Update on the School Bus Drivers Suspended for Attending a Trump Rally

Join me live at 8pm ET tonight for an update on the Jefferson County, West Virginia school bus drivers who were suspended for attended the Trump rally on January 6, 2021. Despite being nowhere near what occurred at the Capitol, they found themselves suspended and accused of misconduct, and then later vindicated. We files suit for First Amendment retaliation. Here’s what’s happened so far in the litigation….. Freedom is Scary, Ep. No. 77. Also available on our Facebook page.

Zoom Discussion: Legal Options for Healthcare Personnel Against Mandates

Former State Delegate and gubernatorial candidate S. Marshall Wilson set up a Zoom discussion for Wednesday, October 13 at 9:00 p.m. with myself and another attorney to discuss the legal options for healthcare personnel in response to the pending mandates across West Virginia. Here’s the log-in information:

Topic: Legal Options for Healthcare Personnel Against Mandates
Time: Oct 13, 2021 09:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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The case against m@sk m@ndates in schools

As the Taliban takes over control of Afghanistan, women in that country are facing compulsory masking of their bodies and faces, in accordance with Sharia Law. Simultaneously, in West Virginia, and across the U.S., school boards are being confronted by angry parents who are pleading with them not to mandate the forcible masking of children in accordance with the strange new religion of mask virtue we’re now facing in America. I’ve previously discussed the fact that masks do nothing to stop the spread of COVID, in general, and that they’re in fact harming children. I encourage you to review that post, as much of the information in it has already been used to defeat mandates in the State of Kentucky (as explained below), and hopefully soon, in West Virginia.

Liberty and freedom aside, mask mandates in schools are pointless, from a common sense perspective, as well as a scientific perspective. And as Galileo said, “In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”

  1. Children play almost no role in spreading COVID
  2. Children are at extremely low risk
  3. Masks don’t stop the spread of COVID in schools
  4. Forced masking harms children

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has written about the concept of liberty, in general, as we have defined it in America, and before the Founding, in English history and jurisprudence, dating back to the signing of the Magna Carta, as at its core, the “freedom from physical restraint.” The freedom to breathe, without physical restraint over the mouths of our children, is liberty guaranteed to us not only by our Founding Fathers, our English common law heritage, but also as a natural right given by God.

This information is excerpted by the lawsuit(s) we’re getting ready to file challenging school-level mask mandates being implemented in certain counties around West Virginia. The filed versions, which will be posted here in their entirety, after filing, will contain the actual footnote citations to this material. All of this information is documented.

CHILDREN PLAY ALMOST NO ROLE IN SPREADING COVID-19

A study on the spread of COVID-19 in the Icelandic population in 2020 failed to find a single incident of child-to-adult transmission in over 600 SARS-CoV-2 positive people who were included in the study. The researchers used genome-sequencing and contract tracing to identify the manner of the disease’s spread through the community. The genome-sequencing allowed the researchers to definitively conclude that none of the cases spread from a child to an adult.

Another study from Korea of 107 pediatric cases and 248 household contacts failed to find a single instance of a child infecting an adult with COVID-19. In fact, the study found only one instance of a child infecting anyone, except for one case of a 16 year old infecting a 14 year old sibling. Interestingly, both of the siblings’ parents tested negative.

Sweden did not close schools during either Spring or Fall of 2020 when they received waves of COVID-19 transmissions. They did not require that students or teachers wear masks. The results of a country-wide survey was published on February 18, 2021. The analysis showed that deaths in Sweden’s school children did not increase in the four months of the study period relative to any other period, despite school children being unmasked and attending school. Moreover, it found that nationally, fewer than 10 preschool teachers, and 20 schoolteachers who contracted COVID during the period received intensive care. Fortunately, none of the teachers died. The study showed that the relative risk to teachers versus other professions was, in the case of preschool teachers, 1.1, and for other teachers, 0.43 percent.

The nationwide Swedish results are corroborated by other studies which have found that spending time with children no only doesn’t place adults at greater risk, but is actually protective to the adults. A recent study from the U.K. of more than 12 million adults, shows that while people who lived with children were at no higher risk of contracting COVID-19, for those under 65, they were 25% less likely to die. For those over 65, there was no difference in outcomes.

Several recent studies have shown that when in-school transmission does occur, teachers (who have been masked) are central to those transmission networks. A recent CDC report investigated nine clusters across six school districts in Cobb County, Georgia. Of those nine clusters, eight involved a teacher. In the one cluster where a student was the sole index case, the student only infected other students. Notably all of the children infected were masked all day, except during lunch, which was taken in the classroom.

