Listening to the recording of the Clark County Commissioners meeting was fascinating. If you have three hours to spare it is worth watching. On Tuesday July 19th 2021 that body issued a new mask mandate which applies to all indoor workers in the county. This edict ends the approximately two months of freedom of choice enjoyed by Clark County workers since the original mask mandate issued at the state level went into effect on June 4th 2020.
The public comment period which preceded the deliberation was overwhelmingly and vehemently opposed to the proposed mandate, to the point where several participants were physically removed from the meeting. It was apparent from early on that the commissioners present were not interested in or receptive to the position taken by the public. After the tense period of public comment, they proceeded to testimony from Dr. Cort Lohff from the Southern Nevada Health District, and then onwards to deliberation.
Every question asked of Dr. Lohff was clearly in the service of advancing the mandate. There were several justifications put forth for doing so – such as the threat of hospitals being overwhelmed, or fears of economic damage due to a lack of confidence by the entities hosting conventions, shows, and events in Las Vegas. In his preamble to making the motion to enact this mandate, commissioner Jim Gibson also admitted to another underlying motivation, stating: “we’re going to be responsible; we’re going to be accountable for what more would have happened had we not done that” regarding following health district recommendations.
This is a beautiful example of how the seen and the unseen interacts with a culture of “an abundance of caution”. The costs to quality of life and liberty for all employees in the county are invisible to the commission, while the possibility of being held responsible for rising case counts is very real to them. It’s clearly a case of something must be done, and this is something, therefore it must be done, with a C.Y.A. flavor.
Even within their own framework, this move doesn’t make much sense. It was made clear during the discussion that the reason they placed this requirement on employees was not based in any science, but in the fact that they could coerce business to enforce the mandate. Dr. Lohff also explicitly stated that the reason to apply the mandate to all employees rather than only the unvaccinated was because it was “easier”.
There were other weird inconsistencies - for example it was established early on that most of the current hospitalizations were among the elderly with pre-existing conditions, and that the unvaccinated population was largely composed of the young. Yet the situation was still broadly characterized as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. Dr. Lohff also explained that the Health District was making specific efforts to target the young (ages 12 and up) using social media, “peer to peer” communication, and by working with influencers.
Another surprising piece of information: the Health District is literally testing your sewage for COVID. This monitoring effort was characterized as an early warning system, for the county to narrow down which neighborhoods may become hotspots by testing their waste matter. This is a bizarre reveal for most of us.
When the commission agreed to impose the new mandate, several members framed it as action to prevent a further lock-down – as though lockdowns *just happen*. They seem to forget that it is politicians like them who impose lockdowns. That the damage and hardship from lockdowns are their fault and not some necessary result of any metric. This false framing is the excuse for them to impose upon our lives in the name of a public good.
Perhaps the scariest part of the entire meeting was the discussion of mandatory vaccination. Commissioner Tick Segerblom asked Dr. Lohff whether they were legally able to mandate that employers require their workers to vaccinate. The answer? Not yet, but stay tuned. Dr. Lohff responded “that presents a challenge, at least currently”, but went on to say that once the shots were fully FDA approved; “then it’s going to be a different story”.
This is where the threat lies. When attempts at mandatory vaccination are made, this will be the avenue. Agents of the state will require that employers act as their enforcers, and the businesses will either be willingly complicit or held hostage. These people have no respect for human liberty – they are petty tyrants intoxicated by the romantic vision of their own authority. It is incumbent on all of us to prepare ourselves for the possibility that this situation could still get worse. We need to build up our community and our ability to turn to one another in times of hardship. We need to think critically about what we are willing to do and not do, to sacrifice and to fight for.
The COVID regime isn’t over.
Watch these shocking clips below (and you can watch the full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hm8oNN6rOtc):
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