Police are investigating fliers claiming there would be an “End the Lockdown Rally” at Conference House Park on Sunday, April 19, which were found posted around Tottenville.
The fliers were apparently printed on eight and a half by eleven copy paper in full color, affixed to utility poles and traffic control boxes with thick black tape, one piece along the bottom,another at the top.
There was a montage of full-color images from similar protests that have taken place in other parts of the country, with he words “SET US FREE” and “My Constitutional Rights are ESSENTIAL” written by hand at the top on slips of paper.
A multi-function printer/photocopier/scanner was most likely used to assemble the montage of text and images.
The time for the alleged rally is written by hand on each poster near the bottom, and may have been scrawled after the posters were put up, by an individual who is right-handed.
Apparently, the time for this alleged protest was an afterthought. Does this sound like a real event?
Date, time, and place are the key descriptors of events, regardless of what the event is for.
Police officers from the 123 Precinct in Tottenville could be seen at Conference House Park around 11AM Sunday, but the lawn was devoid of protesters, the only souls being anywhere near there being the NYPD officers assigned to investigate.
It is customary for the NYPD to attend rallies and protests, a practice that did not begin with COVID19.
Chris Smalls’ Amazon workers’ walkout outside the sprawling JFK8 warehouse in Charleston, staged a few weeks ago, was also patrolled by the police, ensuring that social distancing was practiced, but also there to maintain order, should the need arise. The protest was nonviolent and there were no incidents involving the police.
Was this “END THE LOCKDOWN RALLY” just a hoax, or was there actually a rally planned?
There are several reason suggesting that these signs were not real, but rather politically motivated by an individual opposed to others protesting the shutdown.
There’s no secret that online, on platforms such as Twitter, the American public is bitterly divided about the continued shutdown across the Nation.
And of course, it’s devolved into a political battle, with those of the Left accusing “Trumptards” of risking the health of everyone.
Could this have been staged by an embittered political activist trying to frame Trump supporters by placing them in a poor light?
Several factors suggest so.
Firstly, on its face, the posters are utterly absurd.
While some protesters at mass rallies across the U.S. choose to shun guidance and avoid masking up, the majority were wearing masks. Photographs prove this.
And, no other rally, anywhere in the United States, specifically suggested that participants refrain from wearing masks if they so choose, unlike this one, which specifically states, “NO MASK NEEDED.”
Even more disjointed is the phrase, “IF YOU’RE STILL SICK COME, IT’S YOUR RIGHT!”
While many people across the country are protesting the protracted shutdown and its myriad of unintended disastrous effects of families, communities, and small businesses, no one in their right mind would suggest that an individual who’s fallen ill with COVID19 get up from their sickbed and attend a rally. Or, do so unmasked!
This last phrase seems to have been written in irony, or at least a mocking tone of those protesters organizing rallies in other parts of the United States.
Even more ludicrous is the line stating, “BRING YOUR CHILDREN,” only two lines above.
What family-oriented, Right-leaning person would ever suggest this?
At the bottom of the flier, there’s a hashtag followed by MAGA (#MAGA), used to refer to conversation threads on Twitter.
The flier also says, “KEEP AMERICA GREAT,” obviously referencing President Trumps’ election tag-line, which abbreviated, is MAGA, an oft repeated phrase seen on hats and shirts.
Is it beyond possibility to consider that an angry Left-leaning, anti-Trump person is responsible, rather than an actual Right-associated protester?
A quick check of the #MAGA hashtag thread on Twitter showed that there are clear instances of this Right-Left divide, with many Twitter users posting derogatory comments about Americans protesting the shutdown.
In fact, there’s little else, with acidic vitriol directed at the President, and those who chose to support him. No discourse abounds here; only ad hominem attacks unseemly for progressives, among whom this author counts herself.
The second Twitter hashtag printed at the bottom of each flier is #ENDTHESHUTDOWNNYC.
However, when checking this Twitter thread, it’s all but threadbare.
There is a single post, by Phil Goldstein (@pgold1230), calling the protesters crazy, guilty of reckless endangerment or manslaughter.
(At the time of the publication of this article, 05 May, 2020, the number of posts on this thread is up to SEVEN, and not a single one is a post detailing where and when, but rather ridiculing pro-Trump citizens, and the like.)
In fact, telling others you’re going to get them sick with COVID19 may be construed as making terroristic threats.
And, intentionally getting someone sick with the disease may also carry severe criminal charges.
So, what person in their right mind would suggest that sick people attend a rally?
No one in their right mind is denying that many people have fallen ill or died from COVID19; the focus at these rallies is the handling of the health crisis, not the veracity of the claims about the novel Coronavirus.