A recent study in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, a state with a population of 4.1 million, 1,492 schools and 406,000 school age children, concluded that transmission from teachers was four times higher than from students. Moreover, when a teacher was infected, they were 14 times more likely to transmit the disease to another teacher, rather than a student. The study also concluded that a teacher who contracted COVID-19 was 2.5 times more likely to transmit the disease to a child, than a child to a teacher.

CHILDREN ARE AT EXTREMELY LOW RISK

Based on the CDC’s estimated number of infections by age through December 26, 2020, COVID-19 poses a significantly lower risk to school age children than the flu. For children age 5 through 17, data shows that COVID-19 is 1/4 as deadly as the common flu.

CDC data also shows that on average, people dying of COVID-19 had multiple co-morbidities (3.8). In New York City, data shows that of all deaths, only 0.5% of them occurred in people who did not have a comorbidity. Antibody studies of those infected established that 1.6 million people in New York City had been infected. Even among the older age groups, the risk of death for healthy people from COVID is similar to that of dying in childbirth – 3 out of 10,000 – and several times higher than their risk of dying by accidental death. 

On May 19, 2021, New York magazine published a story highlighting new studies showing that the pediatric hospitalization numbers for COVID have likely been dramatically inflated throughout the country. The first study, published in the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, was conducted by Stanford researchers and examined 117 reputed COVID hospitalizations among those under 18 at a children’s hospital in Northern California. They found that just 7.7% exhibited severe illness and 12.8% critical illness. Overall, 45% were classified as “unlikely to be caused by SARSCoV2,” and it appears that most of the others weren’t suffering life-threatening illness.

The second study, published in the same journal, found in America’s fifth-largest hospital that, among patients younger than 22, 40% had “incidental infection,” only 47% were “potentially symptomatic,” and just 14% were “significantly symptomatic.” They further found that “Fifty-five percent of incidental and 47% of potentially symptomatic patients had at least one identified comorbidity, while 90% of significantly symptomatic patients had at least one.”

As Drs. Monica Gandhi and Amy Beck wrote in a commentary for Hospital Pediatrics that accompanied the two studies, “Taken together, these studies underscore the importance of clearly distinguishing between children hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 found on universal testing versus those hospitalized for COVID-19 disease.” They further conclude that the data also “greatly overestimate the true burden of COVID-19 disease in children.”

In addition to the revelations that pediatric hospitalizations have been wrongly attributed to COVID, the CDC has stated based on an analysis of death certificates that 35.2% of all reputed pediatric COVID deaths “could not be plausibly categorized as either a chain-of-event or significant contributing condition.”

MASKS DON’T STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID IN SCHOOLS

On June 8, 2021, the Boone Circuit Court in the Commonwealth of Kentucky issued a judgment order following extensive litigation and an evidentiary hearing held on May 17, 2021 in a lawsuit against the Governor of Kentucky, challenging his executive orders pertaining to COVID, including his mask mandate. On June 15, 2021, that order was expanded to apply statewide in Kentucky.

At the May 17 evidentiary hearing in that case, Stephen E. Petty, P.E., CIH, testified as an expert witness on the issue of the validity of mask mandates as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Court noted that Mr. Petty has previously served as an expert witness in approximately 400 cases related to toxic or infectious exposure, personal protective equipment (“PPE”), and as a warning expert. The Court also noted that he served as an expert in the Monsanto “Roundup” cases, and for those in the Dupont C8 litigation, and that in connection with his service as an expert, he was deposed nearly 100 times and has provided court testimony in approximately 20 trials. The Court found that Mr. Petty holds nine U.S. patents, has written a book comprising nearly 1,000 pages on forensics engineering, is a certified industrial hygienist, and a recognized expert with the Occupational Safety and Health Agency. 

The Court made the following findings regarding Mr. Petty’s testimony:

Mr. Petty explained that the field of his expertise is “to anticipate and recognize and control things that could hurt people, everything from making them sick to killing them.” He testified that, in this context, he has analyzed the use of masks and social distancing in connection with Covid-19. He testified that both the six-foot-distancing rule, and mask mandates, are wholly ineffective at reducing the spread of this virus. Masks are worthless, he explained, because they are not capable of filtering anything as small as Covid-19 aerosols. In addition, masks are not respirators and lack the limited protections that respirators can provide.

