"Shut up. Obey. Stay in your house."

That's the word from New Jersey's leadership. If you don't like it, too bad. Most of us have never participated in a protest and I don't agree with most of them, but I would be appalled, disappointed and angry if any of them were given the treatment NJ residents were given Friday.

Kim Pagan of Toms River was charged over the weekend for having the audacity to protest against the governor's "orders" to stay at home and not exercise her right to freely protest her government. Whether you agree with the protesters on Friday and last week in other states around the country, it should scare you that your state is doing this to people.

We received reports from callers at the protest that State Police were taking down license plates, even though some told us they know the cops weren't for it, but just doing their job. That's far more scary than the virus itself, and it's sad that people have taken a side so strongly that they can't see the forest for the trees. If it happens to someone standing up for what you believe in it might be easier to see, but we all need to see this for what it is. It's an obscene abuse of power for which there is no justification or excuse.

While our kids are home, it might be a good time to go over how and why this country was established and the courageous, ingenious people who started it. Let the mocking begin, but here's some of what Patrick Henry had to say at the Virginia Convention in early 1775. "Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

FIRST RESPONDERS AND THE PANDEMIC: Thursday at 7 p.m., New Jersey 101.5 takes a special live look at the plight of first-responders on the front lines of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the resources available to help them through an extraordinary time. Listen Live on the 101.5 FM or the New Jersey 101.5 app. Join the conversation and ask your questions in a live chat at Facebook.com/NJ1015.

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