GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis Offers Unvaccinated Cops $5K To Come Infect And Serve Floridians
Florida's COVID-19 cases are trending downward since their August peak. Hospitalizations have decreased by 38 percent over the past two weeks, and deaths have declined by 31 percent. Hooray! Sure, COVID-19 might've killed 58,000 Floridians, but GOP Governor Ron DeSantis is real proud of himself for standing firm against medical tyranny. He's ready for his statue, please.
However, DeSantis does need to staff up on account of all the deaths, we guess, so he's actively recruiting folks who share his apparently casual disregard for human life. During a segment on Fox's "Sunday Morning Futures," he told host Maria Bartiromo that he's prepared to offer a relocation bonus of $5,000 to out-of-state cops who lost their jobs because they won't get vaccinated. He's making a dedicated push toward herd stupidity.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) says Florida is "actively working to recruit out-of-state law enforcement" officers quitti… https://t.co/ddCM24xicR— The Recount (@The Recount) 1635085365.0
In Florida, not only are we going to want to protect the law enforcement and all the jobs, we are actively working to recruit out-of-state law enforcement because we do have needs in our police and sheriff's departments.
COVID-19 was the number one cop killer in 2020 and 2021 (so far). If there was a vaccine to prevent Black Lives Matter protests, cops would be lining up for the boosters by now, but instead many are acting like whiny babies over the free and safe COVID-19 vaccine. At least 37 cops have died from COVID-19 in Florida since the pandemic started, and the number continues to rise.
DeSantis plans to throw open Florida's doors to insubordinate, unvaccinated cops from New York, Minneapolis, Seattle: “If you're not being treated well, we'll treat you better here."
Cities with vaccine mandates are treating cops well. They'd prefer police don't die from a preventable illness. This is like offering cops $5,000 to come to work without a bulletproof vest, and there are often far more viral bullets to dodge in Florida. The state's vaccination rate is lagging, and its new surgeon general Joseph Ladapo is an anti-science kook. Ladapo declared last week that "infections will happen whether people are vaccinated or not. That's obvious." It's neither obvious nor true.
Vaccination remains the best protection from contracting the disease. In the event of breakthrough infections, vaccines are effective at preventing serious illness that would hospitalize or kill you. This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Hopkins, and a recent study in the the New England Journal of Medicine.
Anti-vax cops in Democratic-run states were at least interacting with a public that was more likely to be vaccinated or wearing masks. DeSantis has done much to make Florida less safe when it comes to basic COVID-19 prevention measures. He's asked for a special legislative session to fight vaccine mandates in the state.
"Your right to earn a living should not be contingent on getting shots," he said, demonstrating that he doesn't understand how “rights" work. No one is holding anyone down and forcing a needle into their arm. However, private and public entities are under no obligation to make it easy for willingly unvaccinated people to function in society. There is no constitutional right to work in law enforcement or in healthcare, especially if you refuse to protect yourself and others from a highly contagious and deadly disease.
Officer Anthony Testa from West Palm Beach died from COVID-19 last month. He was 36 and unvaccinated. COVID-19 then exercised its freedom to devastate his body. He was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator before eventually succumbing to the virus. He leaves behind a wife and four-year-old son. His story would be all over Fox News if his killer was an undocumented immigrant or a homeless person. Instead, he is an inconvenient death for the right wing's anti-vax narrative.
There's a GoFundMe for Testa's family. DeSantis should consider sending his $5,000 recruitment bonuses to the families of the officers his Trumpist political agenda has left behind.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."