The N-95 respirator, which he states is in the bottom class of what may be classified as a respirator, is rated to filter 95% of all particles that are larger than .3 microns. However, a Covid-19 particle, which is only between .09 to .12 micron, is much smaller. Mr. Petty further explained that an N-95 will not even filter above .3 microns if it is not used in accordance with industry standards. Among the requirements, respirators must be properly fitted to seal along the face, and they also must be timely replaced. Mr. Petty stated that N-95 masks, which he said are often utilized as surgical masks, are “not intended to keep infectious disease from either the surgeon or from the patient infecting each other” but only to catch the “big droplets” from the surgeon’s mouth.” 

According to Mr. Petty, masks have no standards, are not respirators, and do not even qualify as protective equipment. In contrast, respirators have standards, including rules that state respirators may not be worn by persons with facial hair, must be fitted to ensure a seal, and must be timely replaced—or, as in higher end respirators, the cartridges must be replaced to prevent saturation. In addition, standards for respirators also require users to obtain a medical clearance because the breathing restriction can impair lung function or cause other problems for persons having such limitations. Putting those persons in a respirator can harm their well-being. 

Concerning the effectiveness of respirators, Mr. Petty explained that it comes down to “big stuff” versus “small stuff.” Big stuff can be taken out by the body’s defenses, such as its mucus tissue, where droplets can be caught and eliminated. The small stuff, however—like aerosols—are more dangerous. Masks cannot filter the small stuff. According to Petty, because Covid-19 particles are comprised of aerosols, it is really, really, small stuff. And, as he pointed out, an N-95 is designed to filter larger particles. Even for particles as large as .3 micron, Mr. Petty testified that an N-95’s effectiveness is in direct proportion to its seal. In fact, he stated it becomes completely ineffective if 3% or more of the contact area with the face is not sealed. 

Mr. Petty testified that masks leak, do not filter out the small stuff, cannot be sealed, are commonly worn by persons with facial hair, and may be contaminated due to repetitive use and the manner of use. He emphatically stated that mask wearing provides no benefit whatsoever, either to the wearer or others. 

He explained that the big droplets fall to the ground right away, the smaller droplets will float longer, and aerosols will remain suspended for days or longer if the air is stirred. Mr. Petty testified that the duration of time that particles remain suspended can be determined using “Stoke’s Law.” Based on it, for particles the size of Covid-19 (.12 to .09 micron) to fall five feet would take between 5 and 58 days in still air. Thus, particles are suspended in the air even from previous days. And so, he asks, “If it takes days for the particles to fall, how in the world does a six-foot rule have any meaning?” 

Mr. Petty acknowledged that both OSHA and CDC have recommended that people wear masks. However, he called this “at best dishonest.” As an example on this, he pointed to CDC guidance documents where, on page 1, it recommends wearing a mask; but then on page 6, admits that “masks, do not provide . . . a reliable level of protection from . . . smaller airborne particles.” According to Mr. Petty, those agencies have smart individuals who know better. Mr. Petty points out that, even before March 2020, it was known that Covid-19 particles are tiny aerosols. And on this, he states that he insisted that fact early on. He also points to a more recent letter by numerous medical researchers, physicians and experts with Ph.D.s, asking the CDC to address the implications of Covid-19 aerosols. During Dr. Stack’s subsequent testimony, he also acknowledged that Covid-19 is spread “by . . . airborne transmission that could be aerosols . . . .” 

Finally, Mr. Petty pointed to another recent study by Ben Sheldon of Stanford University out of Palo Alto. According to that study, “both the medical and non-medical face masks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious diseases, such as SARS, CoV-2 and COVID-19.” The Court finds the opinions expressed by Mr. Petty firmly established in logic. The inescapable conclusion from his testimony is that ordering masks to stop Covid-19 is like putting up chain-link fencing to keep out mosquitos. The six-foot- distancing requirements fare no better. 

While the American CDC was being “dishonest,” the European CDC recently posted an update to their masking guidance, advising that, “Evidence for the effectiveness of non-medical face masks, face shields/visors and respirators in the community is scarce and of very low certainty.”

In May of 2020, the CDC published a report on non-pharmaceutical measures for protecting against pandemic influenza in non-healthcare settings. After reviewing all of the studies worldwide, the CDC found “no reduction in viral transmission with the use of face masks”:

Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza. We similarly found limited evidence on the effectiveness of improved hygiene and environmental cleaning.

