In the wake of a Facebook post where he suggested that society should allow people who are weak, elderly, or homeless to succumb to coronavirus, a California politician is on the receiving end of some serious blowback.
In the April 23 post, Antioch planning commissioner chair Ken Turnage II said that coronavirus is like a forest fire that burns “old trees, fallen brush and scrub-shrub sucklings” that drain resources, adding that society will "strengthen" when the pandemic "is all settled."
“We would have significant loss of life, we would lose many elderly, that would reduce burdens in our defunct Social Security System, health care cost (once the wave subsided), make jobs available for others and it would also free up housing in which we are in dire need of,” Turnage wrote in the post that has since been deleted. “We would lose a large portion of the people with immune and other health complications. I know it would be loved ones as well. But that would once again reduce our impact on medical, jobs, and housing.”
According to the East Bay Times, the comment thread on the post filled up with people rebuking Turnage's remarks.
“Except we are not trees, and dead human beings do not fertilize the living,” one person wrote. “This is very callous and sad. Even still, I hope you and yours survive this, just as I hope we all do.”
“This was a favored position of the Nazis,” wrote another. “Getting rid of the ‘useless eaters’ they called it. Before the Nazis went after the Jews and Gypsies and the Polish they decided it would be a good idea to get rid of the useless eaters: the old, demented, disabled, mentally ill, physically ill and institutionalized.”
City Councilwoman Monica Wilson called for Turnage's resignation during a City Council meeting on Tuesday, saying Turnage's comments “undermine the great work our city is doing to protect our citizens,” and that lifting shelter-in-place orders just for the benefit of the economy is “contrary to our shared values.”
Turnage, however, says his comments were misinterpreted and were “not malicious, or racist” and had “nothing to do with money or business.”