As our nation has gone through the seeming waves of the novel coronavirus infection, it has become increasingly clear that some leaders will do anything to keep the emergency power they have been temporarily given, even if that means denying their citizens the freedoms they deserve.
Take the Democratically-ran state of New Jersey and their governor, Phil Murphy, for instance.
Here in the Garden State, most businesses have been shut down due to statewide lockdown orders and social distancing guidelines since March 21, per the governor’s orders. This included Atilis Gym, located in Bellmawr, New Jersey.
But after months of no work and no end in sight to the lockdown orders, gym owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti decided something had to be done. The owners began to speak out against the governor’s orders, citing our Constitutional rights and freedoms as to why they should be allowed to reopen. The two even made a series of appearances on Fox News discussing their contempt for Gov. Murphy’s actions.
And on May 18, Atilis Gym was reopened. Regardless of the consequences, Smith and Trumbetti made it clear that they weren’t about to stand around waiting for a vaccine to end this pandemic, while their constitutional rights were trampled on. They still had mouths to feed and bills to pay. And no government was about to take the right to work and provide for their families away.
Of course, some Karen ratted the gym out, and soon the New Jersey Department of Health was at their doors, issuing a mandate that the gym remains closed until further orders, as well as changing the locks on the gym doors.
Since then, it has been a constant back and forth between the gym owners and the state government. As governor, Murphy has made it apparent that he is no hurry to open much of anything back up, especially not gyms. In mid-July, Murphy claimed the state was “largely in a holding pattern” in regards to its reopening process.
He said, “Believe me, I want to get to gyms, I wan to get to indoor dining, I want to get to theaters. But we can’t do it if we think we’re gonna have a likelihood of killing of people.”
And according to the governor and his staff, they believe that is precisely what will happen. As it is, the nation is already seeing a resurgence of the virus in some locations. And in the Garden State, things have never really recuperated. Per the state’s data, New Jersey currently has a transmission rate of over 1 – which means that every person who has tested positive has passed it on to more than one other person.
However, it is noted that it isn’t gyms and other small businesses that have driven this rate up. In fact, during the few short weeks that Atilis Gym was reopened, it recorded about 13,000 customer visits. But because of extensive cleaning, social distancing, and limited occupancy at one time, zero cases have been traced back to it.
Instead, it seems much of the state is tired of being locked up all the time and isolated and so indoor parties have begun to take place, and often if reports can be believed.
Furthermore, the state is still struggling with its handling of nursing homes and elderly care facilities. Early in the pandemic, the state took a stance similar to that of its neighbor New York, and in so doing, has lost nearly 12 % percent of its entire nursing home population.
On July 24, the gym tried to reopen, again defying the governor’s orders. And by Monday at 5:30 am, Murphy was on to them. Police, under the direct orders of Murphy, stormed into the gym, where both owners were, arrested the pair, and proceeded to board up the business.
The two have since been released but charged with fourth-degree contempt, obstruction, and violation of a disaster-control act.
But that hasn’t stopped them at all.
On Saturday, after receiving a letter from the Borough of Bellmawr’s clerk on Friday that threatened to revoke the gym’s mercantile license to operate, the owners joined a crowd at their gym to break into their gym and reopen it again.
Smith told Tucker Carlson, “I’m not afraid of tyrants. No American should be. We outnumber them greatly. The only thing they run off of is fear… They don’t ever offer any solutions. It’s ‘wear a mask, shut up and wait for a vaccine.’ That’s not public health, and I won’t subscribe to it.”