Last week, Mike S. Adams, a professor of criminology and sociology at UNC-Wilmington, tweeted what appears to be a call for activists to use the Second Amendment against Raleigh police for enforcing Wake County’s stay-at-home order during a #ReopenNC.
Adams did not respond to the INDY’s request to clarify his tweet.
In addition to being a professor at UNC-Wilmington—for which he’s paid $89,132 a year—Adams is an anti-abortion rights activist, the author of the book Letters to a Young Progressive, and a columnist at the right-wing website Townhall.com, where he writes such trenchant pieces as “Three Essential Firearms for Civil Unrest” and “Three More Essential Firearms” and “Three Essential Firearms.”
Last Tuesday, Raleigh police—declaring the protest a “non-essential activity”—arrested a woman at a #ReopenNC rally outside of the state legislature building in downtown Raleigh for violating Wake County’s emergency order, which prohibits gatherings of any kind. Under the state’s less-draconian order, the rally would appear to be permissible so long as the protesters maintained six feet of distance.
The roughly 100 protesters demanded that Governor Cooper allow businesses to reopen, despite the threat epidemiologists say such a move would pose to public health. Cooper appears resistant to a “wholesale” reopening, though he has indicated that some businesses could reopen in phases throughout May, depending on COVID-19 trends and the availability of testing and contact tracing.
This protest was part of a larger resistance that has emerged in some Democratic-led states over the last week, including Michigan, fueled by business interests and conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation. Interestingly, the website reopennc.com was registered in Florida.
Despite having relatively small numbers, the protests have gotten outsize media attention, particularly after President Trump sent a series of tweets encouraging protesters to “LIBERATE” their states on Saturday. Trump’s allies have also signaled their support, including economic adviser Stephen Moore, who compared protesters to Rosa Parks.
#ReopenNC is planning another demonstration this Tuesday—and will apparently bus in protesters for eight cities.
Bob Luddy, a major Republican donor and Raleigh businessman, has emerged as a leading backer of the #ReopenNC effort. Last week, he sent an open letter telling Governor Cooper: “You created this tragedy. … This may be a solution for your medical advisers, but the results are now devastating nearly every facet of our society. You have also effectively denied religious freedom, a God-given and constitutional right. Now you are in the process of stripping all our freedoms, purportedly to protect us from ourselves.”
In a subsequent tweet, Adams encouraged North Carolina business owners to defy Cooper’s order, which is set to expire on April 29, as he believes the governor will not allow them to reopen, and the state GOP is feckless.
This is not the first time Adams has courted controversy. A few years ago, UNCW students petitioned to get Adams fired for “a history of spewing misogynistic, xenophobic, transphobic, homophobic, racist rhetoric.”
In 2015, he tweeted: “I’ll agree to limit my magazines to ten when the government limits Muslim immigration to ten.” In 2016: “When someone kills a cop you know his last words were probably either ‘Allahu Akbar’ or ‘Black Lives Matter.’”
In 2007, Adams filed a lawsuit after UNC-Wilmington denied him a promotion to a full professor, alleging that he’d been rejected because of his religion and his conservative writing. In 2014, a federal jury ruled in his favor, awarding him the promotion and $50,000 in back pay.
Polls show little support for ending stay-at-home orders. By about a two-to-one margin, Americans are more worried that the government will end the shutdown too soon rather than too late. Public health officials, meanwhile, say that lifting the shutdowns too soon could “nullify” all of the measures taken over the last month to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Contact editor in chief Jeffrey C. Billman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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