A group of about 50 people gathered outside Taos Town Hall, Thursday, Aug. 19, to protest recently re-imposed mask and social distancing mandates by the town and county governments.

Many of those gathered also held signs displaying anti-vaccine messages. As cars drove by, there were honks of support, as well as several shouting matches with drivers who opposed the protest. Sentiments ranged from general uneasiness about vaccines and the usefulness of masks, to claims to claims of a worldwide conspiracy.

One of the protest organizers, Melody Swan, said the group - who is aligned with the New Mexico Freedom Alliance and New Mexico Stands Up - was there to "protest the mandates, because they are against life."

Swan said she feels the mainstream media and the government are "lying to you." Adequate attention, she said, has not been given to the anti-mask and anti-vaccine protests going on around the globe, and she is upset by the "hundreds of thousands of doctors and scientists who have been censored."

She said the protest wasn't about politics. "We're not Trumpers ... we're apolitical. We are Americans and we are for our freedoms … and they're censoring us," she said. "We believe that we have our medical freedom, our freedom of speech and we want our voices to be heard."

Caroline Colonna said she was there to protest all forms of vaccine mandates. She said it was "stupidity to have mandates to vaccinate everyone." She opposed vaccines being mandatory while all of the side-effects are still unknown - she referenced recent reports of myocarditis and pericarditis in young men after receiving vaccinations.

A Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Colonna said she believes in a unique approach for each individual rather than a one-size-fits-all vaccination attempt.

"When you weigh the pros and the cons of the vaccine, then that should be a personal choice," she said. In fact, Colonna said that while she had received the vaccine, she did not recommend it for her children, but told them it was their choice. "I'm not an anti-vaxxer. I'm just an anti-vaccine for the masses."

Elizabeth Brownrigg, another organizer of the event, said she was also there to stand up for personal choice.

"If people want to wear a mask or people want to get a vaccine … that's your personal choice, but don't mandate stuff for the rest of us," she said. Brownrigg feels strongly that masks don't work, and said she hopes the event can show people there is more than "just the narrative that's been shoved on us … We want more people to feel that they can stand up and speak out."

Another attendee, Jill Inanna, carried a sign that read, "I was arrested for not wearing a mask, ask me about it." Inanna explained she was attempting to view old court records at the county courthouse on Monday, Aug. 16, when she was arrested for refusing to wear a mask (court documents support Inanna's account of the incident).

"I have a right to not wear a mask. My body is a sacred temple. It's against my religion to wear a mask, it harms me and I have the right to decide that between me and my creator," Inanna said she told the deputy who asked her to wear a mask before entering. After refusing to put a mask on and refusing to leave the building, Inanna was arrested and taken to the county jail, where she said she was treated unfairly.

Annette Gano said she feels the children are also being treated unfairly. Gano said she was there to stand up "for the children who have no voice." She said she pulled her daughter out of school after the mask policy changed, and said she considered mandatory masking in school to be "child abuse.

"They are damaging our children emotionally, physically, mentally - and our children are now turning into living in fear and being victims," said Gano.

Aside from standing up for personal freedoms, others said they were in attendance to draw awareness to larger issues at play, namely government conspiracies. One woman who did not give her name said the masks were part of a larger plan for world control.

"It's really about a New World Order takeover. We've been infiltrated by the Communist Chinese party in all of our institutions," she said.

She said she felt mandating vaccines for the U.S. military was part of a campaign to weaken and kill the armed forces from within, because she feels the vaccines are deadly. "It's been proven with the nanoparticles and there's all kinds of things," she said.

"We're being torn apart by forces that most people don't even understand," said Vincent James, another protestor.

Of the town and county's new mandates, he said: "They're using propaganda to manufacture consent, and that's against the law," James said, referencing the Nuremberg trials. "The veneer of whether they care so much about us is revealed as false when you can still go to McDonald's and get a Big Mac in 30 seconds."

"I don't consent. I will never wear a mask, ever," he said.

(10) comments

Markeeta Brown

Obviously logic is not a top priority of the protesters, but something just occurred to me: If masks don't work, why is it that the incidence of flu went down so much last winter as covid was raging?

Francine Lindberg

"hundreds of thousands of doctors and scientists who have been censored." Name one.

Rose Jones

"My health, my choice" except it's not just your health, you're putting everyone in the community at risk for the sake of your ego.

Seriously, of ALL of the wrongs to protest in the world and in Taos, they chose masks... These actions are unbelievably self-centered and I'm embarrassed for these people.

Christie Bundy

Very well said!

