Weekly Stories about What’s Happening in Washington State and Stories of Interest to Washingtonions
by Gerald Braude
A Convoy’s Trek to the State Capital
It could not have been more fitting that a convoy to protest violations of constitutional rights began at a courthouse.
In one of the most restrictive regions in Washington for COVID-19 measures, six vehicles comprised of Informed Choice Washington members left the Clallam County Courthouse in downtown Port Angeles at the break of dawn on Saturday, March 5. One driver had worked in the courthouse for twenty-eight years as a sheriff deputy.
Flags waved with the wind from their cars and pickup trucks as the convoy headed on State Route 101 toward the rising sun. At Deer Park Road, east of Port Angeles, two more vehicles joined the convoy. At River Road, on the western edge of Sequim, four more flag waving vehicles joined the convoy, one of which was a Class C motorhome.
With the sun beating straight ahead on the drivers’ and passengers’ eyes on the 101, the convoy roamed through the northern end of Sequim, past Sequim Bay State, past the Jamestown Tribal Center, and soon crossed Diamond Point/Chicken Coop Road.
The convoy was now in Jefferson County, another one of the most restrictive regions in Washington for COVID-19 measures. At Discovery Bay, eight vehicles awaited them. The Clallam County convoy pulled to the side of the road. The drivers got out of their cars and solidified their plans with their fellow Jefferson County Informed Choice Washington members for getting to the March for Our Rights rally on the Olympia Capitol Campus.
After the convoy crossed the Hood Canal, it picked up another half-dozen vehicles in Kitsap County. After taking the Narrows toll bridge into Pierce County, the convoy headed south on Interstate 5 and soon hit the best part of the trip. At the park and ride in Lakewood, over a hundred honking cars, trucks, and motorcycles from various convoys from all over the state were there to greet them. They were decked out in red, white, and blue regalia. Amidst a party-like atmosphere, the various groups spent a half hour exchanging information.
On the final leg south to the state capital, the hundred-plus vehicles proudly honked their horns in solidarity. Trucks passing by on the interstate did the same. The convoy arrived in Olympia, where large rigs were parked diagonally upon the Capitol Campus.
Informed Choice Washington was one of the partners of the rally, and, under the noon sun overhead, its booth served as a fitting destination for the convoy’s finishing of their morning trek for their constitutional rights.
John Stockton Defies His Alma Mater
John Stockton has had the most successful professional basketball career of any Washington college graduate. He spent his entire nineteen year career with the Utah Jazz. As the team’s point guard, the Jazz reached the National Basketball Association finals for the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons. He has been voted as one of the fifty greatest basketball players of all time and still holds the NBA record for career assists and steals.
Once he retired from the NBA, he returned to living in Spokane and had lifetime season tickets at mid-court for attending basketball games at his alma mater, Gonzaga University. Inside the 6,000 arena at the McCarthey Athletic Center, he enjoyed celebrity status. The university used his presence to publicize their games. That was until one day, like a student being called into the principal’s office, he was summoned by representatives of Gonzaga. They told him in order to continue attending the games, he had to wear a mask. Stockton refused.
One day, Stockton called Robert Kennedy Jr. and asked to air his views on this and other related matters on Kennedy’s podcast, The Defender. It was episode number twenty-five and appeared on February 22, 2022.
“It was a special place for me and my family to go watch my Zags.” Stockton said. “I felt a special connection to the school, to the kids, and to those students across the way who were so rambunctious, and there were special moments to see them get at the opposing teams. But I link things together, and I think with the links that the mandates with the vaccines that the schools have now adopted, I just think that the health district and the state are just dictating terms of what we do with our own health and our own bodies. To me, I’m just looking across at those students and thinking that this is just not acceptable. I can’t stand there and put a mask and follow the letter of the law when I know that’s not best for those kids and eventually my kids and their grandkids, etcetera. I can’t do it. So I basically reached an impasse with the university that I didn’t feel like I could morally wear a mask to the games because it meant so much. It means so much more when it comes to the autonomy that we should have with our bodies that I couldn’t do it. So, they said ‘we’re suspending your tickets until further notice.’ It was pretty friendly. It doesn’t feel good. I’m sad. I missed the game last night, but it’s relatively small in the overall scheme of things.”
When asked about his thought processes that led to these conclusions, Stockton said, “I have been tracking things for a long time. When I have personal experiences, I try to learn about them. I try to read about them and try to get in touch with experts to see where I’m at. I don’t go about it lightly. I think these vaccines, particularly these ones for COVID, are striking examples of what’s not right about our country and in particular in my state where right now a governor can step in and mandate an experimental drug to anybody who wants to live in the state and live a normal life or otherwise suffer the consequences and to me that doesn’t seem right, and the health district supports it and holds pressure over the schools, such as my university, Gonzaga, or my high school or the schools that my kids attended. I mean, these kids are wearing masks. I see this trickle down where my grandson has to wear a mask to school everyday. He’s absolutely no risk to anybody. We need these kids to come across these bugs so that they can get their own immunity and help us get through it. But that’s not the way things are going. It is distressing that we are giving up our freedoms when the opposite should be true.”
Midway through the podcast, Kennedy asked Stockton, “ What are things like in Washington state right now?”
Stockton replied, “They’re interesting. I’m from Eastern Washington, and I think most people, frankly, think similarly to me. This is something that we should just deal with naturally, that we should have freedom on whether to wear a mask, freedom to run our businesses as we see fit, to go into restaurants or stores and basically live freely as we have our entire lives. And yet we have a governor who comes out with one mandate after another despite evidence that might suggest that we don’t have an emergency that were having and saying that now we have to be boosted plus thirteen extra days to be considered vaccinated to re-attain the privileges that most of us had thought we were getting when we got the first set of vaccines. So Washington has kind of fallen into the line of New York, California, or Oregon, or leading it; who knows? But I think the governor has overstepped his powers and has put a lot of people in bad financial situations and mental situations all for the illusion of safety.”
Kennedy then asked him about the division in Washington between eastern and western residents.
Stockton replied, “I don’t consider myself to be an expert on this, and I don’t know how to divide it myself, but it sure seems that way in terms of voting and in terms of what people’s feelings are. In Seattle and the west side of the state, they seem to be far more in tune with the vaccines and the mask mandates and those measures of things. It seems like in the east, we didn’t have a lot to be afraid of.”
When they discussed 20,000-plus deaths and millions of injuries reported from the COVID-19 shots in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reaction System, Kennedy said, “People in the United States simply do not know that this is happening because of collusion of the press.”
Stockton immediately said, “And they need to know this. That’s really why I don’t wear a mask to the Gonzaga games.” He laughs. “To take it back it to the simplest, little thing is that people need to know these things and need to make an informed choice. Right now, they’re just following the letter of the law. I mean, in the state of Washington, they spent a hundred million dollars advertising for these drugs for the drug companies. They’re doing the advertising for them. It just doesn’t make any sense, and people need to understand that there are real risks to it. It isn’t safe. It isn’t effective. I do the research plus I have the personal experience. I watched my dad take the simple flu shots and go into sepsis three years in a row. It’s something people need to understand if they’re going to decide to move forward with their own decision to take the shot or not take the shot.”