The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, March 17 – After weeks of promising his constituents that he’d never order a lockdown in response to the China Virus panic, because, Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough acknowledged, a lockdown order would be a violation of the state and federal Constitutions, Keough panicked in March, 2020, in response to a data-less public health report and issued a lockdown order, an order requiring Houses of Worship to close, and a completely-illegal curfew. Keough’s and then Governor Greg Abbott’s mask orders came soon thereafter.
Keough issued mandates without any authority from the Governor of Texas, pursuant to Section 418.108 of the Texas Government Code. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, however, declared on November 3, 2020, “County judges and mayors do not have independent authority to issue emergency orders carrying the force and effect of law, as this is not one of the powers granted to such local officials under section 418.108.” In other words, Keough’s “mandates” actually carried no force of law and, even worse, violated Texas law.
Keough’s actions directly torched the Montgomery County economy, resulted in more suicides than deaths from COVID-19, led to a spike in domestic violence, destroyed many local businesses which have never reopened, and directly led to a twenty-five percent (25%) unemployment rate. One constituent wrote to Keough on March 27 that he acted as a “coward.” Unfortunately, Keough was in a position, at that moment, to harm tens of thousands of people, if not many others.
By April, 2020, Montgomery County’s unemployment rate exceeded twenty-five percent (25%), according to Montgomery County Budget Director Amanda Carter. By July 25, 2020, the unemployment rate was still at an extraordinarily high 12.25%, according to Carter.
On the morning of Friday, March 27, 2020, Keough read a report, without any supporting data, from the Montgomery County Public Health District, which predicted Montgomery County would have 100,000 cases of the China Virus by April 24 and between 1,000 and 5,000 deaths.
By April 2, 2020, Montgomery County had:
- 101 active China Virus cases;
- 3 deaths from the illness;
- 15 successful recoveries; and
- at least seven (7) suicides from reaction to the government response and the economic downturn created as a resulted.
By today, March 17, 2021, Montgomery County had 47,595 China Virus cases and 256 deaths. The County government refuses to release the number of suicides, which occurred during 2020 in this community.
Keough’s illegal mandates included criminal penalties for violations, although Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson, Precinct 2 Constable Gene DeForest, and District Attorney Brett Ligon recognized that those penalties violated the Constitution, because they didn’t emanate from any law which the Texas Legislature passed.
None of Keough’s mandates even carried the approval of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court. He issued all of them unilaterally in direct contravention of Texas law.
Keough began the mandates on March 13, 2020, with an order requiring that restaurants and other business establishments begin procedures to maintain social distancing. That illegal order resulted in a cascade of other mandates, as Keough’s panic mounted.
By March 18, 2020, Keough shot down in-service dining in local restaurants and destroyed thousands of local jobs and the livelihoods of families. In that same illegal order, Keough shut down bars, clubs, gyms, movie theaters, and amusement businesses. Keough never mandated the closure of car dealerships, the industry where at least one of his family members still works and where Keough spent most of his career before he became a full-time politician.
By March 27, Keough’s orders had shut down most retail businesses in Montgomery County, churches, and all other business operations Keough did not deem were “essential.”
With mounting suicides, family violence, inability to pay family bills, massive fear and suffering among the elderly intoxicated from the fear Keough and other government leaders displayed, rather than showing American courage in facing stiff challenges, Montgomery County citizens have suffered mightily from Keough’s complete disregard for the law and for lives destroyed, families lost, and job-producing businesses obliterated.
One year later, with real data available, a study from the United States Centers for Disease Control concluded, “Daily case and death growth rates before implementation of mask mandates were not statistically different from the reference period.” Please see United States Centers for Disease Control, “Association of State-Issued Mask Mandates and Allowing On-Premises Restaurant Dining With County-Level COVID-19 Case and Death Growth Rates – United States, March 1 – December 31, 2020.”