Those of us enraged by the actions of anti-lockdown protesters in Sydney at the weekend should keep in mind their frustrations at 18 months of covid restrictions.
We should have some sympathy for their vaccine misinformation and conspiracies and balance our anger at the breach of public health rules with a fair go.
And we should stop sharing around social media vision of those in the crowd so participants don’t face any kind of consequences at work or in their personal lives.
That’s the view of some commentators and a few now-regretful participants in any case.
Sorry. No can do.
Those who took part in Saturday’s parade for the selfish and foolish deserve whatever repercussions come their way, in my view.
They were told the rally was unauthorised and posed a serious public health risk. They were told it was in breach of the rules five million other people are abiding by, which are inflicting pain on all of us.
And yet, they chose to head out anyway, with some attendees even spitting at reporters, damaging public property, throwing projectiles at police and punching horses.
Barely a mask among the three thousand-odd.
Ironic, really – a face covering would not only have reduced the risk of coronavirus transmission, but it might’ve shielded their faces from social media, which is now being used to track them down and fine them.
We should have no sympathy for those who face infringements, charges, ridicule and embarrassment.
I don’t think there’s a valid point to consider in the haphazard and mixed messages that came from Saturday.
Just look at the placards held and the words hysterically screeched.
Covid-19 is a hoax. The vaccine is deadly. Governments are attempting some kind of nefarious takeover. It’s all a massive conspiracy. Lockdowns don’t work. We live in a police state. Our human rights are being infringed. Restrictions are illegal. Vaccines are dangerous.
And the blood of Christ is an effective inoculation.
There’s a lot to unpack there, but in summary, most of those who descended on the city fall into one of two categories.
In one group you have people who have been asked to stay home, don a face mask and limit their movements for a period of time for the sake of the general population’s health and safety.
They find this sacrifice for the greater good too much to ask. Despite the vast majority of us doing the right thing and paying a price for it, they’re above that.
During the blitz in England in World War II, when Londoners were asked to live in darkness at night so German bombers couldn’t find easy targets, they probably would’ve refused and left their lights on for the sake of freedom.
In the second group are conspiracy theorists who view the covid vaccine as some kind of attempted mind control, the virus itself fake and the requirement to wear a face mask a human rights abuse on par with Rwanda.
Morons, the lot of them.
The stakes are too high for there to be an in between.
When you choose to associate yourself with self-centred whingers and fringe-dwelling extremists, you can’t call yourself scared and unsure.
Honestly, just look at the nonsense in the social media groups where these protests were organised. They’re full of batsh*t crazy stuff, from Jewish plots for global domination to 5G causing autism and the like.
Those who claim to have attended out of concern about the impact of restrictions or a sense of vaccine hesitancy have hitched their horse to one nutty wagon.
They could’ve done what any other reasonable person would.
Look at the science. Talk to your doctor. Seek assistance. Contribute to the battle against covid. Stand shoulder-to-shoulder with neighbours.
And think of someone other than yourself.
Shame on anyone who attended that self-indulgent crazy convention. They’ve made things a lot harder for the rest of us with their superspreader event.
May the images of their gleeful stupidity live on in perpetuity, following them to job interviews and Tinder dates, a permanent reminder of their self-centred stupidity.
Because that’s the thing about freedom.
You’re free to leave your homes while others stay in theirs and free to screech like a hyena in the streets about your civil rights.
But that freedom comes with consequences. Enjoy yours.
Shannon Molloy is a news editor at news.com.au