OPINION: Open Alaska now – the shutdown is devastating

    With the breakdown of the national food supply chain, the imminent economic depression, healthcare facilities furloughing workers and losing millions, unemployment at record highs, children out of school, domestic abuse on the rise and the three pillars of Alaskan economy (oil, tourism and fishing) in shambles, unfortunately – in time – we the people will be proven right. To kill the economy is to lose lives.

    It is time to alter the way we approach this virus. Initial models were wrong – vastly wrong. The data is now out.

    We allowed our government to do this. Now it’s time to forgive our leaders, ourselves and each other, and start to live life again.
    This plan to reopen Alaska is too little, too late and too slow. If we have any chance to recover, we need to act now. We, in this group called OpenAlaska, have sent scientific facts, data, concerns and ideas. We have defended our rights, called and protested, but it has all fallen on deaf ears. We have been called “bullies,” when in reality we are defending the livelihoods of all Alaskans and our rights as Americans. We are concerned for ALL Alaskans.

    To be clear, every single death is a tragedy! I am sad that viruses exist at all. But do we stop living life for fear of death? No. We protect life, with reasonable and proven mitigation, like wearing seatbelts, like quarantining the sick and protecting our most vulnerable through education, hygiene, PPE and a strong healthcare system.

    To be fair, in the beginning, without any real data and frightening theoretical projections, our government officials did the right thing by temporarily shutting things down. I cannot imagine the pressure on their shoulders. But our information has grown and changed. It is time to alter the way we approach this virus. Initial models were wrong – vastly wrong. The data is now out.

    The truth is that many people are going to die from what we are continuing to do to the economy.

    The real numbers do not lie. Officials admit that deaths are being attributed to COVID-19 regardless of comorbidity or testing, and that certain COVID-19 diagnoses, deaths and treatments earn more funding for hospitals. Yet we are still met with opposition, impossible and unlawful mandates, and told we must “follow the science.” I, for one, am done.

    Our knowledge of COVID-19 is ever changing, as it should be. Scientists question, observe, test, prove, and then should adapt accordingly. The truth is that many people are going to die from what we are continuing to do to the economy. The United Nations has already predicted hundreds of thousands of children will starve to death in 2020 directly because of our lockdowns, and 42 to 66 million children will fall into extreme poverty.

    We also know that children are mostly unaffected by this virus. We have sacrificed them to protect the small percentage of those who are vulnerable to this sickness. Shame on us. It is time to end this madness.

    It is folly to think we can live in our safe, bubble-wrapped houses, without dire global consequences, let alone direct devastation in Alaska.


    How many government officials have given up their pay in solidarity? They say we are all in this together, but that is a lie. We are in the same storm but riding very different boats.

    We must go back to work now! Free enterprise is the backbone and foundation of this nation. Will we attack this virus like the communist government of China – with surveillance, trained citizen observers, and no medical freedom or choice? Or will we defeat it as free people?
    There is a reason we are not governed solely by science and medicine. There is a reason we have elected officials to represent us. Science, especially theoretical estimations regarding a new virus, is gray. The constitution is black and white. Our leaders swore an oath to uphold the constitution.

    According to Alaska’s Constitution, the people have a right to “life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the enjoyment of the rewards of their own industry.” The current mandates and phases of reopening violate those rights. “No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Mandating that churches close their doors, while cannabis and liquor stores are open, is an arbitrary violation of our rights.

    Open our businesses. Open our churches. Go see a friend. Take care of your vulnerable neighbors. Wash your hands.

    If medicine governed us, heroin would have been mandated as cough medicine, cocaine for toothaches, tapeworms for weight loss, lobotomies for mental health, and countless other cures that over time were proven worse than the disease. History reveals why science should not determine every policy.
    The people we elected have failed us (though few legislators have heard us and speak out). They are answerable to us. We have cried out to them, but instead of admitting their mistakes and altering their plans, they have bullied us, imposed ridiculous, unproven, arbitrary mandates, and continued to destroy our economy. ENOUGH!

    Open Alaska today. There is no sound scientific evidence to justify one more day of a state of “emergency” nor free-commerce-crippling and civil-rights-stripping health mandates.
    Open our businesses. Open our churches. Go see a friend. Take care of your vulnerable neighbors. Wash your hands.

    There is no “new normal.” We have lived with disease and viruses for all of human existence. Life must go on. Children must play. Families must hug. Humanity must survive.

    Editor’s note: This column was written by one of the key organizers of the April 22 vehicle caravan protest through downtown Anchorage, which was aimed at opening Alaska’s economy. The views expressed here are the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the Alaska Watchman. The writer is one of the organizers of OpenAlaska, a group of like-minded citizens mobilized to get Alaska back to work.

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