The Huntington Beach protest shows Americans reaching a breaking point

Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that, rather than locking down every beach and park in California, he would do so only in Orange County.  That was the straw that broke the camel's back.  In Huntington Beach, a major protest broke out.

The backlash against Newsom's order began when leaders in Dana Point and Huntington Beach unsuccessfully moved for an injunction blocking Newsom's order targeting Orange County beaches.  By noon, even as the motion for an injunction was pending, crowds were gathering:

Large crowds opposing the state's coronavirus stay-at-home mandate took to the streets of downtown Huntington Beach on Friday, a day after the governor closed Orange County beaches and drew frustration and criticism from some residents and city leaders.

Protesters gathered near the Huntington Beach pier shortly before noon, with the crowd eventually swelling to some 2,500-3,000 people, according to Huntington Beach police Chief Robert Handy. The tightly packed crowd, with most people not wearing protective masks, repeatedly chanted "U.S.A." as they waited for the demonstration to begin.

The protesters held signs proclaiming, "All jobs are essential," "My freedom is essential," and "Newsom is not essential," as well as "Open our businesses, stand up for our rights as Americans" and "The shutdown is killing us, open our state now."

The pictures tell the story:

Other protests broke out in California, but this was the biggest one.  To understand the protest, which saw people go almost instantly from compliance to defiance, one needs to appreciate a fundamental truth about how people's values shift.  People will react strongly if they realize what they're being told violates a core truth — that is, a truth that they know deeply and with certainty.

For example, for me, the transition from unthinking Democrat to conservative happened when I finally acknowledged that NPR, to which I listened religiously for more than a decade, was consistently lying about Israel.  That's when the old legal motto falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus ("false in one thing, false in everything") kicked in.  If they were lying about that, they couldn't be trusted about anything. 

Throughout California, Newsom's draconian beach policy violated several truths:

Newsom is no longer trying to flatten the curve because the curve is flattened. 

When Newsom locked down California at the beginning of March, he assured people that the whole point of that economy-killing, mental health–attacking exercise was to "slow the spread of this virus."  Thus, everyone was told that California needed to flatten the curve "to spread out the inevitable infections so that the health care system isn't overwhelmed with patients."  By the end of March, the curve was flattened or flattening — but the lockdown continued.

The number of people dying is (thankfully) statistically insignificant.

By the end of April, the number of people dying from the Wuhan virus in California (and, indeed, across America) was statistically insignificant.  Of course, that fact does not diminish the tragedy of deaths that would not have occurred but for the Chinese having essentially weaponized what was probably a careless lab accident.  Still, numbers matter. 

Keep two things in mind as you look at the following numbers.  First, we don't know the true number of Wuhan virus deaths because there's an element of guesswork and a profit motive in labeling some deaths.  Second, because we have no idea how many people caught the virus, we don't know the disease's mortality rate, although it's dropping with each test.  We know only the number who have died relative to the larger population.

With that in mind, in an article about protests in California, we read these data for the Bay Area:

As of Friday, more than 50,000 cases of COVID-19 had been reported across the state. Santa Clara County — the hardest hit in the Bay Area — has reached 2,179 confirmed cases of the virus and 113 deaths.

In San Francisco, 1,523 people have been diagnosed with the virus, and 28 people have died. San Mateo County has confirmed 1,197 cases and 51 deaths, Alameda County has 1,636 cases and 62 deaths, and Contra Costa County has 907 cases and 28 deaths.

Compare the number of deaths to the populations of each county per the United States Census:

  • Santa Clara has 1,927,852 people, so 113 deaths is 0.005% of the population.
  • San Francisco has 881,529 people, s0, 28 deaths is 0.003% of the population.
  • San Mateo County has 766,573 people, so 51 deaths is 0.006% of the population.
  • Alameda County has 1,671,329 people, so 62 deaths is 0.003% of the population.
  • Contra Costa County has 1,153,526 people, so 28 deaths is 0.002% of the population.

The beach is a safe place.

People have also read that the sun and humidity, both present in abundance on beaches, kill the virus.

People across California recognize core truths.  These truths are that the curve used to justify a lockdown is flattened, that the deaths are statistically insignificant, and that the beach is a great place to be during the virus.  Therefore, they can no longer accept the Big Lie.

The lockdown is not about flattening the curve.  It's about keeping people under control indefinitely, either because Newsom is running scared or because control was always the end goal.  Expect even more protests as people realize that their leaders are lying to them.