My wife and I live in a rural, one-stop light , two-bars/restaurants, one-convenience store/gas station community of 356 people in Northwest Ohio. We live on Main St, also known as Route 15, the connecting road between nearby Bryan and Defiance.
Ney has a post office, but no door-to-door delivery. Every resident has a PO box for their mail and packages. Every day or so Polly or I go “uptown” and retrieve our mail — mostly magazines, medical bills, and junk mail. Our medications come via mail, as do the Lionel O-gauge train purchases I make on eBay. Sometimes, a package will come through the post office from Amazon or one of the hat companies I do business with: Hats in the Belfry, Village Hat Shop, and American Hats. The post office is very much a part of the rhythm and flow of our lives.
The Ney Post Office is manned by a middle-aged postmistress, a friendly, talkative woman. Polly talks to her every time she goes into the lobby. Polly considers her a casual friend with whom she shares many things in common. Several days ago, she recounted to Polly the following:
A sign on the front door and on the service counter — which is covered with plexiglass — tells patrons that masks are required for entrance. Everyone who enters the small, suffocating building knows this. The “lobby” is 100 square feet or so, the PO box space, separated by a door, is even smaller. Three people in the lobby at the same time is a big crowd.
A male patron walks in the door. Unless he is blind, and he’s not, the man knows he must wear a mask while in the building. He deliberately chooses not to.
Postmistress: Sir, you are required to wear a mask when you enter
Man: I don’t read signs.
Postmistress: But, that’s what’s on the door.
In an act of toddler-like defiance, the man flips the sign off the counter onto the floor.
Man: I don’t read what doesn’t pertain to me.
And with that, the man turns on his heels and walks out of the building.
Polly has seen the same beautician for years, a winsome, talkative woman in her fifties. She always wears a mask when cutting hair, as does Polly. We try to wear masks when coming in close contact with others (though we no longer do so when our children and grandchildren are visiting). As the woman started cutting Polly’s hair, she asked Polly what vitamins she was taking for COVID. WHAT VITAMINS ARE WE TAKING FOR COVID? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? The woman went on to tell Polly that she was taking Zinc and Vitamin D. That’s right, the woman is not vaccinated. She works up close and personal with the public, and she’s not fucking vaccinated. Polly informed her that both of us were vaccinated and had also received booster shots. This woman will not be cutting Polly’s hair again.
Two of my closest friends — a friendship of 55 years — are presently in the hospital for COVID. Unvaccinated, both have respiratory problems. When admitted, their oxygen levels were in the 70s. The man also has pneumonia. The woman has numerous comorbidities, including diabetes. Her glucose level was almost 800 when she was admitted.
My friends went to ER earlier last week, only to be sent home with oxygen tanks. Why? The Bryan Hospital (Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers) is overrun with COVID patients — literally. There are no beds available, and hospitals in Toledo and Fort Wayne — having their own problems with COVID — are refusing transfers from the hospital. Some COVID patients are stacked up in the ER, waiting hours and hours for rooms to become available. (WTOL-11 news report on Williams County COVID outbreak.)
Last Sunday, Bryan Hospital nurses and their supporters gathered at the Williams County Courthouse to protest the hospital’s vaccination mandate. A hundred or so people showed up for the protest, waving signs sporting messages about FREEDOM and bodily autonomy. Several nurses were interviewed by WTOL News.
To force us to have something that we do not want is not the answer. You’re going to be short-staffed even more in these hospitals. Your communities are going to hurt because they don’t have the appropriate staff to take care of the community.”
When asked how nurses can keep themselves and their patients safe if they aren’t vaccinated, Pettit replied:
I think with diligent hand washing and masking and doing everything that we can to protect our patients, will help our patients and our community get better.
Yes, we will do everything we can EXCEPT be vaccinated. I am of the opinion unvaccinated hospital employees should be fired. However, this would cause a worker shortage for the hospital, so it is unlikely this will happen. Those who need the services of the Bryan Hospital will be left to wonder if the nurses and technicians caring for us are vaccinated, whether we will survive our surgeries only to be killed by a COVID infection we got from employees who only care about their personal freedoms. (Cue Mel Gibson and Braveheart.)
Another nurse, Brooke Gordon, the founder of Northwest Ohio Medical Freedom — which is only on Telegram — ignorantly said:
The word ‘safe’ around it I believe has been used as a shield to further push it, even though the evidence is not showing that it is providing safer environments or lesser transmission.
According to a West Bend News article, the “concerns” of the Northwest Ohio Medical Freedom group are as follows:
• The ads for the COVID-19 vaccine claim it is “safe and effective” but many are seeing the reality in their friends and neighbors that it is neither. VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) numbers have climbed since the release of the vaccine.