In mid-2020, one of the world’s foremost influenza researchers, Dr. Donald Milton was quoted in the New York Times observing that, “We’ve been studying the flu for 102 years and still don’t know for sure how it’s transmitted.” In the study itself, Dr. Milton elaborates:

Influenza virus is a pathogen of global health significance, but human-to-human transmission remains poorly understood. In particular, the relative importance of the different modes of transmission (direct and indirect contact, large droplet, and aerosols (airborne droplet nuclei)) remains uncertain during symptomatic and asymptomatic infection.

Infection control guidance for pandemic and seasonal influenza assumes that most transmission occurs during symptomatic infection, predominantly via large droplet spread at short range. Thus, social distancing measures are often proposed to mitigate the spread and impact of a pandemic; and hand washing and respiratory etiquette are promoted to reduce transmission. Evidence to support the possibility of aerosol transmission has grown over recent years and leads to controversies about when and if filtering facepiece respirators (and other precautions designed to prevent inhalation of aerosols) versus surgical masks (mainly capable of reducing large droplets and some fine particles) should be used to protect healthcare workers, particularly during a severe pandemic.

While the CDC was clinging to an outdated understanding of flu transmission, a large number of scientists proactively forced their hand, along with the World Health Organization (“WHO”), to finally acknowledge that aerosol transmission of COVID was a major, and perhaps the dominant, method of transmission for the disease. 

In another study by Dr. Donald Milton, he discusses the inefficacy of masks in containing aerosol virus particles:

Together the studies show that surgical masks can limit the emission of large droplet spray and aerosol droplets larger than 5 µm. However, surgical masks are not as efficient at preventing release of very small particles. It is well known that surgical masks are not effective for preventing exposure to fine particles when worn as personal protection. We had hypothesized that when used as source control, exhaled droplets might be large enough prior to evaporation to be effectively captured, primarily through impaction. This appears to be true for virus carried in coarse particles. But the majority of virus in the exhaled aerosol appear to be in the fine fraction that is not well contained.

Dr. Milton wrote that, if aerosol droplets are smaller than 5 microns, “It is well known that surgical masks are not effective for preventing exposure to fine particles when worn as personal protection,” and that “the majority of virus in the exhaled aerosol appear to be in the fine fraction that is not well-contained.”

A 2013 study showed that 87% of infectious aerosols were less than 4.7 microns, which is smaller than what is effectively trapped by a surgical mask, and suggested re-evaluation of then-existing WHO guidelines on the efficacy of surgical masks in the prevention of virus transmission in healthcare settings. That study didn’t further define the size of virus particulates below the threshold of 4.7 microns – though other studies have.

A 2008 study found that during normal breathing, significant amounts of virus was shed, and that “over 87% of the exhaled particles were under 1 [micron] and less than 0.1% were larger than 5 [micron].” The authors estimated that the majority of the aerosols were less than 0.5 micron, which is ten times less than the 5 micron level that Dr. Milton notes as being the threshold below which surgical masks are no longer effective.

A 2018 study further demonstrated that the majority of infectious virus was found in fine aerosols, and that the primary source of generation for those aerosols was simply breathing – not speaking – and showed “that sneezing is rare and not important for – and that coughing is not required for – influenza virus aerosolization.”

A June 2020 study from two Wuhan hospitals showed that COVID virus particles were of similar size to traditional influenza particles. The study reported that COVID virus was found in aerosols between 0.2 and 0.5 microns.

The CDC relied on a study from the American Chemical Society for their double-masking recommendation, as well as their multi-layer homemade mask recommendation. However, the study data shows that with 1% gaps (which are much smaller than what is observed in real life), the filtration of N-95 masks drops between 12% and 34%, depending on particle size; surgical masks drops down to 44-50%, and the homemade cotton/silk masks drops to around 20%. The argument that “even a little protection is good,” is flawed. Research suggests that it’s the smallest particles, carrying the least amount of virus which are the most infectious and cause the most severe disease as they deposit deep within the lungs, and that they can be infectious at very low doses – as little as 300 to 3000 viral copies. Moreover, normal breathing produces roughly 38,000 viral copies within the fine aerosols in a half hour.

A study performed  in the 1980s, to assess the effectiveness of surgical masks at containing particles during surgery, found that when placing “tracer” particles on the inside of the mask, in every single case, these particles were subsequently found in the patient’s wound. These “tracer” particles were much larger than COVID particles just by virtue of the fact that they were observed through a microscope. The aerosols that appear to carry COVID and flu are substantially smaller than what can be observed through a microscope. 

Emerging empirical evidence establishes that mask mandates have not worked. Rational Ground performed a county-by-county analysis of case growth for those counties with mask mandates, and those without, between 5/15 and 12/15. The results are shown below. Nationally, cases were roughly 40% higher, 27 cases/day/100,000, in those counties with mask mandates, vs. 17 cases/day/100,000 in those counties without. 