Markeeta Brown

Re the placard in the photo: “Show Us The Science”: ConsumerLab.com, the 2nd-highest-rated alternative medical site, has published 27,900 words on Covid studies since Dec. 2020, with the most recent update on Aug. 28, 2021. CL does not accept advertising or industry funding, or do research itself. It summarizes in layperson’s terms, but with complete citations, current research (primarily on supplements). It has a myriad of Covid-related articles, such as independent tests of the efficacy of various kinds of masks, etc. It reports on ALL research from credible sources – and notes when one study seems to contradict another.

(For a fascinating look at government and scientists’ actions that both contributed to and mitigated the pandemic’s damage, see “The Premonition” by Michael Lewis.)

Here are a few excerpts from those 28K words on Covid published by ConsumerLab:

“… Among males ages 18 to 29 … 22 to 27 cases of myocarditis are predicted to occur for every million fully vaccinated, but this vaccination is predicted to prevent 9,600 cases of COVID, 300 hospitalizations, 60 ICU admissions, and three deaths. ... However, if myocarditis is experienced after the first dose, experts recommend deferring the second dose until more information is known…

“The warning notes that the long-term effects of this side effect are unclear, but that short-term follow-up suggests that symptoms resolve for most people …. Myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if you get COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe." For instance, an analysis of data from Israel predicted that there are 2.7 extra cases of myocarditis for every 100,000 people vaccinated, although there are 11 extra cases per 100,000 people with COVID-19.

“Through July 16, 2021, out of 8.9 million adolescents (ages 12 to 17) vaccinated, there have been 9,246 reports of adverse effects — about 1 per 1,000 vaccinees. More than 90% of these reports involved nonserious events such as dizziness, fainting, and headache.

“… The vaccines appear to be less effective at preventing infection and severe illness caused by the Delta variant compared to other variants. Therefore, nonpharmaceutical interventions, especially masking, may be necessary to reduce the transmission of the Delta variant.

“Use of some supplements has been associated with modest reductions in the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, but no supplement is known to have the efficacy exhibited by currently authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines. The largest observational study on self-reported dietary supplement use and SARS-CoV-2 infection found that ...

OK – nothing is absolute; science is constantly evolving; all we can know are the odds at any given time. Based on the above, for example: A young man is 4x more likely to get myocarditis from Covid than he is from the vaccine. The odds of him even getting myocarditis from the vaccine is .00003 (2.7 per million), and that case is thought to be shorter-lasting than non-covid-related myocarditis.

All vaccines produce variants, which tend to be stronger and more volatile until herd immunity is achieved through infection and/or vaccine. News of Superspreader events invevitably refer to the paucity of masks among attendees.

Re the placard “My health; My choice”: Your choice ends at the beginning of my respiratory system. Your choice to take a chance at being hospitalized for Covid interferes with my reliance on our medical system to have a bed for me should I need it because of an accident or severe illness. (Unless of course you have such courage of your convictions that neither you nor any of your close circle are going to rush you to the hospital if you're so unlucky as to get severe Covid.) Any of you who choose both to be unvaccinated and unmasked indoors (or closer than 12’ to me outdoors), and still go out in public, are putting my health at more risk than if you were to come up to me and punch me in the gut. Not to mention the ongoing risk you as a group pose to the mental and physical health of your fellow human beings, as well as the world’s economy. You are contributing to burnout and actual PTSD among our health providers, none of whom we could afford to lose even before Covid.

Steve Shelledy

Thank you for posting pictures and names so we can know who to stay away from.

Markeeta Brown

Love the science of "It's been proven with the nanoparticles and there's all kinds of things." mRna technology began to develop 30+ years ago, and it was the geniuses who figured out how to sequence genomes in a day that allowed these particular vaccines to be developed. I like the idea voiced by a friend (a lifelong Republican BTW), given that we're near the point of crisis medical rationing: Treat any vaccinated person who shows up at a hospital. Set up a tent in the parking lot and tell an unvaccinated person who shows up with Covid that they can have a cot in there and rely on their anti-vaxxer friends to Google how best to keep them comfortable. Child abuse to wear a mask? What will/would you describe it if your child is in a horrible car accident but ends up on a bed in hospital corridor because all the ICU beds are occupied by people ranting about their freedoms right up until the point they get intubated for a ventilator? Unfortunately, medical ethics won't allow treatment to be withdrawn from someone like that in order to free up a bed for someone who landed in the hospital through no fault of their own.

Keith Palmer

Chemtrails, Astrology, Horse Paste Eating.

The next time I see one of these people I want to ask them if "Chemtrails" make you stupid.*

*Vapor exhaust from jets is normal. I remember lying on the grass in the backyard as a child watching jets fly over and leave harmless vapor trails

Brian Lewis

50 folks out of a county of 32000. Hmm, you need to rally for that? SMDH!

That percentage is less then those who were found to be infected just last week!

Sure hope the hospital and systems do not become overwhelmed, which they seem to be heading towards.

Thank you very much!

Nathan Sandoval

Wow mental health is getting real bad around here!

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