• Westish Contributor

"I Have the Right to Send My Child to His Death," Says Douglas County Parent Through a Ventilator

By Emily Knapp

Two weeks after the parent protests of Douglas County against the delayed reopening of schools, local parent, William Brian Rochester Johnson III, angrily croaked from his ventilator that he believed he gets to decide when and how his son gets COVID.

“A school district does not get to control my child’s safety,” says Johnson, while struggling to breathe. “I get to decide whether he is safe or not. After all, I know what’s best for him.”

Johnson partook in the protests at the end of June, without a mask, and is now facing a long road to recovery, but he has no regrets. Johnson is an avid anti-masker and an outspoken COVID non-believer.

“I know what you’re thinking, here I am, on a ventilator, so I have to believe in the pandemic, right?” says Johnson. “But you’re wrong. We all know this is basically just the flu.”

Johnson’s son, Gerald, starts 6th grade next week. His father hope he gets to go back full time, so he doesn’t have to deal with him anymore. He also believes that COVID exposure will provide his son the necessary character building to make him a better, stronger man.

“He should not be afraid of this disease,” says Johnson. “I got this Chinese flu and it will only make me stronger. I love my son, and that is why I am putting him at high risk. Otherwise, how will he grow?”

Johnson is one of a number of parents who protested the school district for not opening fully. They were determined to get schools to open full-time, so Douglas County parents could go back to having space from the children they never really wanted in the first place.

Whatever the outcome, Johnson plans to protest the mandatory mask ordinance in schools once Douglas County gives in and requires kids to go back full time.

“Masks are an infringement and create isolation,” wheezes Johnson, who will have permanent lung damage. “I’ve never worn a mask and look at how I turned out! I’m fine!”

Emily Knapp is a poet, humor writer, and comedian living in Denver. Her poetry was recently featured in Writers Resist and Fearsome Critters, and her satire can be found on Funny-ish, Slackjaw, and The Chicago Genius Herald. You can find her in the mountains writing, hiking, running, or skiing. If she's not doing any of that, she is 100% eating tacos.

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