Planning Official Fired For Saying We Should Let Pandemic Kill Older And Sick Individuals

by Julie Scagell

Ken Turnage, chairman of the city planning commission of Antioch, said society should adopt a “herd mentality”

A California city planning official has been fired after his remarks that we should let old, sick, homeless, and injured people die in the natural course of things during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ken Turnage II, chairman of the city planning commission of Antioch, a northern California city, said in a Facebook post last month that “the sick, the old, the injured” should be left during the pandemic to meet their “natural course in nature,” The Associated Press reported.

The now-deleted post cited a “herd mentality” is needed as a society, essentially allowing the sick and elderly to take one for the team so the rest of us can get back to business.

“The World has been introduced to a new phrase Herd Immunity which is a good one,” Turnage wrote. “In my opinion we need to adapt a Herd Mentality. A herd gathers it ranks, it allows the sick, the old, the injured to meet its natural course in nature,” adding that “homeless and other people who just defile themselves by either choice or mental issues” should be left to die and “would fix what is a significant burden on our Society and resources that can be used.”

Antioch Mayor Sean Wright, who appointed Turnage in 2017, was quick to admonish Turnage for his comments, calling them “abhorrent,” according to The Mercury News. Turnage has been vocal about ending the shelter-in-place orders, comparing the spread of coronavirus to a forest fire that burns off all the “old trees, fallen brush and scrub-shrub sucklings” that are a strain to its resources.

“In the city of Antioch, the City Council is committed to maintaining public confidence and trust in our city government. As public officials in one of the largest and most diverse cities in Contra Costa County, we are called to serve all residents of Antioch; whether young or old, rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy, housed or unhoused,” Wright said in a statement. He called a special session to have Turnage removed after he refused to step down.

For his part, Turnage seemed confused and outraged that he would be fired for his opinion. NBC News reported that he said in part that if the residents of Antioch lost faith in his ability to perform his job, “that’s their opinion and I can’t help that.” He also added that “targeting me with repercussion for this is a direct violation of my First Amendment rights.”

“It’s not like it used to be,” he continued, “when you could have an opinion, talk about it and then sit down and have a beer together and talk about football.” No sir, no it is not.