Protesters’ lives matter. Is Gov. Murphy putting them at risk? (Opinion)
Protests have been going on all over New Jersey this weekend. This, despite Gov. Phil Murphy's executive orders of no more than 25 at a gathering. He's even showed up at a few.
But with businesses continuing to be shut down and events like graduations limited due to the dangers presented by the coronavirus, the question begs to be asked: "Is the governor putting the protesters at risk by allowing them to happen?"
The governor has not been on board with all protests. There was the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, which was eventually shut down, and people were arrested. There were also women who organized their own peaceful protests over businesses and were issued summonses; they say they're suing.
One of the women, Kim Pagan of Toms River, was charged by State Police with violating the emergency orders by organizing a prohibited event. Protesters had gathered April 17 outside the State House to demonstrate against the Governor’s Executive Orders.
At a briefing on COVID-19 response the next day, Murphy said "On the protesters, I would just say listen, with all due respect, I think anybody who thinks we're doing this just to take away people's liberties and rights isn't looking at the data that we're looking at. We're doing what we're doing to try to save lives and keep as few people infected and hospitalized as possible."
Can the governor please show us in the data where it says some protests are safe and others aren't?
If he's truly doing what he's doing to save lives, what about the lives of the protesters, whose gatherings were much more than 25, and who were not all wearing masks and observing social distancing?
As Attorney Jim Mermigis who's representing Kim Pagan and Ayla Wolf for separate incidents, tells New Jersey 101.5, "Bottom line, there is either a public health emergency or there is not. It cannot be both."
So is Murphy putting the protester's lives at risk by allowing and joining them despite his "data," or is he saving the lives of New Jersey by not allowing us to open?
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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