Fear makes people do stupid things. We can’t make that statement enough during this pandemic. An example of that comes from Vinalhaven, an island with a population of around 1,000 off the coast of Rockland, Maine. A group of armed vigilantes chopped down a tree and dragged it in front of the driveway of new residents because they were afraid the people might have coronavirus. They were forcing the people to “self-isolate.” (Boston.com)
The incident went like this, according to the Knox County Sheriff’s office on Facebook:
“On March 27, 2020, at approximately 3:35 PM, a resident of Cripple Creek Road, Vinalhaven, was heading from his residence toward Round The Island Road. He was going to check on why the cable service was not working. When he got to the end of his road he found a tree blocking the end of it.
While investigating the downed tree, a neighbor started yelling at him and a group of people showed up and began to gather around. Believing the group may be there to harm him, fled to his residence and told his roommates what he had found. The trio decided to stay put in the residence, utilized a VHF radio to hail the Coast Guard for assistance, they had no other means of communication, and utilized their drone to keep an eye on the group until law enforcement could arrive to help them.
Several law enforcement entities arrived in the area and found the felled tree but no group of people. It was apparent that the tree had been cut down and dragged into the roadway to block it.
Deputies have learned that there is a general belief by some island residents that the Cripple Creek Residents are supposed to be quarantined because they came here from another state and could have Covid-19. Deputies did investigate this and learned that the trio had been residing on Vinalhaven for about 30 days, which is outside of the guidance issued by state officials, and none have any symptoms consistent with Covid-19.
Deputies continue to investigate the circumstances around this incident. We are concerned that some believe that anyone from out of the state is potentially infected and needs to be quarantined.
We want to bring to the public’s attention the matter of restricting a person’s movements within the state. Whether someone is a Maine resident or not, they have the right to free movement and anyone who infringes upon that free movement is potentially violating the law.
If you are concerned about someone potentially being infected or not following the emergency rules or recommendations, please contact us. We want everyone to be informed about Covid-19 and the rules around it. We also want everyone to be safe and not overreact in this time of uncertainty as it could end poorly.”
This is exactly what we were concerned about in our China post from March 28: fear makes people do stupid things. This was a stupid reaction to these residents who had been there for just 30 days. Just like the Jiangxi police were afraid of COVID-19 in the Hubei residents who were just trying to go back to work, it caused a riot in which people could have been seriously injured. This incident could have ended badly.
Strangers came to an island, residents were fearful of them. America, please don’t live in the hell-hole of fear. Fear involves torment. Have a little faith.
Featured photo: Knox County Sheriff by Lauren Abbate via BDN