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Anti-maskers in Idaho shut down a virtual public health meeting by targeting officials' homes

At this particular point in time in the United States, there are two major schisms threatening to rend the (perhaps mythological) social fabric that ostensibly holds our whole society together. Roughly speaking, they are:

  • Is it good to prevent the spread of a deadly communicable disease, or is it better to inhale a virus in the vague service of some nebulous notion of freedom?
  • Did thousands, if not millions, of Democrats, media elites, international socialists, and any number of other conveniently ill-defined interest groups conspire to make Joe Biden president, or do people just really want Donald Trump out of the White House?

In no small part, those two inflection points have dovetailed into a frightening goulash of disease vectors who not only refuse to mitigate their own infection risk, but who are actively suspicious — and frequently, openly hostile — to anyone in a position of authority who might suggest otherwise. Which brings us to Boise, Idaho, where city officials were forced to shut down a virtual meeting of the Central District Health Board after protesters massed outside board members' homes.

Just moments after the meeting had been called to order, Commissioner Diana Lachiondo announced that a neighbor had texted her to say that a group of protesters had gathered at her residence.

"I'm going to step off for just a moment to call the police, because my kids are there," she explained.

"I've also got protesters outside my house as well," Lachiondo's fellow board member Ted Epperly responded.

The meeting had initially been called to vote on a revised public health plan amidst surging coronavirus cases in Ada, Boise, Elmore, and Valley counties, local station KTVB reported. The order being debated would have largely eased certain mask restrictions, as well as set rules for seating at bars and allowed certain sports to continue.

Instead, the meeting was cut short, after Boise Mayor Lauren McLean (D) and Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee asked to end the proceedings out of a concern for public safety and order. In a statement, the Boise Police Department explained:

Due to the large crowd size, concurrent reports of protesters causing disturbances at or near the homes of board members, a disturbance inside of the meeting, and other significant calls for service, BPD requested the CDH meeting adjourn in the interest of public safety.

BPD also claimed that protesters had massed outside at least three private residences, in addition to gathering at the site of the Central District Health Board meeting itself, where one person was arrested for trespassing.

Speaking with the Idaho Statesman, Epperly estimated that more than a dozen people had chosen his home as their protest target, and were "beating garbage cans and flashing strobe lights through my windows."

He added that "two came up and knocked on my door during the meeting."

According to Boise police, "investigators have identified some of the people involved and are securing warrants for their arrest on charges of disturbing the peace in the neighborhood." Lachiondo later tweeted that she was "fine."

Idaho is far from the only place where anti-mask fanatics have threatened policymakers over their pandemic response plans. In Michigan, six militia members were arrested after law enforcement officials uncovered a plot to kidnap and execute Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over her efforts to mitigate coronavirus with state closure orders.