• Local Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor RoseAnna Hollo of Deep Roots Wellness in Defiance, says, “I have seen an increase of adults presenting with severe symptoms following Covid-19 injections. I am concerned about the short and long term effects of this jab. I have been educating those affected on reporting to VAERS. I am of the opinion that this vaccine is not worth the risk in most circumstances and mandates are endangering the health of many.”
• Many healthcare providers, military, airline, and nearly every other industry are standing up to these mandates in the forms of walk outs, resignations, and lawsuits.
• Mandated vaccines are un-American.
• Many have natural immunity, which has been shown to be robust and complete in the medical literature.
To receive updates from the NWO Medical Freedom group, you will need to have the Telegram app on your mobile device. The link is https://t.me/medfreedomnwo
NWOMFG consists of medical choice-loving people of all political leanings, gathering monthly to share how they can combat COVID-19 mandates locally and statewide, exemptions available, alternative treatments, and other helpful resources.
Let this group’s stated “concerns” be a reminder that just because someone is a nurse doesn’t mean that they have a comprehensive understanding of science, medicine, reason, or common sense. And don’t even get me started on “Local Board Certified” Naturopathic Doctor RoseAnna Hollo:
Rose Hollo, a Certified Master Herbalist and Naturopathic Doctor-in-training holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts/Holistic Health from Union Institute & University, an M.BA. in Digital and Social Media, and a Yoga Teacher Level 1 Certification from Aura Wellness Institute and is an Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master. Her previous background is in the animal healthcare and rescue field, and was a certified PetMassage practitioner and Veterinary Technician. She saw how well natural treatments worked for animals and decided to research alternative therapies for herself after experiencing some severe health issues.
I know her personally — a nice, friendly woman — but she peddles all sorts of pseudoscientific nonsense. And now she’s an anti-vaxxer, who just so happens to be a registered Democrat. Board-certified means she took online classes and got a certificate. Hollo is not a doctor, nor is she a nurse. Hollo is a promoter of woo, appealing to the fears of (primarily) local women. And her “advice” is helping fuel the spread of COVID.
Currently, Northwest Ohio has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the state of Ohio. Williams County, where the Bryan Hospital is located, has the highest county infection rates in the state, and nearby Defiance, Henry, and Fulton counties are not far behind. COVID is everywhere. People are getting sick and dying. Yet, local residents, businesses, and schools pretend the pandemic is a myth or nothing to be worried about. No matter how many people get sick and die, all that matters to an overwhelmingly Trumpist, libertarian, Evangelical populace is personal FREEDOM (people like Rose Hollo are the black swans in the midst of a flock of white swans). Most of these freedom-lovers profess to be Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, yet they show no regard for their neighbors. You know, the people Jesus told them to love.
There was a time when local residents — Democrats and Republicans — understood the social contract we have we each other; that matters of public health and safety rise above partisan divides. Those days are over. Trumpism now has a firm, authoritarian grip on rural Northwest Ohio. Almost 7 out of 10 locals voted for Donald Trump in the last election, ditto 2016. Every state and local government is controlled by Republicans. Ohio, a one-time blue state, has been taken over by red-meat Republicans — lovers of Donald Trump, guns, and the Evangelical God. Current attempts to further gerrymander Ohio, if successful, will likely make 12 of Ohio’s 15 districts solidly Republican. JD Vance (a Catholic who talks like an Evangelical) and Josh Mandel (a Jew who talks like an Evangelical) — both of whom are anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers — are the leading Republican candidates to replace Rob Portman in 2022. Need I say more? Both of these men are running on Trump’s coattails, each trying to out-Trump the other. If elected, neither of them will represent the diverse people of Ohio. They are partisan hacks, religious extremists with theocratic tendencies. It’s hard to believe that there was a time when Ohio was a Democratic-leaning union state, a state that gave us august statesmen such as Howard Metzenbaum and John Glenn (and even Republican George Voinovich, for that matter).
Sadly, there’s no hope on the horizon for rural Northwest Ohio. Extremism rules the roost, and now Trumpists are intent on taking over local school boards and election offices. Quite honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that our six children and thirteen grandchildren live here, we would pack up our belongings and move away. Outside of having a few liberal/progressive friends, we have little, if anything, in common with the people around us. Good people, kind people, but people who have bought into all sorts of political extremism and conspiracy theories. Polly and I have to live here and get along with our neighbors, but since less than half of them are vaccinated, it’s hard not to think that they are out to infect us with COVID and kill us. And if they don’t infect or kill us, they hope to deliver us from our atheistic, communistic, socialist beliefs — by the barrel of a gun, if necessary. Theocratic tendencies and militia sentiments waft through the air, leaving us to wonder what will happen to us if these folks ever gain absolute control.
Maybe it is time for me to buy a gun . . .
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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