Let's Talk About Rumors of Lock-Downs and Martial Law
I haven't had the chance to watch a lot of news or be on social media much this week so I'm unsure of the specific post(s)/ commentaries, which have caused some people to believe there will be a nationwide or statewide lock-down and the enactment of martial law.
And while I'm not one who generally takes the bait on Facebook rumors or conspiracies, because I feel these are unprecedented uncertain times and there is a genuine concern from residents, I will address this one with honesty and the information I have available to me in hopes of easing some minds while fully understanding those who like to stoke fear and anxiety will likely continue to do so.
From what I've gathered, the rumor may have gotten fueled locally because some National Guardsmen and women were spotted having dinner at a nearby Missouri fast-food restaurant while at the same time, certain cities - primarily on the west and east coasts - had enacted curfew's and mandated business closures. In doing so, their local or state officials have used terms like "locked down," so I can understand the confusion to a degree.
So, here's what I know about it. While on a conference call earlier today, the Director of Military Operations for the Kansas National Guard confirmed there were no such discussions at the state level in the Kansas Government. He did say, approximately 20 guardsmen and women have been activated to assist with administrative and logistical operations in Topeka and are available to help deliver needed supplies and commodities to local communities. He went on to say the Guard stands ready to help our communities should we need assistance during a severe weather emergency, as storm season is now upon us.
Major General Lee Tafanelli, Adjutant General of the Kansas National Guard, was quoted in the Topeka Capital-Journal today regarding speculation about establishment of martial law, adoption of heavy-handed quarantines or imposition of other draconian measures and said they were beyond the "realm of possibility."
In addition, while speaking with a U.S. Senator's aide earlier today about supplies for local emergency responders and medical providers, I asked him if he had heard any chatter related to a national lock-down or shutdown. He said he had not and that he had been in recent conversations with several federal law enforcement agencies including Homeland Security and nobody on a national level is talking about that.
Going even further, President Trump's National Security Council has addressed the issue this week stating, "Rumors of a national quarantine are fake. There is no national lock-down."
I think some people may hear the term lock-down and apply a meaning of being locked up in their houses (presumably or they will be arrested). That's not the case and nobody of any authority I have spoken to in the course of weeks is talking about that. What is being talked about is encouraging people to dramatically reduce their interactions with others. This is being encouraged out of the unanimous opinion of the nation's top health experts, who believe if we dramatically reduce interacting with one another - even for just two weeks - we will also dramatically reduce the spread of COVID-19. This will allow additional time to develop medication, complete a backlog of tests, further develop additional tests, disseminate needed protective equipment to responders and medical providers and help alleviate some of the sudden influx of patients being cared for in our hospitals.
I hope this information will help ease some of your anxiety. I assure you, I, along with all the professionals I've been working with, want nothing other than our community to be healthy and safe.
Remember, we are in this together!
Sheriff David Groves