After Texas lifted their mask mandate on March 3, 2021, new COVID cases dropped by 49% through April 7. Meanwhile in Michigan, New York and New Jersey, cases rose by 60% and were 333% higher than Texas. 

In West Virginia, there wasn’t a single day after the issuance of the mask mandate where cases were lower than they were before it. In fact, cases rose 1789% afterwards. West Virginia’s hospitalizations for COVID coincidentally happened to follow the same natural curve as neighboring states with a similar climate (IL, IN, KS, MO and OH).

The prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine published a Danish mask study which examined the difference in SARS-CoV-2 infection rates among people who did not receive a recommendation to wear a mask, compared to people who did receive a recommendation to wear a mask. The results of this massive real-life controlled experiment show that the group that received a recommendation to wear surgical masks in April experienced a 0.38% lower infection rate than the control group that did not wear masks. That is about one-third of one percent, which is so low that it could just be statistically random variances that demonstrate no definitive efficacy even to that infinitesimal level. There was a total of roughly 3,000 people in each group of the study, which would make this the largest study ever conducted on the efficacy of a mask recommendation. “The recommendation to wear surgical masks to supplement other public health measures did not reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among wearers by more than 50% in a community with modest infection rates, some degree of social distancing, and uncommon general mask use,” concluded the authors. “The data were compatible with lesser degrees of self-protection.”

In accordance with this, the past 10 randomized controlled trials identified by the CDC on the spread of influenza showed zero efficacy of mask-wearing against the flu.

In a July 2020 CDC study, 85% of those convalescent COVID patients surveyed reported that they wore masks always or most of the time during the lead-up to their infection period. More than 70% of those outpatient individuals who tested positive reported always wearing masks. Just 3.9% reported never wearing a mask.

The CDC survey illustrates the reality of COVID transmission around the world, which for the most part took place after strict mask mandates had already been in place.

Before the masking issue became political, Dr. Anthony Fauci scoffed at the notion that wearing masks would serve any use in the COVID pandemic. “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” he told “60 Minutes” on March 8, 2020. “The masks sold at drugstores aren’t even good enough to truly protect anyone,” Fauci told USA TODAY’s editorial board on Feb. 17. “If you look at the masks that you buy in a drug store, the leakage around that doesn’t do much to protect you. … Now, in the United States, there is absolutely no reason to wear a mask.” Several weeks later, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, appearing on “Fox & Friends” on March 31, 2020, stated that studies showed that medical students who wear masks touch their faces 23 times more often, and thus one has to assume that “wearing a mask improperly can actually increase your risk of getting disease.”

FORCED MASKING HARMS CHILDREN

The states with the strictest mask mandates also happen to be the states with the fewest children learning in-person. The myth being perpetuated by the CDC that they know how to control COVID, has robbed roughly half of the children in the U.S of more than a year’s education.

The first results of a German study of over 26,000 children and adolescents show 68% of parents reported impairments in their children as a result of forced mask-wearing, including the following side effects: irritability (60%), headache (53%), difficulty concentrating (50%), decreased happiness (49%), malaise (42%), impaired learning (38%), and fatigue (37%). The data reported 49.3% less happy children and 44% children who do not want to go to school anymore. 25.3% of the children stated they have developed new anxieties. In each case, children in the age category 7-12 years were affected most. In additional, there is the “fear of stigmatization both by wearing and not wearing a mask in the social environment.” Many parents also reported nightmares and anxiety disorders that relate to masked people whose facial expressions and identity are not recognizable to the children.

A 2010 paper from Harvard University observed that damage can be caused by exposing children to endless fear and anxiety: “Ensuring that young children have safe, secure environments in which to grow, learn, and develop healthy brains and bodies is not only good for the children themselves but also builds a strong foundation for a thriving, prosperous society,” wrote the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child for Harvard University. “Science shows that early exposure to circumstances that produce persistent fear and chronic anxiety can have lifelong consequences by disrupting the developing architecture of the brain.”

Data released on June 11, 2021 by the CDC shows that suicide attempts by children 12 to 17 years old spiked substantially during the pandemic, including a rise of 50.6% for girls from February 2021 through March of 2021. The study theorizes that the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic may have been toxic to the mental health of young people. They noted that, “Young persons might represent a group at high risk because they might have been particularly affected by mitigation measures, such as physical distancing (including a lack of connectedness to schools, teachers, and peers)….”

