‘Freedom and liberty to work’ rally is canceled; or is it?

After backlash, Black Dog CEO pulls plug on Five Corners event; but another organizer emerges.

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CEO of the Black Dog Robbie Douglas spoke to the Times about his decision to back out of the planned “liberty to work” protest at Five Corners.

Updated 12:30 pm

A “freedom and liberty to work” rally at Five Corners for Wednesday, April 22, from 3 to 5 pm, was canceled by its organizers, which included members of the family that owns the popular Black Dog restaurants, cafes, and shops.

The idea for the rally started as a discussion of the biological and economic issues the Island was facing, Robbie Douglas told The Times Wednesday morning.

“Our idea was to have a gathering or a rally just to ask some questions, which we thought were important to address,” Douglas said.

Douglas stressed there were no demands, only a desire to have an open dialogue about a “smart and safe” reopening of the economy, protecting the vulnerable, and letting the healthy work to support the nation. 

After the rally post went up on Facebook, Douglas said he started to get a significant number of calls about why the rally was happening and decided the best thing to do was to cancel it.

“We received a significant amount of calls questioning why we were doing it and it just seemed like it got out of control. I’m not so sure our original message was read, but if it was going to put more distress into the community — that’s never what we were about.”

Douglas said they were concerned about the potential effect on business, but didn’t anticipate India Rose’s website calling for a boycott of the company.

Douglas said their main concern is to discuss what the community could do to address the long-term effects on the economy. 

“The great unknown to us is the economical, which will lead back to our families and to our communities,” Douglas said. “We see it as an ecosystem that works when we’re all healthy. If we’re not all healthy biologically or economically, what are the consequences?”

Kenny MacDonald, a friend of the Douglases and a Navy Seal veteran who helped organize the rally, said he volunteered at the food pantry and saw many families showing up for assistance. The rally was a way to bring up these issues.

“I’m seeing a struggling community,” MacDonald said. “I’m seeing my neighbors that are struggling, I’m seeing small businesses that might be going under and there’s no jobs to go back to for those workers that don’t have a job currently … Losing a job is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person.”

For now, Douglas said they will pull back and reassess how to have a healthy discussion. He also advocated for his 190 employees whom he furloughed.

“When you look into the eyes of these people who have mortgages, daycare payments, car payments and you say ‘hey, thank you for your 20 years of service, we’ll talk to you in two or three months and we hope to be able to bring you back.’ That’s a painful experience that I personally had to deal with. We wanted to continue to have the discussion so I can bring these individuals back. The employees succeed, the businesses succeed, and then the economy succeeds and the community succeeds.”

Douglas’ brother Jamie Douglas said he is used to being on the frontlines with customers, and it’s important to maintain the summer economy.

“I believe through smart measures we can do that and afford ourselves some type of an economy for the summer, which is so vital and critical to every single person that lives out here,” Jamie Douglas said. “This is a tourist resort Island driven by a seasonal economy 90 percent. It’s essential that there’s a semblance of that that remains.”

While the Douglas brothers and MacDonald stepped away from the rally, they want to continue a dialogue and discuss reopening the Island economy in conjunction with healthcare professionals.

“This is not political for us. This is about economic survival,” Robbie Douglas said.

MacDonald’s Facebook page includes posts about the tyrannical approach of the U.S.  “America, you’ve been robbed of your money, your liberty and your dignity,” he wrote on April 13. “Your governments have declared you unable to make responsible decisions. This should insult any freedom loving person. But instead of revolting, we applaud and defend our oppressors.”

On that same post, Robbie Douglas commented with a link to one of the highly publicized and politically charged protests in Michigan.

After Douglas told The Times Wednesday’s rally was off, Ben Ferry wrote on the Islanders Talk Facebook page that it is still on. “This has never been about Black Dog nor will it be in the future,” he wrote. “This is about the crippling effect this shutdown has had on working class families in our community.”

Ferry’s post ignited a raging debate on the Facebook page between those who want a return to some normalcy and those who say it’s too soon.

When the Douglas family was still involved, the initial call for a rally was kicked off in an April 19 Facebook post by Jamie Douglas who called for people to “get back to work and restore our freedom” and to “save M.V. economy.”

The post says everyone will practice social distancing, and calls for a “smart and safe reopening of the economy” and that “the cure can’t be worse than the disease.”

Douglas’ brother Robbie Douglas was also tagged in the post.

There was almost immediate backlash to the proposed rally, which follows highly publicized events in Michigan, Ohio, and a more modest one at the Bourne Rotary on Cape Cod.

India Rose, a business consultant from Vineyard Haven, created boycottblackdog.com, a website encouraging people to stop patronizing the company.

“The CEO of The Black Dog company is planning a ‘liberation’ type of protest at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday April 22, 2020. In protest of current safety and stay-at-home orders. This is an act of selfish greed and the Island of Martha’s Vineyard does not want this nonsense here. We encourage everyone to boycott all of their restaurants and shops and support other Island businesses that are REAL small businesses that care about this community,” the website reads.

In a phone conversation with The Times, Rose said her call for a boycott was in counter protest to the Five Corners gathering.

