Armed protesters threatened an Idaho health official and her child at their home

Oof, America. We have really got to get on the same freaking page here.

Protesting public health guidelines and mandates during a global pandemic is pretty ridiculous to begin with. But when public health officials find themselves getting threats and public servants' children are feeling scared in their own homes, we've gone way, way over the line.

Last night, an Idaho health department meeting to discuss and vote on COVID-19 mask mandates came to an abrupt end due to safety concerns over protesters raging in the parking lot of the health department building as well as at the homes of some of the officials in attendance.

According to Boise police, three of the officials at the meeting had protesters gathered outside of their homes during the meeting. One health board member, Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo, interrupted the meeting after a phone call to inform her colleagues that she needed to leave.


"My 12-year-old son is home by himself right now and there are protesters banging outside the door," Lachiondo said, clearly shaken and in tears. "I'm going to go home and make sure he's OK."

The meeting was shut down after the mayor and chief of police requested they adjourn in the interest of public safety.

"I got a call from the mayor, and it sounds like the police, and she is requesting that we stop the meeting at this time because of the intense level of protesters in the parking lot and concern for police safety and staff safety as well as the protesters that are at some of our board members' homes right now," Central District Health Director Russ Duke said.

Some of the protesters appeared to be part of People's Rights, an activist group created by Ammon Bundy who gained national fame in 2016 for leading the occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon. Others came from an anti-vaccination group, Health Freedom Idaho, according to CBS News.

Lachiondo shared an update on Twitter this morning.

"During last night's Board of Health meeting, armed protestors once again assembled outside my home: yelling, banging, firing air horns, amplifying sound clips from Scarface, accusing me of tyranny and cowering inside," she wrote. "I wasn't actually inside the house: I was calling in from my office at the Ada County Courthouse. But my two young sons and my mother (who was out taking our dog on a short walk) were. And as many of you saw last night, my son called me in tears at the beginning of the meeting."

"I am sad. I am tired. I fear that, in my choosing to hold public office, my family has too-often paid the price. Though I was born and raised in Idaho, I increasingly don't recognize this place," she wrote. "There is an ugliness and cruelty in our national rhetoric that is reaching a fevered pitch here at home, and that should worry us all."

"And, above all," she added, "I am terrified about the virus's current trajectory."

And that right there highlights what makes this whole situation so tragic. This is a public servant whose primary concern is the safety and well-being of the public. Even as she's having to deal with the safety and well-being of her own family, she's focusing on trying to save the people she serves from the impact of an out-of-control pandemic. Idaho is surging, like much of the rest of the country, and regional hospitals have warned that critical care will soon be compromised. Officials like Lachiondo are trying to keep that from happening and are being demonized for it.

When public health officials are being threatened and harassed for doing their jobs, we've entered seriously problematic territory. When children are calling their parents from inside their own home because they don't feel safe, we've lost our way. When measures to help save American lives and well-being—in addition to the economy, since the economy depends on keeping the pandemic under control—are met with armed protests, we've crossed into cuckoo bananapants land.

Enough is enough.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less

President Trump has exited the White House as the first president in 100 years to not have a pet. President Biden is bringing the presidential pets tradition back, but with a special "first" of his own.

Champ and Major, the Bidens' German shepherds have officially moved into the White House, with Major being the first rescue dog to live there. The Bidens adopted the now 3-year-old good boy from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018.

Anyone who's ever moved with a pet knows that transitions can be tenuous. New sights, smells, and sounds, in addition to the change in routine, can be stressful for animals. And when you're a human who is not only moving into a new home, but also starting a new job as the president of the Untied States, you might need a little time to adjust right along with your pets.

That's why the Biden family took some time to fully transition their two dogs into the White House this week. Though the president and first lady moved in on January 20, the first doggos didn't officially move in until five days later, after a gradual introduction to the building and grounds to get them used to their new home.

They sure do look happy to be with their people in The People's House now, though.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less

Two weeks ago, we watched a pro-Trump mob storm the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the results of a U.S. election and keep Donald Trump in power. And among those insurrectionists were well-known adherents of QAnon, nearly every image of the crowd shows people wearing Q gear or carrying Q flags, and some of the more frightening elements we saw tie directly into QAnon beliefs.

Since hints of it first started showing up in social media comments several years ago, I've been intrigued—and endlessly frustrated—by the phenomenon of QAnon. At first, it was just a few fringey whacko conspiracy theorists I could easily roll my eyes at and ignore, but as I started seeing elements of it show up more and more frequently from more and more people, alarm bells started ringing.

Holy crap, there are a lot of people who actually believe this stuff.

Eventually, it got personal. A QAnon adherent on Twitter kept commenting on my tweets, pushing bizarro Q ideas on many of my posts. The account didn't use a real name, but the profile was classic QAnon, complete with the #WWG1WGA. ("Where we go one, we go all"—a QAnon rallying cry.) I thought it might be a bot, so I blocked them. Later, I discovered that it was actually one of my own extended family members.

Holy crap, I actually know people who actually believe this stuff.

Keep Reading Show less

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

Keep Reading Show less