Rodney Howard-Browne, the politically active and controversial author of The Killing of Uncle Sam: The Demise of the United States of America, and pastor of a pentecostal mega-church in Tampa Bay, Florida held church services this past week. The next day he was arrested and then released on $500 bail.
According to the NYT: Sheriff Chad Chronister of Hillsborough County said he had obtained an arrest warrant for Mr. Howard-Browne for “intentionally and repeatedly” defying emergency orders mandating that people maintain social distance and stay at home.
Media freaks out
The mainstream media are running headlines like Florida megachurch pastor arrested for holding services, defying social distancing orders and the NYT, Florida Pastor Arrested After Defying Virus Orders.
“Defying social distancing orders,” seems to be the one the order or “law of the land” that will definitely be enforced in our nation. You must practice social distancing or you will be jailed or fined.
However, laws against shoplifting, assault, and raping minors will no longer be enforced in some cities and states. Sexual offenders, among others, are actually being let out of prison in New York City to “protect” them from the coronavirus. Chicago. California is releasing 3,500 prisoners, “non-violent” offenders with less than 60 days left before they are paroled.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
Jails in California, New York, Ohio, Texas and at least a dozen other states are sending low-level offenders and elderly or sickly inmates home early due to coronavirus fears.
The really tricky part of this language is the definition of “low-level or non-violent offenders.” Apparently, in New York City, which has released 900 prisoners, a “low-level” offense includes armed robbery and the rape of minors.
Progressive organizations such as the ACLU and Fair and Just Prosecution, have been pushing for early release as a part of progressive prison reform for years. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, they are not only pushing, they are succeeding.
There is a battle in Texas between the governor, Gregg Abbott, and judges on who will be released. According to the Texas Tribune: In an executive order Sunday, Abbott barred inmates accused or previously convicted of violent crimes from being released from jails without paying bail. But judges in Mercer County, Texas are releasing violent prisoners.
Again, according to the Texas Tribune: In Harris County, a murder suspect was released from jail after he said he was afraid of contracting COVID-19 there. A judge allowed him to pay just 3.5% of his $60,000 bond upfront, according to the Houston Chronicle — a fraction of what is normally required.
New York State Supreme Court Justice Mark Dwyer, released a prisoner, writing in his decision: “As a result of his medical conditions and age, Mr. Vinent-Barcia is at high risk for severe illness or death if [he] contract[s] COVID-19.” The only problem is that the man, Pedro Vinent-Barcia was awaiting sentence for stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death. The murder was recorded on a store surveillance camera. Why are the rights of a murderer being prioritized over the safety of society? What is going on here?
New Jersey released 1,000 inmates. The released prisoners were “encouraged” to self-isolate for 14 days. In California, a significant number of prisoners released are homeless and can’t self-isolate.
How did this happen? As Michael Knowles pointed out on his show, which inspired this article, while law-abiding citizens remain in their homes, or are fined and arrested for being out, convicted prisoners are being released into society.
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