“I think what they’re doing is dangerous and counter productive,” Rose said, adding that she and her family have made sacrifices like everyone else. “It’s not good for anybody, it’s not good for our community. All of us are making sacrifices. My parents live in Vineyard Haven and we don’t go to their house. We’re all doing our part to keep each other safe.”

She said it followed a similar trend across the country of groups holding rallies and gatherings demanding the reopening of the economy.

“Hopefully they [will] just really reconsider the reasoning and what they’re doing,” she said.

Updated to include an interview with the Douglas brothers and their friend on Wednesday. -ed. 

116 COMMENTS

  1. I knew of the Douglas family but not about them. This event sheds more light about them. Family and friends visiting me always wanted a BD t-shirt or to grab a bite at one of their places. I can guarantee I will never be allowing that to happen going forward.

  2. Damage done guys. You may still make some dollars off of people who don’t know any better but islanders have just seen your true colors for sure. #FTBD

  3. “I knew of them but not about them.”
    What does this mean? Maybe you should tighten up your opening line before you jump on a band wagon and sound ignorant. Think for yourself or at the very least go into the other local paper postings and read the comments there…..most people are FOR starting the local economy up again. Hmmmm even a registered nurse. Typical island antics….follow the crowd without thinking. It happens all the time. Someone even jumped the gun and created a ridiculous “boycott the black dog forum”. Are you kidding me? Guess she was just waiting for the opportunity to sick ‘em. The title of the Ralley doesn’t sound too bad -I value my liberties and freedoms. Do you not? How did that translate to a family being selfish? Ignorance. That’s how. Judgement without thinking. How does that headline translate to someone’s greed? They weren’t the only ones you know. There was a greater group of people with the same thinking. So India Rose….you going to start a website to boycott all of them as well?? Good going girl. Hope you sleep well tonight!

    • I think it was an epic mistake on the part of the Black Dog. It serves no purpose to rally in favor of ignoring the advice of medical professionals that we have all had to endure over the last month. Everyone wants to get back to work, but if we break the protocols before this is all over and it causes even one more death it would be a tragedy.

    • Hmmm… Maybe you should tighten up your assertions before you present them as facts? Sure, “most people are in favor of starting the economy”. Most people love puppydogs, motherhood and apple pie, too. But actual (not anecdotal) polls reveal that most people do not want to “restart” the economy until it’s safe to do so. They sound like a smart crowd to follow, don’t they?
      You imply, and with a person’s name that that certain person has an axe to grind and is ignorant.
      Name-calling may be a good way to vent your feelings, but it is not a logical way to defend a point.
      One further point….Perhaps the next time you post, you will do so using your name, instead of hiding behind an anonymous “handle”. Thank you.

      • Thomas,

        I am in agreement with most of your reply even though, to me, you sounded angry.
        I do not know “island person” and am not referring to that person’s words.

        “Perhaps the next time you post, you will do so using your name, instead of hiding
        behind an anonymous ‘handle’. Thank you.”

        Possibly, the person you are responding to is not hiding at all.

        As Barrack Obama (one I did not agree with, nor voted for…but stood behind)
        said, “When we make assumptions, we contribute to the complexity rather than
        the simplicity of a problem, making it more difficult to solve.” I agree.

        I, for one, am not hiding behind my moniker. I’m hoping you are not of the thought
        that you are “holier than thou” for displaying your name. That would be extremely telling.

        I am not a registered Democrat and would never give my name in this forum. I refuse
        to lose new business. My many regulars (two 40-year customers/families included) treat me well. They all know how I vote; knew that from the beginning, but once in a while I can use new business.

        Oh how times have changed. I would never reveal how I vote to a new customer, now.
        Not here, not now…..with all the hate HERE towards one who votes differently. Why would I?

        :-^

    • How presumptuous to think you speak for all of us. Please show me the data on “most” people, whatever that is supposed to mean. Maybe you should tighten up your word salad and spelling before you “jump on a band wagon and sound ignorant.”?

    • Anyone with a second grade education could understand that persons opening line. I’m not pro freedom rally or pro boycott. The Black Dog has amazing staff people that don’t deserve to be further hurt right now. I believe everyone has a right to their opinions and beliefs. But the actions you take have consequences. Maybe you should read some of the nasty comments Jamie’s been leaving on articles and facebook posts. You reap what you sow boys!

    • This comment wins the award for most bizarre. Is that some kind of vague threat? What opinion are you actually trying to present?

      • island– who are you addressing the “most bizarre” comment to ?
        It looks like it is directed to Hanley– but his comment is spot on.

  4. I 100% support freedom of speech and freedom to assemble to peacefully protest. But they obviously did not think this through. We’re a community in crisis and they decide to engage in a political stunt. Of course there was backlash.

  5. Everyone has a tipping point of deaths versus the economy.
    A crashed economy causes death.
    The closer you are to death/broke the closer you are to your tipping point.

      • That is the very nature of free market capitalism.
        It must leavened with copious quantities Socialism to maximize the quality of human life.

