MERIDIAN, Idaho – Kleiner Park is an all-American, family-friendly gathering place west of Boise with 60 acres of greenery, trails, ponds, outdoor performance facilities, picnic shelters, and children's swings and slides. Two weeks ago, I enjoyed a visit there with several hundred freedom activists gathered to support GOP Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin's gubernatorial bid. The sun shone brightly. Toddlers romped on the lawn. A sea of unmasked faces roared the Pledge of Allegiance in joyful unison.
But all is not and never will be back to "normal" in America. Never forget that citizens across this country still face tyrannical persecution and prosecution for defying COVID-19 tyranny just two short years ago. At the publicly owned Kleiner Park, I met and embraced mom of four Sara Brady, whom I recognized instantly from the worldwide viral video of her arrest in April 2020.
"What ever happened to your case?" I asked. This un-American nightmare, it turns out, has yet to end.
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On April 21, 2020, Sara and other families had been enjoying fresh air and sunshine (God's natural immunity and mental health boosters) amid a statewide shutdown of schools. She and other moms opposed a city order that playground equipment in a public park be wrapped in what amounted to crime tape. (That apocalyptic scene had been replicated all over this nation, including in my own neighborhood park.) Sara simply questioned aloud the junk science-rationale for punishing healthy children – while cops and park officials violated their own social-distancing rules and mask protocols.
For her crimes of constitutionally protected peaceable assembly, petition for a redress of grievances and lawful dissent, Sara was shackled, placed in a patrol car, booked into Ada County jail and charged with misdemeanor trespassing by a grandstanding Republican state attorney general.
"I'm a mother of four children and married to a (Boise) police officer," Sara told me this week. "Our lives are so busy and chaotic simply trying to manage a household of six, let alone attempting to defend myself against the state of Idaho for literally taking my kids to a play date. It's very daunting. I didn't go back to 'normal' after that day."
Indeed, more than two years later, after dozens of online status hearings, two suspended trial dates, four different attorneys and nearly $30,000 in legal fees, Sara now awaits a May 31 hearing on her motion to dismiss the single criminal misdemeanor charge on constitutional grounds. Sara's attorney, Jeremy Litster, argues in his filing this week that the trespass law is unconstitutionally vague; the arresting officer exercised "unbridled authority" to "arbitrarily persecute dissenters" while others who breached the playground equipment went free; and Sara's "expressive conduct" in the playground area of a public park "was content-based (and viewpoint-based) speech" in a "traditional public forum" that is "protected by the First Amendment."
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Since that revolutionary maternal act in 2020 on behalf of her children and other families, Sara has been an ongoing target of both prosecution and persecution. "I had people track me down, take videos and post them in a hate group (this group still exists, but Facebook won't take it down). I was reported to CPS multiple times. I've had letters and mail come that I've been scared to open. ... Many days, I've wondered if I could keep going. It's affected my mental state. There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not dealing with it to some degree."
But Sara has no regrets about that fateful day in Kleiner Park. In fact, she told me, "I'm hoping that I can blaze a trail and others here in Idaho can use the legal briefs I've paid for to stop the state from doing the same thing to them." (You can contribute to her crowdfund campaign at givesendgo.com/supportsarabrady.) She and her family have paid another high price – doxxing by left-wing vigilantes, threats and harassment, and smears by character assassins in the media who are allergic to sovereignty-defending mothers. Buzzfeed, for example, attacked Sara for challenging her son's school over unlawful vaccine exemption documentation. The school backed down.
The silver lining of this entire ordeal, Sara reflects, is that her viral moment helped "wake up" countless parents who had been sleeping and galvanized her own activism. "It's really appalling how the government came in to 'save' everyone and then made such a huge mess, and now everyone is acting like it never happened – except for those of us that are being so harshly punished for daring to push back. I've learned how corrupt our government is and how fragile our freedoms are. I feel like I've been 'awake' to things going on for several years now, but these last two years have really shown me the evil we have in our country."
Sara's courageous battle is a light in the darkness. "Being an example to your child to stand up against tyranny is one of the most powerful messages you can give," she told me. "Freedom is the most important gift given to us. I would rather be handcuffed and taken away from you than to bow down to the state."