While the state of New York slowly continues on its regional path toward reopening after the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, masses of businesses and individuals are utilizing their First Amendment rights to peaceably gather and call for an outright end to the stringent lockdown measures.
Those who disagree with protesters, however, haven’t always been quite so peaceable.
According to the Monroe County police blotter, an enraged man attacked a woman who had just left the “Restart ROC” rally in Pittsford, New York, kicking her vehicle, screaming at her, and threatening her with a bottle of hand sanitizer:
The victim left a “restart ROC” rally at Pittsford Plaza on 5/16/20 at about 1345 hours. The victim was driving on French Rd when a blue Honda Civic stopped suddenly next to a parked Amazon delivery van so that no traffic could pass on French Rd.
A male, approximately 40 years old, exited the Civic and approached the victim’s car screaming at her. He hit the hood of her vehicle and kicked her vehicle as he continued to scream. The male went back to his car, retrieved a bottle of hand sanitizer and waved it at the victim. A witness heard him say, “you want something to protest, I’ll give you a protest.”
Deputies made contact with the registered owner, Morgan Bida. Morgan admitted to the above incident and said he saw writing on the victim’s car related to reopening New York. Bida turned himself in at A-zone and was issued an appearance ticket for Pittsford Town Court.
As it turned out, the victim happened to be Rochester-based talkshow host Shannon Joy, who recalled the encounter in an interview earlier this week.
“For a few moments, I was afraid for my life,” Joy told PJ Media’s Megan Fox. “I thought he was going to open the passenger side door but I managed to get the doors locked. Then he went back to his car to grab something and I thought it could be a weapon.”
Joy was relieved to find that it was only a large bottle of hand sanitizer, but she knew she had to act: “At that point, I realized I had to get evidence for the police so I was able to get photographs of him and his license plate.”
According to Fox, “Joy has been at the forefront of lockdown protest rallies around town since Governor Cuomo usurped power that belongs to the legislature and started treating upstate like New York City.”
After the attack was announced on social media, various individuals found that the assailant, Morgan Bida, is actually a local college professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The college has yet to release a statement regarding its employee’s antics.
Police said Bida turned himself in. He confessed to harassing Joy and becoming enraged at the sight of slogans she had written on her car for the rally, such as “Phase 4 Now” and “My body my choice! No forced mandates.” Bida was later charged with third-degree menacing.
— Shannon Joy (@ShannonJoyRadio) May 18, 2020
For her part, Joy says she doesn’t blame Bida for his feelings nearly as much as she blames state leadership and the media for creating a “culture of fear.”
“Even though this person did something wrong, to me the larger concern is the culture of fear that is creating an environment where people are so fearful they do crazy things,” Joy said. “This is the fault of those in power who divide us. [Bida] has been so manipulated by fear that he thought it was his duty to do what he did, most likely.”
“Andrew Cuomo is at the top and below him are a myriad of bureaucrats in the health department using fear-driven manipulated data as propaganda to justify this extreme lockdown,” said Joy, who is suing the governor alongside several other business owners over the dubious constitutionality of the lockdown. “The consequence is dividing us and pitting us against each other.”
“My intent is not to destroy this guy,” Joy said, explaining that she harbors no ill feelings toward Bida. “If we could just talk to each other outside of this highly politicized arena, maybe we could build bridges.”
As for the photos she took of him as evidence for the police, they will remain private: “I have no desire to humiliate the individual responsible. He will face a judge and that’s enough.”
Thankfully, the incident didn’t temper Joy’s fire for protesting: “I went the very next week to another one! Bullies don’t scare me.”
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