  6. Jamie is fully entitled to his opinions and should not be vilified. I think this hysteria will be judged by history the same way we now view the hysteria behind the American Japanese Internment in 1942. There will be many COVID strains coming and we can not shut down the world everytime a virus arrives. Protect the frail and let the healthy work.

    • This shutdown is about letting medical professionals find treatments or cures while keeping deaths as low as possible. It’s a decision about life over money.

    • If it were obvious who’s healthy and who isn’t, that might make sense. If only “the frail” got sick and died of COVID-19, that might make sense. But neither “if” is true. If you want to consult history for guidance, pay close attention to the flu pandemic of 1918–19.

      • Some facts:
        USS T. Roosevelt had 660 positive tests / 1 death
        French Vessel C. de Gaulle had 1,081 positive tests / 0 deaths

        Implication?
        Mortality Rate for healthy people probably less than 50 years old is 0.057% about 1 in 2000. Many points can be debated about public policy, and whether 1 sailor out of the 1,741 had a pre-existing condition.

        Happily, the mortality rate is not nearly as high as advertised for the healthy. The world-class pickle is how would we release this cohort (who would establish the needed herd immunity with very little use of hospital infrastructure) while we have many very vulnerable in the community who don’t share the low mortality rate?

        • ok – so almost every single one of hundreds failed to get sick, fine. However, if we did the same, what about when the young and healthy go home to their families, moms/dads etc … It is not just about the person contracting the virus, but who they may spread it to. I think this has been covered many times, but seems to get lost in the mix.

    • “Jamie is fully entitled to his opinions and should not be vilified” – this is America. Those voicing dissent against his “freedom rally” have just as much right to their opinions as he does. And just as much right to spend their dollars elsewhere now that those of us not fully “in the know” previously have seen this family’s true colors.

  7. AS I have written before, I spent last weekend calling around the country to my sources to see who was doing what and where. In most small areas of the country, population density, people are working and have continued to work. I know this as my sources are believable and I know the areas I polled. Government entities and call for cessation of work, but they are getting their paychecks and the workers are not. How can one ask people to go broke and lose everything when one is getting a tax supported paycheck on a regular basis? Government assistance payments have not stopped, either, and the taxes that support such payments are not going to be paid….at some point, we have to face facts. We cannot expect people to lose everything while others do not. How will the paychecks of government workers and government beneficiaries (tax dollars) be paid? If everyone goes broke there will be no paid taxes. What is so difficult about this to understand?

    • Have you paid ANY attention to the gargantuan federal relief efforts? At every step of the way, they’ve been supported by Democrats and blocked by Republicans. Worse, the assistance intended for small businesses has run out because big corporations were draining the fund. And big corporations get a $500 billion bailout slush fund with minimal oversight. It’s not hard to understand at all, but you don’t seem to get it. It’s not “the government” that doesn’t give a damn about working people; it’s the Trump administration and the GOP.

      • Susanna, seems you are not responding to the above comment at all?? I believe the point of the original comment is that government revenue (which is funding these government relief packages, extended unemployment benefits, etc.) would not exist without labor. With no economy there are no tax dollars. That’s not a partisan issue, it’s simple math. This is no time to be blaming republicans. Focus on what we can do on a local level. Protecting our most vulnerable while safely getting our economy going again.

        • island gardener, I read the Sturgis comment and could not figure how it related to my comment. Either I did not explain myself very well or the person commenting does not understand the comment. It takes money and when it is gone, it is gone. Where do people think the money comes from? That it drifts down on wings of wind from a great benefactor? People, capital and labor make the money that pays taxes, no more, no less. It seems pretty simple to me.

  8. The Douglases are not concerned about our freedom. They’re worried about their profits, as usual. Let’s not join the ranks of those who gathered on the Cape, huddled together with no masks, all while standing under a sign pointing them towards the cemetery. That was already more stupidity and irony than i can handle in one week.

    There are safer ways to protest.

  9. I guess there is new title The Worlds Fastest Windsurfer can add to his resume, Worlds Fastest Retreat On A Pro-Covid Rally.
    Someone has been eating too much apple fritter batter. What was he thinking?

  10. ““the cure can’t be worse than the disease.”

    This makes no sense. The cure or treatments are what we (some of us) are patiently waiting for the scientific community to come up with. After which we get back back to normal life.

  11. A politically incorrect, tone-deaf, error in judgement – sure. But let’s not trash (or “cancel” as goes the current vernacular) this family and business. The social isolation and economic strain may bring out the worst in us all – we can be more forgiving.

    • Sorry not following this at all – we should “forgive” a wealthy CEO for seeking to put the island and his own employees at risk to fill his pockets?

  12. ” This is an act of selfish greed and the island of Martha’s Vineyard does not want that nonsense here.”
    How does she know what the entire island wants?

  13. It was a valiant thought. Get the people who need it most back to work.
    BUT, how did you not see the typical complaining trust funders on the island not freaking out? They have nothing to do but complain and try to push their opinions and ideas onto you. The people that complain the most are the ones not affected by this virus, at all. they are not hurt financially. They are not in the line at the food pantry. Why in the world would you be concerned about what a toxic hateful Facebook page like islanders talk says?
    Time for these people to shut off the never-ending barrage of panic driving TV and step outside, go for a walk with your kids, or your dog.

