Greetings, everyone! Wishing y’all a terrific Tuesday!
Today, I am heading to Laredo, Texas. It will be my first time in the nation’s largest inland port, and largest border crossing in America. It is where I-35 begins and, once upon a time, it was the capital of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande. Why am I heading to Laredo? I have written about this recently: it was the case of two young Hispanic women who were the victims of a law enforcement sting operation. They were arrested and faced six months in prison as well as a fine of $2,000 each. Their crime? It was not drug-related, or violation of our immigration laws. Nope, they were arrested back on April 20th because they dared to do nail and eyebrow services in their home. Let me repeat, the Laredo Police Department allocated resources to conduct a sting operation in order to entrap and arrest two young Hispanic women, ages 31 and 20.
I find it alarming that in this time of illegal martial law and house arrest you can be arrested for what you are doing inside your home. Even in El Paso, there is a citizen report number, a snitch number, to tell law enforcement if people are having gatherings in their own homes. I wonder how that worked out on Mother’s Day?
Laredo, a city of 260,000, where citizens, perhaps more so “subjects” were being fined for not wearing masks, fined even for leaving the city. Yes, it seems that Laredo Mayor “Pete” Saenz Jr. has become a feudal lord and issued a decree shutting off, not just down, the city. I have stated before, and will reiterate, the government is not endowed with the enumerated power to “protect our health,” they are supposed to protect our rights and security. When confronted by a virus with a 99.6 percent recovery rate, it is not necessary to instill fear, and advance panic, paranoia, and hysteria.
As of the writing of this missive, Texas, a state of some 29 million residents, has had 35,390 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been 18,440 Texans who have recovered and sadly, 1,088 deaths. As of this writing, the city of Laredo has had 444 confirmed cases, 223 have recovered, and there have unfortunately been 17 deaths…in a city of 260,000.
Right now, we have over 2.1million Texans now unemployed and an unemployment rate that is above 10 percent. America is now at an unemployment rate that we have not seen since the Great Depression. The last thing we want is for temporary unemployment to become permanent. But, that is very possible when one considers the very fact that some small businesses will never return.
What is very disturbing is when I read comments from those who chastise those who want to reopen our economic activity. The accusations of being selfish and not caring for others is quite disconcerting, bordering on delusion. We now know the vulnerable demographics for COVID-19. I believe that we can protect the vulnerable, and not create a new vulnerability, reflected in unemployment, the rise of suicides, and domestic abuse cases.
Leaders seek out solutions, not cower in fear, admitting to being afraid, such as Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson did in an op-ed piece Sunday. Who the heck wants to follow a person who admits being fearful? Sir Winston Churchill stated, “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.”. What happens when elected officials react out of fear?
As reported by the Texas Tribune (financially supported by George Soros):
“When thousands of rapid COVID-19 tests were delivered to the South Texas city of Laredo late last month, it looked as if a visiting dignitary had arrived. With lights flashing and sirens blaring, Webb County sheriff’s deputies escorted a red tractor-trailer carrying the tests to a local emergency room, whose owner had purchased them from a Chinese manufacturer.
Longtime U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who helped facilitate the arrival of the tests, smiled broadly as he carried boxes of them inside the clinic. Believing the tests would detect an active infection, Laredo leaders hustled to set up a drive-thru testing site to welcome anxious residents the following morning.
But the promise of the 20,000 tests would soon become a bitter example of what can go wrong when local governments and private medical firms try to buy supplies on the open market from unknown manufacturers, as policies from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shift and anxiety increases over a lack of test kits from official sources.
As they tried to validate the tests to ensure their accuracy, city health workers in Laredo quickly determined that they were unreliable and unusable. And even if they had passed the city’s testing, it’s unclear how helpful they would have been for the city at that early point in its battle against the coronavirus. They were antibody tests, which seek evidence that someone’s immune response has encountered the virus, not diagnostic tests that detect active infection.
Within a week, investigators from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would seize the 20,000 tests, as Laredo police and federal authorities tried to determine the validity of the tests’ FDA status.
“We’re very disappointed, because we thought we had secured a supply,” Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz said. “It set us back, but we can’t give up. Plan B is acquiring [tests] wherever we can find them.” Laredo’s attempt to secure the testing kits highlights what is happening not only in Texas but across the country, as a stubborn shortage of tests for the new coronavirus has led private-sector and government leaders to take risks that they normally would not.
Laredo health administrators are not the first to complain about unreliable testing kits from China. European nations have complained for weeks about receiving substandard tests from that country.
Disputed purchases include 1.2 million faulty antibody tests in Slovakia, a batch of 300,000 quick tests in the Czech Republic that local authorities said were about one-third defective, and tests sent to Turkey that officials said were just 35% accurate. Spain returned about 9,000 faulty rapid tests that it purchased from an unauthorized Chinese firm last month.”
Half a million dollars were spent on these defective tests. In Houston (Harris County), County Judge Lina Hidalgo spent some $60M dollars for a temporary hospital facility at the NRG stadium, that never saw a patient.
Reactions, rooted in fear, over a virus that has a 99.6 percent recovery rate, most dangerous for those 65 and older, and those with underlying medical conditions such as COPD, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and obesity. Let’s focus on the targeted demographic of the virus, not those who are healthy.
Illegal martial law, house arrest, fines, incarcerations, all of these are reactions, unconstitutional violations of individual rights, freedoms, and liberties. Again, an emergency does not constitute a suspension of our Bill of Rights. If that is the case, beware of more decrees, edits, mandates, and declarations.
Something tells me that in Laredo, the virus of illicit drug trafficking and illegal immigration are more deadly. I cannot tell you how many have warned me about going to Laredo, not because of COVID-19, but other dangers. I fully admit, I have not donned a face mask during this entire episode, and do not plan on doing so.
Why am I going to Laredo? Simple, to remind the people that they are Texans, American citizens, and not subjects., and to remind them that fear makes victims…courage makes victors.