Don Lemon’s got a bone to pick with Americans protesting the near country-wide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During his show, “CNN Tonight,” on Monday the television journalist had a question for those citizens who’ve been attending the reopen rallies armed with guns.
“You’re out there with guns, with weapons strapped to your chest, saying, oh, you want to get — you’re fighting against the people who are telling you to stay at home, trying to save your lives, you’re upset with those people? In the meantime, there are people keeping your cities going, keeping your loved ones alive and you want to get a haircut?” Lemon said.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” Lemon continued. “What is wrong with people? I don’t understand.”
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The CNN host went on to argue that these gun-toting Americans are hypocrites because they were the ones that criticized former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his controversial decision to kneel during the national anthem at professional football games.
“I don’t want to hear from those people who are out there protesting with guns, right, and that is threatening — a threatening look for people. You’re protesting with guns,” Lemon said. “Don’t — don’t criticize people who are taking a knee at a ball game, entertainment, saying, ‘I don’t want people protesting at a ball game,’ when people are who are peacefully protesting — don’t give me that when you’re out there protesting with guns and saying, ‘I want to get back to work, I want my liberty.’
“Don’t be a hypocrite,” Lemon advised.
We have a 1A right to peaceably assemble and a 2A right to bear arms. In this regard, those protesters were well within the purview of the Constitution to gather as they did, guns and all. The question really is just because you can, should you?
COVID-19 is a highly infectious virus with a mortality rate somewhere between the common flu (.1 percent) and 13 percent, if we are to believe the numbers coming from Italy.
Given the available data, would I gather with a bunch of people outdoors to protest the shutdown? No. I wouldn’t. Why take an unnecessary risk, especially when we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel?
But I also understand that a lot of people are hurting financially right now and are ready to get back to work. Additionally, it’s also true that in certain parts of the U.S. the coronavirus isn’t as prevalent nor as virulent as it is in others. Big cities tend to be hotter spots that rural communities, and due to this there isn’t a one-size-fits-all prescription for getting things back online. President Trump has said as much.
What I’d say to Don is that before you start to criticize these protesters, try to understand where they’re coming from and, more importantly, where they live and how the coronavirus has or has not impacted their community. Because for a lot of Americans, COVID-19 wasn’t that big a deal. It didn’t warrant shutting down the entire economy and putting millions of people out of work. (Not my opinion, but others I respect feel this way.)
In short, there’s nothing “wrong” with these people. They’re not threatening anyone and they’re not “hypocrites.” They just have a different perspective of and experience with COVID-19. Maybe Don, it’s worth listening to what they have to say.