was much larger than last week’s event, with around 1000 people either massed at the County Government center, marching, or driving around the area in cars with signs. The general theme was to end/ease the current lockdown approach and reopen the state as rapidly as can be done safely. Officials, in an abundance of caution, many say overabundance of caution, have imposed severe lockdown provisions having a brutal economic and social effect. But, are these justified and/or are there better ways?
But, there were also several less prominent undercurrents, such as: the approach is causing more harm than good; will not end the pandemic and might actually be counterproductive to so-called “herd immunity”; although serious, the threat has been exaggerated; some of this is being done to increase control and implement several controversial social and political agendas; officials don’t really know what they are doing.
Even in such ominous times, the mood of the crowd seemed rather energetically ebullient, considering thousands of deaths, millions of infections and economic ruin for so many people, organizations and soon, even government entities. They were often mocking more than bitterly criticizing officials who have imposed this on them. The many signs we saw and a few conversations we had along the way made that clear. Governor Gavin Newsom was targeted for severe criticism, though, being the highest profile official associated with specific lockdown orders made him a lightning rod for it. We saw no sign there of the MSM-inspired “blame Trump” trope.
This wasn’t just about carrying signs. We could see/hear many people talking about/exchanging views on the crisis, what is being done, how it is working and what should be done. Of course, the nature of the event tended to bring out people who are not satisfied with what is going on.
While the participants were a little more standoffish than in the past and many attempted to maintain a six foot space, it was almost impossible at such a large event. Unsurprisingly, we saw quite a few “social distancing” lapses.
Some of the organizers made an attempt to manage the event and present speakers, but the layout and audio setup were woefully inadequate to communicate to such a large, vocal and scattered crowd on an already noisy corner. Most seemed more interested in talking, showing and looking at signs and just enjoying the beautiful Southern California spring weather- sunny and in the low 70’s. It was not possible to get close enough to hear speakers without pressing into a large crowd, so many people, including this writer, hung back.
There were actually multiple groups which organized and fed people into this event. Included were: Lead organizer of this week’s event was #FullyOpenCA/ https://wehaverights.com/, and also the Thousand Oaks Tea Party, Point Of View, Libertarian Party, Reopen CA Now, and several informal church member groups from organizations like Calvary Chapel Godspeak/Thousand Oaks. Senior Pastor Rob McCoy of the latter organization was present. He has been very outspoken about reopening CA, particularly religious services and actually resigned his Thousand Oaks City Council position over it. Coordination among some of the groups wasn’t much present except to get people to show up, but most seemed to have similar objectives. Quite a few of local people we talked to had told us they were going to the LA or Sacramento (opposed by Newsom and CHPS) events.
I didn’t see or hear of any county or state government officials at the event, which was once again right at the doorstep of the Ventura County Supervisors. If I hear of their presence, this article will be updated.
We did see a very few counterprotestors early during the event on the periphery of the crowd and by Kaiser Permanante. The ones we saw were dressed like health care providers on the job. I was unable to snap a pic as I was driving by.
Rogue Virus Researcher
We had heard that ex-virus researcher Dr. Judy Mikovitz (my former next door neighbor) would speak at the event, but did not see her. It would have been easy to miss her, as I was all over the neighborhood checking out protesters, cars and signs. Mikovits was demonized by opponents and accused of everything from sloppy research to theft of intellectual property- denied. She has a couple of books ALSO out (very timely) and did a few recent video interviews (exposés). If true, the accusations are stunning in what she says about Dr. Tony Fauci, the federal medical bureaucracy, research, nature of viruses and contagion, unlikelihood of ever developing a COVID-19 vaccine and believes that the lockdown approach is actually counterproductive.
We may add more participant comments, photos, videos as they trickle in, but we wanted to get you an early report with what we had. CJ Reporter Michael Hernandez was also there and will publish an article soon, which has more on the speakers.
Photos by George Miller/CitizensJournal.us, unless otherwise specified.
George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.