  14. Freedom and liberty doesn’t mean endangering lives. Let’s hope the police enforce proper distancing. Aren’t large gatherings illegal now?

  15. I know I won’t be going to Black Dog. This virus is serious, highly contagious, etc. I know various people who have died from this and know many other high risk people who live on the island. I don’t want to be exposed or to have to grieve another loss!! If the people so worried about the economy want to work, then sign a waiver saying you’ll refuse treatment for Covid-19 if you catch it and you will lock down and not infect others! The economy could use a reset anyway, everything is overrated and over inflated.

  16. Who said this was a ‘ us vs. them ‘ show of community organization ??? Embrace your mask , hand sanitizer and better hygiene . Its the new normal,get used to it. Think Singapore. We are all minions, told what to do …who said this was a pro-Trump rally ? I’m a ‘dem’ i guess and i dont watch Fox for sure and certainly not CNN or MSNBC either. I was going to the rally TO PLAY MY PART . Are the towns doing ZOOM meetings with its townspeople ??? No ! But my taxes get a $5 hit every notice n doubles by fall . I can’t even find out if shellfishings closed because ITS TOO TUFF TO UPDATE THE TOWNS WEBSITE . Lets force a conversation ! Are the restaurants just gonna die bcuz we DO WHAT THE TOWN SAYS or do we have a say ??? Maybe they had something to say about this ! Maybe they were going to calm us n tell us they’d be doing protocols over n above whats needed so we could TRY to live a normal life ! Is Singapore done ? No theyre open for business ALBEIT many safety protocols . Does the ferry test temperatures ?? NO ! So we are basically STUCK in limbo because of the towns and ppl in control ofour travel n lives . I wanted to do SOMETHING . SAY SOMETHING . I don’t want my friends in the many restaurants n stores to all go bankrupt. I also dont want more ppl to get sick . Ive been in self quarantine forever n havent seen my family . So its all or nothing ?? No ! Its in middle somewhere so lets find it because the towns arent there . Nobody is . Especially the president !! So WE need to discuss this as a community . Dont go down the Fox/Cnn… us vs them road…Freedom of speech right ?? Social distance, masks, be concious n safe but dont lose your sense of self.

    • If someone close to you has died from this virus then you most likely think that the ‘regulations’ are to lax.

    • Clearly what towns should be concentrating on is making sure that their web sites contain the latest information on shell fishing and Covid deaths.
      In these difficult times they must order their priorities.

  17. The only political stunt this turned into was when you all went after them making assumptions based on your political bias.
    The economy should be reopened and can be done in an orderly safe way but not while the hysteria continues from the media and folks here.
    Why is it that we live in an era where if you do not agree with my side of the argument then you are wrong and I will do everything to destroy you(boycott).
    You are not the moral police.
    What I am.more worried about is this: what makes you think with all the power the govt, mainly the states have over their citizens now that they are willing to relinquish it? Look at CA and NY and some other states and the new policies they are attempting to out in place and tell me I am wrong. That is what we need to worry about and that is why we need to take back our country but in an orderly way.
    WE THE PEOPLE!!

    • The order is very clear.
      The more people you get close the more likely you are to die.
      Taking back your country may take your life.
      Is it worth it?

  18. “Liberty is the soul’s right to breathe and, when it cannot take a long breath, laws are girdled too tight.” — said the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher (and yes, it was in Good Will Hunting); and if ever there was an example of the government girdling its people too tight, this is it. So just so I understand the critics of this rally, the standard you guys are using now is that it’s not just that ending the shutdown is dangerous, but a rally held where people discuss the mere possibility of ending the shutdown is dangerous as well? If you are worried about catching the virus then you don’t have to go the rally, it’s that simple (Not to mention the advertisement for the rally explicitly says they plan on practicing social distress).
    What exactly do people opposed to this rally really want? For us to keep the economy closed indefinitely, without an exit strategy, and nobody is even allowed to discus the possibility of reopening. Is that the standard of Freedom and Liberty now? Keep in mind, the whole reason we imposed this shutdown was to ‘Flatten the Curve,” which as defined by the New York times in a March 26 article means to: “reduce the number of cases that are active at any given time, which in turn gives doctors, hospitals, police, schools and vaccine-manufacturers time to prepare and respond, without becoming overwhelmed.”
    The shutdown was never meant to keep people in their homes for as long as it takes so they won’t get the virus. Thats just not realistic. And when we do reopen, whenever that is, more people will get sick and some may die but by spreading out the rate of infection, which we have effectively already done, the health care system will be able to keep up and treat people. The people who argue against reopening the economy and allowing people to get back to work, or in this case just talking about it, are incredibly dismissive of those people who can’t afford to stay out of work much longer, they need to get back to work to food and goods for their families.
    Those who argue that people who want to lift the shutdown are being greedy or idiotic (both are adjectives used in comments from this article) are minimizing the suffering of millions of people across the country and on this Island right now.
    I think this rally is an entirely appropriate response to what is going on across this whole country, and those who are so quick to call the organizers dangerous and stupid should really take a look at themselves and the broader and more nuanced problem that this country is going through instead of just retreating to their political priors.
    The name of this rally is apropos because it does raise important questions about just what Freedom and Liberty should mean during this unprecedented crisis. We live in a country where Freedom and Liberty are as Henry Ward Beecher once said, as essential as breathing.
    And nowhere in our constitution, which enshrines our right to Freedom and Liberty, does it say these rights will disappear as soon as people get sick from a virus.

