Last week, state Rep. Colleen Garry of Dracut presented a bill tooled to hit protesters who block roadways with attempted murder charges. The measure, which was filed immediately after allies of the Black Lives Matter movement chained themselves across I-93, would likely result in significant jail time and tens of thousands of dollars in fines for those who commit similar disruptions.
According to her comments to the media, Rep. Garry claims her legislation is “content neutral,” and she recently testified that, even if the protesters over the winter had performed the blockade for her campaign (instead of trying to call attention to the rampant deaths of people of color at the hands of police), she would still believe that they were in the wrong.
In addition to the heat that she has justifiably received on account of her absurd testimony, Garry has drawn ire as a result of an email exchange she had in January (but that only surfaced recently) with someone who identifies as an ally of the Black Lives Matter movement. In response to complaints about the aforementioned bill, Garry labeled the protesters “criminals and terrorists,” and claimed that structural racism is “a fraud.”
On the hunch that where there’s fire, there is probably more fire, I took a look at Garry’s history of sponsoring legislation. In doing so I found that her attempted murder bill is not the only way that she is targeting protesters. In tandem with that proposal, she submitted language aiming to prohibit MassHealth from covering any medical treatment for “self inflicted injuries received by protesters during illegal protests.” Hit by a department scooter while taking the streets against police violence? Garry doesn’t want MassHealth to cover that.
Then there’s the bill that Garry filed to prevent trans or genderqueer folks from accessing activities, facilities, or services based on their gender identity instead of their anatomical sex. From there, the depravity goes on, including a proposal to require voters to present government-issued identification in order to vote. Garry has presumably seen research showing how such voter ID laws disproportionately affect people of color and those with lower incomes. She’s all set though, because you can’t really perpetuate systemic racism if you think it’s a fraud in the first place.