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Coronavirus quarantine road blocks, checkpoints, thinly veiled threats: part 2

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Update to Part 1 which was about what is happening up in Graham County regarding checkpoints: It was said that people who are resident outside of Graham County will no longer be allowed on Highway 28, then 143, then 129 (or vice versa) when the Nantahala Gorge closure would be opened. Well, now the landslide has been partially cleared and the Gorge is now open again, albeit still with one way traffic regulated by an automatic traffic light and cameras, thus enabling people to entirely bypass Graham County. If you drive up to a Graham County checkpoint and you are not from the county, if you do not have a deed to your property in Graham County in your car with you (literally), you will be turned away forthwith. Yep. Pay attention. For my part, I do have a “Green Card”, it being that I’m the pastor of the Mission Church up in Robbinsville.


Meanwhile for Part 2 down here in Andrews of Cherokee County:

The pictures in the slideshow above were taken the other day. The circumstances of the roadblocks have been changing daily, even hourly. You gotta work in view of contingencies, right? Yes. So, what you see here may or may not be what you see if you are out and about near Andrews. I don’t have overview or any extra special insight regarding these road blocks as I don’t know all the facts, not having oversight. That’s not my purview. That’s for our elected leaders. I may be the Police Chaplain, but that has nothing to do with the barrels and cones.

But I will say this: I’ve been doing a bit of “accompaniment” of some of those present at the road blocks or checkpoints. It’s mighty interesting to see the different reactions of people:

  • Some, say 5%, are a bit perturbed but behave themselves at that moment, entirely polite. Fine. This is smart. Don’t talk yourself into a citation for public disturbance. That’s never a good idea. Never. But there’s always someone… But so far, no one for this as far as I know. :-)
  • By far the vast majority of people, say 90%, are happy go lucky, happy in their own lives and not wanting to make others unhappy. They know they are essential workers and local residents and that there will be no problem at all. All goes very quickly for them and very smoothly. All good.
  • Some, say 5%, hold up any traffic by going out of their way to thank those manning the check points for their service and, if they have been delivering food or gasoline from elsewhere, going back and forth through these check points, they make sure to also add that they wish that the same precautions would be taken in their own home town. They see more mayhem where they are from. And where they are from there are no check points. There may be a lesson there.

The thinly veiled threats have, as far as I know, disappeared entirely just over these few days. The streets and highways are emptying out where we are. People are staying at home as they see the mortality rates go up in surrounding areas. Sometimes it just takes people longer to “get it.” That’s fine.

The next couple of weeks may see plenty of deaths if the charting relative to our stats and that of other countries has any relevance at all. These will be because of infections that took place already some days or weeks ago as we now reap the spread of the virus by the tender snowflakes who feel ever so entitled to spread the virus to others because it’s just an authoritarian rule not to do so.

Of course, I suppose I’m picking on the entitled generation too much. We’re basically all the same in our fallen human frailty. At the railroad block pictured in the slideshow above, when taking that picture, I witnessed an entirely elderly geezer get out of his truck, move the barrels aside, drive through, and then neatly replace the barrels, continuing on his way, I’m sure quick happy to be so clever. What-eeeeh-verrrrrrr!

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Coronavirus quarantine road blocks, checkpoints, thinly veiled threats: part 1

coronavirus cherohala skyway closure

I am impressed. The cement barrier on the left is resting on a vertical cement wall holding up the road. The mountain at that point is impossibly steep, not able to be traversed. The barrier on the right also makes it impossible for motorcycles, ATVs, etc. No one in or out.

A bit too enthusiastic up in Graham County, the entirety of which lies in my parish, which also comprises half of Cherokee County and half of Macon County. Graham, jumping the gun, went a bit too far, and the County was forced to remove the impossibility factor of the barrier in favor of emergency vehicles being able to pass by.

In lieu of such extremes, we have such as this at the Topton entrance to Graham County, which only has something like four roads in and out of the entire county:

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This setup is quite well thought out. There are warning signs, cones, plank-stands, plastic barriers, concrete barriers, a tent with table and chairs for nasty weather conditions. And for personnel, we have three:

  • One deputy in a slime-green vest who checks ID
  • Two deputies to provide security for the interface officer, as well as enforcement, and, I’m sure transportation of rebellious sovereign citizens, anti-government militia members, et alii.

I had to have a chat with our Vicar Forane in Bryson City yesterday, before the Governor’s lock-down of the entire state of North Carolina went into effect at 5:00 PM. I got to talking with the checkpoint crowd to and fro. Very friendly. The identical set-up is to be found at the Swain-Graham border up on Highway 28.

On my way back, I stopped at the tax assessors office at the courthouse in Robbinsville, County Seat of Graham County, and got me a Green Card, so to speak, a non-resident pass to enter Graham County (where our mission church lies) even though the rectory is in Cherokee County. I wonder if I’ll have to do the same for Clay and Macon Counties. I want to be able to pass freely throughout the region in order to do up the Last Rites for my parishioners and those of surrounding parishes when their priests, for whatever reason, are not able to respond to calls. Here’s the placard to be placed visibly up front of the vehicle:

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I’m compliant. Some think that’s a good idea. Some think it’s downright anti-American. Whatever you think, it’s good for me in that I’m interested in doing the priest-thing, providing the sacraments to those whom I am able to reach. Clever as a snake and – hopefully – as innocent as a dove. (I’ll have to work on the latter with Jesus!)

There are, apparently – rumors being what they are – some who are saying with, um, a bit of an edge to it, that they are sick and tired, just really, really fed up with any restriction whatsoever in favor of public safety. “IT’S UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”

Here’s the deal: Law Enforcement is at risk enough without people ramping it up. If someone attacks Law Enforcement, you gotta know that pretty much all LEOs in a region are gonna hunt the knucklehead down, rightly so. At that point, it’s no longer about discussion of policy. It’s about whether one guy can take out all Law Enforcement of a region. Hint: It can’t be done.

And if Militias ramp it up, that’s when the full force of the National Guard will come into play. Thinking of smacking down Law Enforcement? Ain’t gonna happen. Don’t do it.

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