In a recent letter, I recounted how our State Senator Dallas Heard (R-Roseburg) openly encouraged a mob of some 300 heavily armed right-wing thugs to invade the State Capitol in Salem during a special session last month. They attacked state troopers with bear spray and smashed glass doors in what turned out to be a preview of the seditious Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C., in which a police officer was murdered.
Unconcerned about similarly endangering the lives of Oregon officers (and his own colleagues), Heard promptly dove even deeper into far-right radicalism. He helped launch a group called Citizens Against Tyranny that encourages local business owners to defy state COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates.
In Heard’s own colorful words, residents who file complaints about non-compliant businesses are “extremists,” “bullies,” “cowards” and “rats.” Two Douglas County women were publicly fingered as “filthy traitors” on Heard’s group’s website – their names splattered with red, signifying blood. (One had reported employees not wearing masks at the Reedsport Safeway, hardly a locally-owned business. The other denied reporting anyone.)
These are Heard’s own taxpaying constituents he’s so viciously attacking – in fact, the November election results indicate there’s a 68.8% chance they voted for him. Now his group has deliberately exposed them to harassment and potential violence. That’s fine with Heard: “Their faces and their names and what they did must be known.”
Heard plans to raffle off his sports car to fund the vigilante group and is demanding that every Douglas County officeholder sign on to their cause. County Sheriff John Hanlin calls that “threatening” and “coercion” and rejects Heard’s fanaticism.
So should we here in Curry. Heard was not elected to endanger private citizens, cops, legislators or seniors who stand for compliance with the law. His behavior disgraces his oath of office.