Memo: January 6 insurrectionists power local anti-vaccine movements

To: Interested parties
From: Crystal Strait, ProtectUS
Re: January 6 insurrectionists power local anti-vaccine movements

As the first anniversary of the shocking January 6 insurrection arrives, it's worth a look at where the extremists who were in DC were before and after January 6

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the California State Legislature has been a witness to the escalation of anti-vaccine and far-right extremists. They assaulted State Senator Dr. Richard Pan on the street; screamed threats in hearing rooms and from the public galleries; and threw blood at legislators conducting the people’s business on the floor of the Senate. These events turned out to be precursors of the violent insurrection of January 6 at the U.S. Capitol, attended by many of the same people who had attacked California legislators.  Since January 6, they have continued to disrupt local government meetings; bully public health officers, school boards and county supervisors; and undermine public safety and democracy.

Many of them have channeled their energies into the anti-vaccine movement, as this story form NBC News reveals:

Among those terrorizing Californians include Denise Aguilar who formed a group called the “Mamalitia” to oppose almost any public health measures to prevent COVID-19 and to train her followers in the use of firearms.  In her own words, she “stormed the capitol” during the insurrection.  Today she targets local and state government, including public health professionals.

Leigh Dundas, an “America’s Frontline Doctors” attorney, parroted anti-vaccine conspiracies and made personal attacks against public health officers and legislators in California in 2019, then went to the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and filmed herself at the insurrection.  Dundas spoke to a crowd saying, “God bless everybody who had the guts to show up here and the guts to storm the Capitol.  In my humble opinion it was what was necessary.” She also declared it would be “well within our right” to shoot or hang “alleged Americans” turncoats who interfered with the election. In California she personally attacked Orange County public health officer Dr. Nicole Quick including disclosing her home address at a Board of Supervisors meeting and inciting her followers to threaten Dr. Quick’s family. Dr. Quick then resigned.

After President Biden was elected in November, Allan Hostetter from San Clemente posted on YouTube, “Some people at the highest levels need to be made an example of with an execution or two or three. Tyrants and traitors need to be executed as an example.” On January 5th, he told a crowd, "We are at war in this country, we are at war tomorrow" and on January 6th he marched on the U.S. Capitol. Returning to California, Hostetter organized attacks on businesses, where extremists purposefully enter stores without masks to provoke confrontation, and protested at vaccination sites, including closing the Dodger Stadium vaccination site on January 2021, school boards and local government.

Here in Sacramento, courageous legislators have stood up to the loud but tiny anti-vaccine minority to protect our kids and keep schools open and safe.  Legislators and experts are available for comment on these stories and the increasingly extreme tactics of the anti-vaccine movement, now fueled by imports from the January 6 insurrection. 

“The anti-vax movement’s baseless claims and intimidation tactics are not what California stands for, and as a state, we must reject them outright,” said Asm. Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland). “Science has been, and must continue to be our North Star. It’s critical that we move forward under the guidance of our public health experts — not a handful of right-wing conspiracy theorists hellbent on holding Californians hostage in this pandemic.”

“Our health, safety and democracy are endangered when extremists organized and amplified by social media employ lies and terrorist tactics to attack government, businesses and the public,” said Dr. Richard Pan. “Twelve score and five years ago, our fathers brought forth a new nation conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal. We must have to courage to stop this domestic threat so our government of the people, by the people, and of the people shall not perish from the earth.”

“This merging of anti-vaccine activism with other fringe, anti-government positions is a threat to everyone's well-being. The mission of Public Health departments and professionals is to keep communities safe and healthy. It is disgusting to see how these dedicated professionals have become the targets of a small, but loud and active group of people who use bullying and other harassment tactics to get governments to bend to their own misguided interests based on anti-science and other fringe beliefs. Such tactics place at risk the personal safety of these professionals and their families, the capacity of public health departments to effectively protect the health and economic well-being of our communities, and, ultimately, each of us who benefit from public health services and efforts. These dangerous activities only make the pandemic drag on longer and create more suffering and death,” said Richard M. Carpiano, PhD, MPH, Professor of Public Policy University of California, Riverside.