    • It’s funny you should use that quote because breathing is also as essential as breathing, and this virus robs many of that ability. There are a bunch of people not wearing masks during a pandemic while in close proximity to one another. Freedom shouldn’t be some trumps-all concept where you just take, take, take and don’t give back or respect that others have the same rights. What about the rights of medical staff and innocent people who are not attending these rallies but who might suffer the consequences of them? Shouldn’t we care about their right not to get sick due to wildly irresponsible behavior? I’m always skeptical of people who speak only of their own freedoms without ever acknowledging social responsibilities.

    • “… WHEN THE FREEDOM THEY WISHED FOR MOST WAS THE FREEDOM FROM RESPONSIBILITY then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.” ~ Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1909

      Governor Cuomo used this apt quote today. It is everyone’s civic duty to be responsible and not to gather for any reason right now.

  19. Here’s how Freedom and Liberty works
    It is a slow day on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in the town of Tisbury, and streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit.
    A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night.
    As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.
    The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer.
    The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op.
    The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her “services” on credit.
    The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner.
    The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything.
    At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill and leaves.
    No one produced anything. No one earned anything…….
    However, the whole town is now out of debt and now looks to the future with a lot more optimism.
    *And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how a Stimulus package works

  20. Thank you public trust

    I have been called a mass murderer for having the same opinion and stating it out loud
    So. Thank you

  21. Can we get a live stream of the event to help identify the idiots and fools on the island? Not all people have yet been identified. Islanders Talk FB group does, however, assist in the identity of many names.

    • We’ve called the police and if there is more than ten they will be shut down. We need to keep the Botcott The Black Dog going from here on out.

      • Lorparish, whatever happened to compassion, empathy, kindness and sense of community. Yes, they screwed up, yes they were wrong but why punish the Black Dog and ask for the continuation of the boycott? Miss Rose removed it from her calling so why do you persist. I for one am a religious person who feels for those that have sinned and just plain ole screwed up like the Black Dog boys. Rob is a nice young man.

  22. I personally think opening up the economy too quickly would result in unnecessary deaths, and unnecessary suffering for lots of people young and old . There are other long term effects of getting this. I for one am one of those grandfathers that some people think are expendable. My grandchildren want to see me there when they graduate from high school, college and get married. Perhaps people who think old people are willing to sacrifice themselves so they can continue to buy black dog t shirts and coffee mugs do not have a loving relationship with their elders. My daughter, and her children do. They are fortunate to have that relationship. If you are young, go look your grandmother in the eye and tell her she has to die so others may buy frivolous things.
    Having said that– this is still America, and there are protest and rallies at 5 corners all the time about all sorts of things. Diversity is a word I often hear , and it is rightly held up as an honorable goal. The diversity of opinion is not limited to the intellectual liberals and their beliefs. It includes the ignorant and under educated. After this is all over, people can choose to spend their money where they want.
    In the meantime, who cares if there is a rally at 5 corners ? They believe their point.
    If you disagree, you can contact your representatives and urge them to do whatever you think they should do. Express your opinion, and let others do the same.

    • Don, look at photos and videos from the protests that have been held elsewhere this week. No social distancing. Very few wearing masks and gloves. Lots of people present. It’s not their message I object to. I don’t agree with what they’re saying but acknowledge their right to say it somewhere. It’s the idea of any unnecessary public gathering right now, especially without precautions. Some Islanders are claiming they’ll do it differently and follow safety protocol. They’re the same people who are downplaying, or flat-out denying, the virus’s danger. I don’t exactly trust them to take every precaution. Innocent people are probably going to get sick because of these protests, and that will set off a domino effect at hospitals. If they really care about everyone getting back to work, they’ll accept that you don’t overcome a virus or its related lockdown by gathering in big groups. I don’t want to see anyone lose another paycheck because some decided to mindlessly kickstart another wave of illness when we were nearing the finish line.

    • Oh and Don, you included the ignorant and the under educated in your generous tolerance, but omitted the deplorables.

  23. It’s too bad that these cries to allow businesses to reopen are being framed in such a partisan way. It’s not only folks on the far right who take issue with how our leaders are handling this pandemic. Few people are talking about the approach Sweden took with covid. Look it up if you are unaware — they allowed businesses to stay open and encouraged citizens to take personal responsibility for protecting vulnerable people. Sweden is not a country of libertarian morons. There is ZERO scientific evidence that shutdowns and social distancing will be effective in the long term. It seems very likely that these measures might actually make us much more vulnerable to future outbreaks — straining our economy to the point of collapse, while we are developing almost no immunity. Now let’s consider the things that are known to weaken immunity: anxiety, stress, loneliness, lack of exercise. Hmm….