Dr. Mary Rutherford testified as an expert witness in the area of public health medicine at the evidentiary hearing in Boone Circuit Court. Dr. Rutherford obtained her master’s degree in public health at John Hopkins University, with a focus on epidemiology. She worked for Dr. Fauci for a total of nine years, the first six at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the latter three at the National Institute of Health. She co-authored an international, peer reviewed article titled, “Multi-treatment of Early Ambulatory High Risk SARS/COV-2 Infection.” She testified that she has treated nearly 100 patients for COVID-19 in her private practice. She is board certified in addiction medicine, and is the past Chair and current board member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. 

Dr. Rutherford testified that studies analyzing the effect of government mandates on COVID infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths, formed the basis for her opinion that “government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns and a high rate of COVID-19 testing, were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.” She also testified that “the strigency of measures settled to fight pandemia, including lockdown, did not appear to be linked with the death rate.” Moreover, Dr. Rutherford opined that government interventions actually lead to more deaths overall, and that instead, the focus should have been only on those determined to be high risk, such as those over 70 years of age. Dr. Rutherford testified that, in her opinion, “the government’s actions have inflicted more harm and death.” 

Researchers in Germany conducted a blinded randomized controlled trial of 45 children wearing masks and measured the baseline carbon dioxide levels during inhalation and exhalation behind various masks as compared to the levels of unmasked children. The results are concerning:

We measured means (SDs) between 13 120 (384) and 13 910 (374) ppm of carbon dioxide in inhaled air under surgical and filtering facepiece 2 (FFP2) masks, which is higher than what is already deemed unacceptable by the German Federal Environmental Office by a factor of 6. This was a value reached after 3 minutes of measurement. Children under normal conditions in schools wear such masks for a mean of 270 (interquartile range, 120-390) minutes. The Figure shows that the value of the child with the lowest carbon dioxide level was 3-fold greater than the limit of 0.2 % by volume. The youngest children had the highest values, with one 7-year-old child’s carbon dioxide level measured at 25 000 ppm. (Emphasis added.)

The German researchers concluded that there is a concern of forced mask wearing causing hypercapnia, and as such, children should not be forced to wear masks.

Common sense dictates that children forcibly masked in school settings engage in substantial mask re-usage. In some circumstances, such as re-using already-worn masks, mask usage can cause more harm than good. A study published in the Physics of Fluids scientific journal demonstrated that wearing a used mask is potentially riskier than wearing no mask at all. Researchers found that wearing a mask “significantly slows down” airflow and alters “particle motions near the face,” making people using already-worn masks more vulnerable to inhaling aerosols in the nasal region.

A group of parents contacted a lab because they were concerned about the potential of contaminants on masks that their children were forced to wear all day. They sent their kids’ face masks to the lab for analysis. The press release issued on June 16, 2021 announced that the following “11 alarmingly dangerous pathogens” were found on the masks:

  • • Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumonia) 
  • • Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis) 
  • • Neisseria meningitidis (meningitis, sepsis) 
  • • Acanthamoeba polyphaga (keratitis and granulomatous amebic encephalitis) 
  • • Acinetobacter baumanni (pneumonia, blood stream infections, meningitis, UTIs— resistant to antibiotics) 
  • • Escherichia coli (food poisoning)
  • • Borrelia burgdorferi (causes Lyme disease)
  • • Corynebacterium diphtheriae (diphtheria)
  • • Legionella pneumophila (Legionnaires’ disease) 
  • • Staphylococcus pyogenes serotype M3 (severe infections—high morbidity rates) 
  • • Staphylococcus aureus (meningitis, sepsis)

Half of the masks were contaminated with one or more strains of pneumonia-causing bacteria. One-third were contaminated with one or more strains of meningitis-causing bacteria. One-third were contaminated with dangerous, antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens. In addition, less dangerous pathogens were identified, including pathogens that can cause fever, ulcers, acne, yeast infections, strep throat, periodontal disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and more. 

At this point, what difference does it make?

In the time of C.S. Lewis, fear of nuclear annihilation was the fear of the day. Rather than let the fear destroy our lives, Lewis argued that, when nuclear annihilation comes, if it does, let it find us doing useful things, and leading productive lives:

“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors — anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

“This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. 

They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.” – C.S. Lewis

Another Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed against the Putnam County “Special Enforcement Unit”

This week we filed a second federal civil rights lawsuit against the Putnam County, West Virginia so-called “Special Enforcement Unit.” This is the same “SEU” guys who were featured in the Dustin Elswick video. This case features one of the victims who came forward after the Elswick video became public.

