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THOMPSON: Florida's response to COVID crisis criminal

August 16, 2021 - 12:00 PM



In a just world, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis would be charged with manslaughter…enough to land him in prison for up to 15 years, along with 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine…for each count…and there are thousands of counts.

Of course, we don’t live in a just world. If we did, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Stephon Clark and a few hundred other people of colour murdered would be alive today. If we did, Google, Facebook and Apple would all pay more income tax to the Internal Revenue Service than I do. But those are other stories…other truths.

But make no mistake. The evidence against DeSantis is every bit as strong and convincing as the evidence against the police officers who killed Floyd, Clark and Taylor…and the evidence against corporations that pay nothing in income tax.

We even have DeSantis on videotape lying to Floridians - several times - passing along deadly disinformation about COVID-19. Of course, the same can be said of Donald Trump - a man who also led an insurrection and orchestrated an attempted coup against American democracy - and he’s still walking around a free man.

Yes, it will take a thorough investigation to determine exactly how many people in The Sunshine State died as a result of DeSantis playing politics. But when the deaths from your criminal acts run into the thousands...even a few missed here or there maybe doesn’t matter. The negligence of DeSantis killed Floridians in 2020…and continued into 2021…and even as you read this.

I’m giving the governor - one of enumerable Republicans vying for “Lying Poster Boy” - a break…one could make a case for Second-Degree Murder charges. But a good prosecutor would have an easier time proving manslaughter…more precisely involuntary manslaughter…engaging in “culpably negligent” conduct that resulted in the death of another person…again, times thousands.

Florida - the third most populous U.S. state with 21+ million residents - has recorded three million COVID-19 cases…and 41,000 deaths. Now, to be clear, DeSantis isn’t responsible for all 41,000 deaths…after all viruses don’t give a rat’s ass whether you’re Republican or Democrat, Black or white, male or female, young or old. COVID is an equal-opportunity killer.

Unfortunately, DeSantis and most Republican governors and their brethren members of Congress, aren’t equal-opportunity killers. Their lies, misinformation and disinformation - along with the racism they spew and an ever-present eye turned away from the poor - mean a disproportionate number of poor and minorities die.

Maybe that’s why they don’t care? I can’t answer that…perhaps they can?

DeSantis…like Texas Governor Greg Abbott and South Dakota Governor Kristina Noem and almost every Republican politician…has been lying for more than a year and a half. Again, their lies and disinformation are recorded hundreds of times…there is ample video evidence.

Of course, millions of Republican voters…Trump cult members…are, indeed, accessories to manslaughter. Those who knowingly post stories on FaceBook and other social media that are not true…stories that convince people to not get vaccinated….or not wear masks…or gather without staying socially distant…are accessories to a crime.

If you posted a story about some 20-year-old dying after being vaccinated - a rarity - and never post about the millions who have died from COVID-19 simply because they weren’t vaccinated…or post stories claiming the pandemic is fake…or post lies and disinformation that might give someone pause about getting vaccinated…you’re guilty…if not in a court of law in the eyes of any intelligent, compassionate person.

I’m so weary of ignorant folks…and isn’t it a coincidence…that the people who are insurrectionists are most often anti-vaxxers…are most often anti-maskers…are most often anti-immigration…are most often racists? These same people like the good ole days of slavery and Jim Crow...and want to return to them…you know, Make America Great Again.

I’m going to call your ass out…every time...shame you as much as you can be shamed. I’m tired of one-third of a nation dictating to two-thirds. That’s not democracy. I’m tired of you killing people because you think you have a choice in matters of public health. Maybe you want an “I-can-drink-and-drive” law? Or, maybe a “f***-a-bunch-of-seatbelts” law?

So, Gov. Ron DeSantis. Let’s call you what you are, someone who lies for money. This uncouth money-grubber has lied to Floridians…and now as the Delta variant runs rampant -  1,000 times more transmissible that last year’s COVID-19 - he lies about the effectiveness of vaccinations and masks and how it’s really all a matter of choice.

DeSantis - like Ted Cruz and most Republicans - isn’t angry with those spreading misinformation about vaccines or refusing to take protective measures. Instead, he rails against reporters who are “creating hysteria” over rising hospitalizations, and blames President Biden for COVID-19 because he’s not reducing immigration from the Southern border with Mexico. Neither of these are causing COVID-19 deaths every day.

Idiots - people in the Trump Republican Cult - take out their check books and give this toad money to campaign for the Republican nomination for president in 2024…$40 million in recent months. Meanwhile, the Delta variant is sending more people than ever to hospitals…and this time there are lots of children, who without vaccines, need masks for protection.

The states with Republican governors and a plurality of Republican voters lead not the nation…but the world…in hospitalizations and deaths. And it’s going to get worse. Republicans didn’t care when 20 small children were murdered at Sandy Hook. In fact, they made up conspiracy theories…it didn’t happen!

So, don’t think dying children a few weeks from now after schools opened this past week in Florida to no mask mandates and no vaccinations will change the minds or hearts of Republicans.

We should keep track of the deaths…and charge those responsible for what they are doing…the crime of involuntary manslaughter. It seems only just…even in a nation that doesn’t always recognize justice.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines.

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