To some of us the most frightening thing about the COVID-19 pandemic is not the virus itself, but the power the state exercised in effectively shutting down the state and peoples' lives and livelihoods. The latest development in the ongoing battle between Atilis Gym in Bellmawr and the state of NJ, is that a judge denied the state's order to lock the gym's owner, Ian Smith, out of his own business. Smith tried defying the Governor's orders to remain closed a couple of months ago and the state came down on him hard, even though he went out of his way to meet safety and health guidelines. Gyms are still one of the few businesses not allowed to operate normally, even with limits, in New Jersey.

The mainstream media, the PR arm of the Democratic Party, even tried digging up a story of Smith's regrettable past, plastering his drunk driving conviction and manslaughter conviction when he was a 20 year old college student. He was sentenced to five and a half years in prison. Nothing will bring back the young man that died in that incident and of course we all can empathize with his family. Smith paid his debt to society and has seemed to prove himself a productive member of society. For those who favor the lockdowns and lack the same kind of courage and principled conviction of Ian Smith, this was just the perfect excuse to say, "see he's a bad guy, f*&% him".

Well luckily there are a few among us who just won't quit and stand up for their rights, no matter what the cost or backlash. And in this social media, cancel culture world we live in, there is plenty of backlash for those who dare to stick up for themselves. The rest of the sheep hate that. I don't like gyms and certainly don't know Ian Smith, but it's encouraging to the rest of us that realize we are rapidly losing our rights as free people. Whether it's truly for public safety or a politically motivated overreach and power grab, the violation of our rights to earn a living or get together to worship, should never happen again. Luckily with people like this, at least we know we might have a fighting chance to keep it from happening again.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis' own.

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