      • Lorparish I’m afraid you’re missing my point. Major news sources report that Sweden’s curve is flattening (though daily numbers are sure to fluctuate). Yes, their infection rate will be higher than neighboring countries that are on lockdown right now. Herd immunity requires that a healthy majority of the population gets the virus and develops resistance. According to major news sources and leading epidemiologists, Stockholm is quite close to achieving this. Meanwhile their economy hasn’t tanked and people aren’t living off of government bailouts. That is long-term thinking based on building resilience. What will happen in a few months when it’s deemed “safe” to reopen businesses and there is a surge of new cases? Back to lockdown? As with our obviously flunking healthcare system we have plenty to learn from Sweden’s rational approach.

        • It’s too late to do what Sweden did. If our Federal Government did what they should have done back when they learned about this, then you could have an argument. As it stands now, the government didn’t do enough at the outset so we are left trying to fix it now and it’s going to take time. And testing equipment.

    • Careful, careful island Gardner — that type of common sense and recitation of cold, hard facts can be dangerous these days.

      • Jimmy, you like cold, hard facts? Over 45,000 Americans have died from
        this. Most over the course of a month. And that’s while the country was basically shut down, so just imagine if everything had been open. Plus, there are now some who are estimating that not all COVID deaths have been accounted for in that tally. We shall see.

        So. My question to you and other freedom fighters is simple — what’s your personal number? What’s the number of dead you’d have to hear on the news before you stop trying to write off necessary efforts as hysteria? Not sarcasm. I’ve really been wondering this. 100,000? A million? I’m lost as to what an impressive body count looks like.

  24. It’s hard to guess if stupidity feeds off greed, or if it’s the greed that feeds off stupidity. Even Trump, who contradicts himself, lies, does what he tells other not to do, has guidelines that are still in effect today. Among those guidelines for the health and safety of everyone is that there should not be any gatherings over 10 people. But of course, he praises those who don’t follow his own guidelines and also calls for incitement and anger by using trigger words for the dumb, like “liberate”. During a pandemic, for those who still don’t get it, it’s best to listen to the experts in science and medicine. Don’t congregate. Everyone wants this to end and wants to go back to work. 80% of Americans want to do it safely.

  25. And another thing: Opening up too soon, and for Christ’s sake we’re in our off-season mode, will with out a doubt increase the island virus head count, THEN the word will most certainly get out and that will KILL what summer business we may have or may not have. My doctor told me 10 days ago, there are 14 tested people with the virus but there is well over a hundred who have called in with symptoms and were told to stay home. I believe him.
    The first business that should be opened up on a smaller scale is the construction and trade businesses. Let’s get these houses finished so those summer people can get here. I say to everyone, look at the big picture, look at how small seemingly innocent acts can affect in bigger deadly ways. If our cases spike because of a few antsy unthinking people, we are more screwed this summer than we are already.

  26. Just letting those of you who are commenting that the story has been updated to include new information.

    • And new reasons have been added to never shop Black Dog again. Why don’t the Douglas boys continue to pay their employees, at least partially, or for 6 weeks or so, the way far less wealthy business owners, who actually do care about their employees, are doing? How is it helpful to suggest that anyone expose themselves and others to illness by gathering in groups? Greed and stupidity really are in a serious race for dominance here. And memo to McDonald (who wrote on his FB page: “America you’ve been robbed of your money, your liberty and your dignity”), you’ve been robbed of your brains if you think the way to address business shutdowns is to gather together in groups to protest and spread disease. Also, losing your source of income is devastating. Losing your life or the life of a loved one is worse. Where there’s life, there’s hope.

      • The entire Black Dog operation runs on a razor thin margin.
        For decades they have provided Islanders with the very best for the very least.
        If they can not reopen soon the banks will foreclose and sell off all their properties for yet more McMansions.
        Is that what we want?

        • Hey Ajay, unless you’re the black dog bookkeeper, how do you know what margin they run on?

  27. After reading the update with Robbie’s latest comments, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. He wanted this rally so that people can address solutions and chat about the issues? Then start a Facebook page or a group text. Don’t expose yourselves (and, given the way a virus works, the rest of us) to germs for two unnecessary hours. Don’t even risk it!

    This spin was Kellyanne-level weak.

  28. I read the updates. Who anointed the Black Dog as the island voice of government revolution? The more the Douglas clan explains the deeper the hole they dig. #BoycottBD

    • Until now I had always considered the Black Dog as some sort of leftist island cult purveyor in which cult the status of the member was determine by the antiquity of the date on the T-shirt worn; hence, I spent only limited time in their establishments. But after seeing that the management does appear to have a pair, I expect after the denunciation has passed I’ll become a more regular customer.

      • You must be new here.
        For over 5 decades the Black dog has been the gathering place of Leftists, Democrats, Progressives, Socialists, Communists, Druggies, Filthy Hippies, Unemployed, Ne’er Do Wells not to mention the finest assortment of Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferers on the Island.
        You should drop by, they will do their best to make you feel at home.