It involves a young man who was visiting a friend’s house, on his way to go fishing. The SEU just happened to raid his friend’s home, without a warrant, keeping my client in handcuffs for an extended period of time while they searched the house. Apparently they found a small amount of pot in the friend’s house and a couple hundred dollars in cash, which they took. No paperwork documenting the event was ever provided in response to our FOIA requests. There were no criminal charges.

We’re alleging multiple civil rights violations, including unreasonable search and seizure and excessive force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Here’s the Complaint, in full.

The “Outlaw Barber” Arrested for Refusing to Close During the Lockdown Files Civil Rights Lawsuit

Today we filed suit in the case of the “Outlaw Barber,” Winerd “Les” Jenkins, a 73 year old combat veteran and former 27-year Deputy U.S. Marshall, who was arrested for refusing to close his barbershop during the Governor’s lockdown in April of 2020. We filed a Section 1983 civil rights lawsuit in federal court, in the Northern District of West Virginia.

The case was detailed last year in a Federalist article titled, West Virginia Barber’s Arrest Shows Failings Of The Bureaucratic State:

When Winerd “Les” Jenkins first became a barber, Neil Armstrong hadn’t yet set foot on the moon. For over five decades, Jenkins has made a living with his scissors and razor. For the past decade, he’s worked his craft from a storefront in Inwood, West Virginia. At Les’ Place Traditional Barber Shop, you can get a regular men’s haircut for $16 and a shave for $14—but come prepared to pay the old-fashioned way: in cash.

His insistence on “cash only” isn’t the only thing that’s old-school about Jenkins. He lives with his wife of 52 years on a small farm, where the couple raises rescued animals. He believes in paying his bills on time. He doesn’t use the internet, email, or text messaging. And he’s skeptical that his profession can become illegal overnight merely on the governor’s say-so.

He was ultimately arrested by two deputies from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, who transported Mr. Jenkins for incarceration and charged him with “obstructing” an officer. The prosecuting attorney’s office of that county then aggressively prosecuted Mr. Jenkins for the better part of a year, until the judge finally dismissed the charge in January of 2021, finding that it would be a violation of Mr. Jenkins’s constitutional rights to prosecute him for violating the governor’s executive order.

We asserted two separate violations of Mr. Jenkins’ Fourth Amendment rights (unreasonable search and seizure and false arrest), as well as a violation of Mr. Jenkins’ First Amendment rights. It’s already been assigned a case number. Read it for yourself:

I’ve already revealed the body cam footage from one of the deputies, which caught much of the interaction on video:

SCOTUS Destroys the “Community Caretaking Doctrine” and Some Case Updates

Join me at 7pm Live – The SCOTUS issued an opinion today protecting the sanctity of the Fourth Amendment protections of the home, which also served as an anti-red-flag ruling, restricting the police from performing warrantless searches of homes to seize firearms.

This is just in time for recent updates on two of our search and seizure cases with the same or similar issues: the Putnam County drug task force search case and the WV Family Court Judge Search case.

Link to the Opinion.

PS: I’ve had to downsize the live videos for the season due to being so busy, to just Monday evenings at 7pm. Just way too much going on at the moment! Make sure to join me next Monday…..

Here’s what happened in oral arguments today in the AR-15 Open Carry case – Walker v. Donahoe

This afternoon, oral arguments were held in the case of Walker v. Donahoe – the AR-15 open carry case out of Putnam County, West Virginia. I’ll discuss what happened in a live debriefing at 6:30 pm, which is in 4 minutes…..

Here’s a link to the actual recording of the arguments, if you missed it live:

Here’s an excerpt of my argument, as taken by my staff:

Here’s the video of the underlying incident, if you haven’t seen it:

The Supreme Court Rules Against us After Oral Arguments in the Wayne County Case

I realized that I never posted about oral arguments in the Wayne County case, nor the Supreme Court decision which was handed down while we were driving home. On Tuesday, oral arguments were held, for around an hour, which seemed to me to go very well. I honestly was surprised to find out that they had ruled against us. Here’s the debrief video I made that evening, which includes an excerpt of my rebuttal arguments during the oral arguments hearing:

If I had to guess, I would speculate that they found a procedural means to rule against us, such as standing, or perhaps the existence of the so-called “second signature,” where my client unknowingly signed the letter presented to the Governor by the State GOP. At least I hope so, because otherwise the Court will have modified legislation from the bench – because the law was very clearly on our side.

