Opinion: Atco Dragway Targeted Unfairly by NJ Government
Len Capone is frustrated.
He sees examples across New Jersey and in dozens of other states with thousands of people gathering to celebrate life and live normally. The Super Bowl, the Texas Rangers home opener, street celebrations after Alabama won the national championship, and of course, spring break and the thousands of open bars and restaurants across Florida, Texas, and other states.
Not in New Jersey, of course.
Len is the guy in charge of Atco Dragway, a New Jersey institution in the southern half of the Garden State. Actually, people come from all over the region to enjoy a day of racing with family and friends. And they've been doing it for the past 61 years. This past weekend, the complicit, pro-lockdown superintendent of the New Jersey State Police reared his ugly head again.
Despite the fact that the raceway is 180 acres and has the capacity for 20-30 thousands spectators, the state capped the capacity at 30% of the grandstand. The bleachers held 10,000 so they were limited to 3,000 fans. Even though they were well under that number, the state came in and shut them down with only 1,100 fans.
As Len puts it, it was the state action that caused most of the traffic troubles that day. How history repeats.
I've been critical of Col. Patrick Callahan throughout this lockdown, now entering Day 401 of 15 to stop the spread. I've been critical because unlike many law enforcement leaders across the country, he fails to see that it is his job to refuse to follow unlawful, unethical and immoral orders. That didn't stop him from standing with AG Grewal and Gov. Murphy defending the dragging of a rabbi out of his home for holding a small religious ceremony a few months ago.
It's difficult as an ardent defender of law enforcement to see all of my friends in the NJSP suffer the lack of moral leadership from Callahan. When he's not targeting religious ceremonies, he's going after raceway fans who are outside on a beautiful spring day. He should be the first person out of a job when a new governor takes the helm in January, 2022.
That said, the hypocrisy in NJ is crushing businesses like Atco Dragway. According to Len, they lost $200,000 when the state shut them down. There is simply no excuse for a continued lockdown. There should be ZERO limits on gatherings both indoors and out. The so-called curve flattened the same in lockdown and no lockdown areas.
According to Dr. Marty Makary from Johns Hopkins, herd immunity is here based on more than 200 million Americans having already contracted coronavirus and 55% of us starting off with natural immunity. The problem in NJ is that there are still too many people scared of what is essentially a cold virus and that is allowing politicians to drive reckless and deadly policies. We have nearly irrefutable proof that masks are useless at best and dangerous at worst, yet the masking orders persist even outdoors.
All of this leads to a crushing situation for businesses and families struggling to get back to normal. Remember this, people will go back to normal, and if they are stopped from doing it here, they'll take their business, tax dollars and futures to free states.