    • You must be new here, The Black Dog has been one of the very prominent voices of the Island for over 5 decades.

  29. I support freedom and liberty but would not participate in a rally. I am a fan of Dr. Fauci. When he was appointed by the Feds to study AIDS in the mid-’80s, I was helping the staff at Medicare develop the protocols and regulations for reimbursing hospice care because AIDS patients in the final stages of life were receiving palliative care, not medical care. That is why Medicare home health payments moved from fee-for-service reimbursement to election periods. I am married. My wife is in her 60s. I am in my 70s. Except for entering business establishments, I wear no mask in my car or, certainly, in my home. We cook together, dine together, and sleep together. We are both extremely healthy although I experienced COVID-19-like symptoms, including heart attack-like chest pains, from February 20 – 27. We each have the right to live our lives as we please with one caveat. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.” I do not have the right to expose anyone to my potential infection. And I don’t.

  30. Tisbury law says fine of up to $1000 if violating the gathering law. This is to protect the public health. We all believe in the right to protest, and freedom and liberty, but not when you are risking people’s lives. “3. All public and private gatherings of more than five (5) people occurring outside a household or living unit are prohibited…”

  31. This island is hurting enough.
    We do not need to boycott any island business.
    An island business that employs a lot of island people.
    An island business that through its ubiquitous clothing products, acts as a marketing effort for the island.
    An island business that makes delicious pastries and is part of “the island experience” for throngs of tourists.
    I believe that that this rally and the other rallies across the country are a threat to the general welfare of our citizens?
    That being said, I am very much against boycotts of island businesses.

    • Oaksbluff, I feel the same way when it comes to boycotting The Black Dog. Can’t really bring myself to suggest or support it when doing so could harm innocent employees, many of whom may not even agree with their bosses’ poor judgment. They’re waiting to get back to business just like everyone else, and their hard work is what keeps that place going.

      On the other hand, I have zero sympathy for the Douglas family. If they personally lose money, so be it. Don’t encourage the endangerment of a community that supports your lavish lifestyles. Did they miss the MV Times article where our hospital stated that it would only take nine cases to overwhelm them? We do not have any room for error.

      Ultimately, I hope the long-term needs of TBD staff win out over the desire to punish the owners, however understandable that desire may be in the moment. Very few things make me angry, but these protests have gone straight to the top of the list.

  32. I have been one of the people speaking out against this protest. I feel the Douglas family is tone deaf if they didn’t realize there would be push back on this. And now, they’ve pulled out supposedly but they already fired up others who plan to go ahead with it.
    Everyone wants to get the economy running and people back to work. That is a no brainer. But it is not the time to consider this. Medical professionals and scientists are the people to listen to and they are saying slow slow slow. Everyone – everyone – advising Trump – even his own committee – on this is telling him that there has to be accessible testing in order to do this right and there isn’t enough testing. Here or anywhere. Rally to get enough testing. Rally to get enough ventilators. Rally to get more government aid where they need it – to the people and actual small businesses rather than the big corporations. Did you see that they bought back shares again this time around? It’s not trickling down because the big money is only in it for themselves. The worker bee always gets dregs.
    If this island opens too soon, we are going to be flooded with people here. People who own second homes will come here sooner rather than later. Right now, with everything closed, it’s not very attractive. But if we open back up – well you’re the mayor of shark city as Brody would say. Schools are out for the year. That means everyone is free to come here. There are no travel bans. There is no stopping them. And three things will happen. They will bring more virus with them undoubtedly. Our numbers will continue to go up. It’s going to anyway. And our hospital, which already doesn’t have the capability to handle this will be overrun with patients and our front line team of healthcare workers and EMS will be working even longer and harder than they are now. I realize that this is terrible for many. I am not playing unemployment down at all. But did any of the Douglas’ 100+ workers apply for unemployment? We are in this together and we can all help each other. Look at how people supported the Bunch of Grapes. Like it or not, my safety depends on you and your safety depends on the next guy and their safety on the next guy. Your right to work does not supersede my right to live. The high risk aren’t necessarily feeble. I am high risk but you wouldn’t know it to look at me. My 17 year old daughter is also. And many friends and family. And just because my father is 91 doesn’t mean it’s ok for him to die. He is a veteran. He worked hard all his life. He is not expendable. The economy will rally when this subsides. You can’t bring the dead back. And if the dead ends up being your child or your spouse, I highly doubt you will say well it was worth it because I got to go back to work and made a few hundred dollars. How about instead of blatantly screaming to the world that you don’t care about anyone but yourselves and your income, you find a way to bring people together and help each other survive financially while not killing people?

  33. “So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause.” Padme Amidala (George Lucas), Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
    It’s disappointing to see so many people so eager to surrender their basic human rights to the government in exchange for temporary security.

    • Why? They(Douglas fam) have a right to their opinion, and Ms Rose has a right to hers. No one has to follow the advice of either.