Here are some of the media reports from the day:

For about an hour earlier this afternoon, lawyers for Governor Justice and the West Virginia Republican Party presented arguments against a lawyer for the chairman of the Wayne County Republican Executive Committee.

A few weeks ago, the governor picked Booth, whose family runs a highway safety contracting business, to fill the vacancy. But Booth’s name had not appeared on a list originally submitted by Wayne County political leaders.

The argument before justices focused on who has the authority to submit names to fill such vacancies and the proper procedure for doing so.

“This is one political party committee that is elected by Wayne County voters engaged in a power grab or attempted control by the state executive committee that has no direct connection to the local Wayne County voters,” said John Bryan, counsel for the Wayne County GOP chairman.

“That is the whole point: that they ended up with somebody they voted for or necessarily even knew but they ended up with somebody that, according to the records, donated to Governor Justice when he ran for office in 2016 as a Democrat.”

He was referring to records showing Booth as a $1,000 maximum-amount donor to Justice’s first run, when he won as a Democrat before changing parties after a few months.

https://wvmetronews.com/2021/02/09/supreme-court-swiftly-rules-the-governor-gets-his-pick-for-state-delegate/

I was obviously freshly perturbed when I gave this interview:

https://wvrecord.com/stories/573982025-supreme-court-denies-wayne-co-vacancy-petition-appointed-delegate-can-begin-session-wednesdaycan-begin-session-wednesday

Attorney John Bryan, who is representing Maynard, was disappointed by the ruling.

“The governor has been able to get around the law whenever he pleases for the past year now,” Bryan told The West Virginia Record. “When the full opinion is issued, I suppose we’ll find out how he did it this time. … State laws throughout the country were not followed in the 2020 election, and not a court in the land seems to care.”

https://wvrecord.com/stories/573982025-supreme-court-denies-wayne-co-vacancy-petition-appointed-delegate-can-begin-session-wednesday
https://wchstv.com/news/local/west-virginia-supreme-court-declines-to-halt-delegate-nomination-pick-by-governor
https://www.wowktv.com/news/west-virginia/wv-supreme-court-rules-in-favor-of-gov-justices-delegate-appointment/

Chicago PD Search Warrant Video and the Law on Wrong Address Search Warrants and Sloppy Police Work

Police officers with the Chicago PD traumatize a nude woman, who was just minding her own business in her home, which is caught on Video via bodycams. Her lawyer then dismisses her case because he misunderstood the law. Oops. You may have seen this case in the news, but I go behind the headlines and examine the incompetence not reported in the news, and explain what the law is for civil rights lawsuits following search warrant cases where there’s a wrong address and plain ‘ole incompetence.

You have to either allege that the warrant was invalid, or if that can’t be done, you have to attack the affidavit supporting the warrant. To succeed, Plaintiffs must prove Defendants “deliberately or with a ‘reckless disregard for the truth’ made material false statements in [their] affidavit” which were necessary to the magistrate’s finding of probable cause. Miller, 475 F.3d at 627 (quoting Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 155–56 (1978). Or, Plaintiffs must show Defendants omitted “material facts with the intent to make, or with reckless disregard of whether they thereby made, the affidavit misleading.’” Id.

“To determine materiality, a court must excise the offending inaccuracies and insert the facts recklessly omitted, and then determine whether or not the ‘corrected’ warrant affidavit would establish probable cause.” Id. (internal quotations removed). “If the ‘corrected’ warrant affidavit establishes probable cause, no civil liability lies against the officer.”

“Reckless disregard can be established by evidence that an officer acted with a high degree of awareness of a statement’s probable falsity,” meaning an officer had “serious doubts as to the truth of his statements or had obvious reasons to doubt the accuracy of the information he reported.” Id. (internal quotations removed). For omissions, “reckless disregard can be established by evidence that a police officer failed to inform the judicial officer of facts [he] knew would negate probable cause.” Id. (internal quotations removed). However, negligence or innocent mistake “will not provide a basis for a constitutional violation.” Id. (quoting Franks, 438 U.S. at 171).

We took the Governor to Federal Court yesterday – Here’s what happened

Yesterday, we took the West Virginia Governor to federal court on a challenge against the “Mask Mandate” and “Stay at Home” executive orders following the Governor’s threats on Friday the 13th to start having people arrested and charged with “obstruction of justice.” Fortunately, the Governor backed down from his threats, and the West Virginia Attorney General has joined us in our condemnation of those threats, even before we were able to get to court. I’ll unpack what was said, what the Court ruled, and where we’re going from here.