Considering that most Right-leaning people are for “law and order,” it’s doubtful that this rally was ever going to take place, but was rather a hoax, committed to make the creator’s political adversaries look bad.
The Twitter post referenced above is in reply to Dave Matt(@davematt88), a Twitter user claiming to hail from Kansas City, whose profile includes the hash-tags “#Resistance,” and “#The Resistance.”
If you’re sick still come, it’s your right is pretty damn stupid. pic.twitter.com/qHoNArKPE1
— Dave Matt (@davematt88) April 20, 2020
Dave Matt’s original tweet stated, “If you’re sick still come, it’s your right is pretty damn stupid,” along with a photo of the sign.
Questions abound. For instance, why did Phil Goldstein choose to include the hashtag that was on the poster?
#EndTheShutdownNYC “If you’re sick, still come, it’s your right?” NO IT’S NOT anyone’s right to intentionally infect others with COVID-19. It’s reckless endangerment at best, and manslaughter at worst. Are you people really that crazy?
— Phil Goldstein (@pgold1230) April 20, 2020
And, why wasn’t there any Twitter traffic on this specific hashtag by organizers, if this was, indeed, an authentic handbill?
If this were not a joke or a hoax, wouldn’t there have been (at least) a few Tweets about the upcoming rally?
The first instance of this image, or reference to it online, also appeared on Twitter, on the account of Sandi Bachom (@sandibachom), a New Yorker and longtime advertising executive whose writings have appeared in the Huffington Post.
— Sandi Bachom (@sandibachom) April 19, 2020
Her Twitter post reads, “Posted from a friend in Staten Island “bring your children. If you’re sick still come it’s your right” #MAGA death cult #COVID19”
With the hashtag #MAGA, it appears in the #MAGA conversation stream on Twitter, second from the top of the list of all #MAGA posts.
The post was made at 7:38 PM on April 19, 2020, before any local news got wind of this.
And, it’s a different image than the picture circulating on mainstream media newspapers and websites.
However, this is, in fact, the same image posted to Twitter by Dave Matt.
And so, people opposed to the alleged civil disobedience event were the only people to reference these flier on Twitter.
It’s apparently a joke…but the line between reality and farce is becoming difficult to see.
— Brady Begeman (@babegeman) April 20, 2020
All of the above Twitter users are apparently die-hard liberals. Of course, it’s their right as American citizens to point out how absurd and shortsighted such a rally would have been, had it gone forward.
But some of those responding to their posts go too far, and attempt to paint an entire group of poeple with a very wide brush.
As a lifelong progressive, I am disgusted that those claiming to represent my own viewpoint have apparently stooped this low and attempted to frame those they perceive as their enemies as disease-spreaders and irresponsible criminals, people unconcerned for the lives of children, elders, and those with co-morbidities, the last two groups being demographics hit particularly hard by the virus.
If this is a hoax, it’s a crime.
In what sense? The hoaxers have created a flier that outlines activities that are outside the Governor’s, and Mayor’s, directives to wear a mask when in public, and when unable to practice social distancing. This order cannot be disregarded at will.
It’s also in utter disregard of the President’s order against gatherings of more than ten people.
Further, in stating that people sick with COVID19 should come, the creator is deliberately, and with forethought, creating a hoax that delineates terroristic threats to the community.
The Department of Justice has already made clear that people who intentionally spread Coronavirus could face Federal terrorism charges for “purposeful exposure and infection.”
Of course, if this isn’t a hoax, the creator of the signs is potentially equally guilty of such crimes. Either way, whomever wrote these signs is a blockhead, and far worse.
Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen sternly explained that “because Coronavirus appears to meet the statutory definition of a ‘biological agent’… such acts potentially could implicate the Nation’s terrorism-related statutes….Threats or attempts to use COVID-19 as a weapon against Americans will not be tolerated…” (See PDF document: MEMORANDUM FOR ALL HEADS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT RE COVID19 AND TERRORISM)
If you have any information about these signs, please send it along to the 123 Precinct or the FBI.
Interestingly, the signal intelligence (SIGINT) branch of the military intelligence support group, the National Security Agency, can easily determine precisely whose printer inked those flyers. (see article:Skin Patch Vaccine Administration Via Micro-needles Embeds Invisible Tattoo )
Whether a hoax by Trump-haters or a terrible plan hatched by an off-balanced and overzealous Trump supporter, the creators of this sorry scheme better hope this secretive outfit doesn’t get involved.
Here’s something to make the perpetrators stay up all night biting their nails down to the cuticle: Homeland Security and the more serious spies at the N.S.A. may already know whodunnit. There’s a completely legitimate reason we have all these resources, after all.