  34. It is astonishing how little some of the self-professed patriots such as the Black Dog owners actually know about the fields of ethics, medicine, and history! Do they approve of lockdown protesters taking their children with them to rallies? Do they approve of people who may be asymptomatic sitting next to health care workers on public transit? In their magical world, people like them never infect people like me who _have_ to be out in the world. Who knows how many essential workers these “patriots” have infected. What is more, the Constitution that they keep referring to is a document containing both rights and LAWS to insure that no individual exercises unrestrained rights resulting in harm to others. I can only guess that they are in actual fact anarchists — folks who believes no American government or state should exist. Finally, the SCIENCE, in which they seem to take no stock, suggests that, without lockdowns at least two million of the people you want to protect will die. These “patriots” may want to read up on the term “externalities,” a term :to describe the possible effects that a seemingly private action may have on people who are not involved in that action or exchange.” They believe their actions are being exercised privately — but the reality is they are being exercised “publicly” because there is no way people obsessed with the fantasy of unrestrained rights can exercise such rights without impacting others.

  35. Exactly. Recent polls suggest that more than 80% of Americans disapprove of these “patriotic” protests.

  36. I called it a political stunt because none of these knuckleheads would have dreamed this up on their own, complete with Trump/Fox News bullet points, without the instigation of the deep pocket corporate interests that are fueling this nutty “slippery slope to relinquishing your liberties” propaganda. This is an extremely contagious deadly global pandemic. The reason our numbers are low on the island is Because of the actions of our state and local officials. Excuse them for making decisions intended to save lives. Oh and I expect to see all those same “freedom and liberty” protesters at the next Pro-Choice rally.

  37. I will vote with my wallet. I am not in favor of supporting any business that is not listed as “critical” while we are trying to survive this pandemic. I have been a loyal and frequent Blackdog patron for over 25 years. Going forward I will have to see how that unfolds over time. This is not about your liberty or freedom it is about being a responsible citizen of the island.

  38. Here’s the thing I’m not seeing or hearing: If stores/restaurants open, then they call back their employees. This effectively cancels the ability of said employee to collect unemployment insurance. Employee thus has choice/no choice — to go back to work or have no money. Screw the safety of that employee or her/his family. That’s really a Hobson’s choice, no? If I think it’s still dangerous out there, and I don’t want to go work with 15 other people plus customers, so as not to infect myself, my elderly parents, my children, my partner, but the place of work reopens, and says “Come back to work,” what do I do then?

    • Sara, this is the best point I’ve seen made today. And what if some places open up but have no customers because no one wants to dine or shop right now? Then they’re out unemployment and, in the case of the restaurant industry, tips. And we all know that their wages are not enough. I fully support the slow and methodical opening of some industries when medical experts say we are ready, but I want everyone else who needs it to continue to receive unemployment.

    • How refreshing. Been a while since we’ve had Godwin’s Law invoked here. Hitler also didn’t like people assembling (except at his rallies).

  39. Oscar Wilde in 1889 opined “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.” Jaws the Revenge – Martha’s Vineyard will imitate Amity Island this year on the 4th of July. Who would’ve thought…

  40. The whole idea is to do what New Zealand is doing very effectively. To stay in lockdown until we deaden the curve and it is less dangerous to reopen businesses carefully. My worry is more about what will happen to the island community when all the summer visitors start arriving from all over the country. So far we have controlled contagion very well. What will happen then?

  41. I don’t buy it, Douglas says “Our idea was to have a gathering or a rally just to ask some questions, which we thought were important to address,” To ask some questions?? Really? This is damage control and nothing more. He got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and Dad probably told him to fix it. The Douglas Family owns one of the largest most recognized companies on the island,he’s saying they wanted to ask some questions and discuss what the community could do? So to accomplish that his plan was to have an outdoor rally? To quote a famous judge,.. “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining”
    If Mr. Douglas was truly intent on asking questions and having a conversation about the opening up of business on the island why not attend a Zoom BOH meeting? Maybe a conversation with selectmen? Because the hard work is getting done on that level, those are the folks who are going to guild the town and island out of this. In the original announcement the phrase “the cure can’t be worse than the disease”
    That’s exactly what the Douglases wanted to get across, follow the money.

  42. Robbie Douglas says “this is not political.” Huh? MacDonald’s posts and your follow up are 100% political. At least be honest about it. You sound like the Governor of Florida.

  43. “Ferry’s post ignited a raging debate on the Facebook page between those who want a return to some normalcy and those who say it’s too soon.”

    “Back-to-Work Phase One” begins Monday.

  44. If stupidity and greed carry the day here, come August it will be safer to shop for food in NYC than on the Vineyard.

  45. There are many fine establishments to spend my hard earned money at on this island. The Black Dog just happens to be one I won’t be spending anymore bucks at. Consumers have choices. I made mine. I hope others think likewise. As for their employees — pick an employer that you have pride in. You’ll have choices as the island bounces back. Good luck to the BD line.

  46. The MV Times should be ashamed to allow this kind of hatred to continue. This has become vile and shows what the paper has become. I don’t understand why you allow this to continue.

  47. There is a whiff of yahooism to this whole episode. That said, freedom of thought, even foolish and distasteful thought, is a keystone value for American society. People can vote with their pocketbooks in terms of whether to patronize the Black Dog after a disastrous PR move.

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