What’s worse, the coronavirus lockdown or Mercury being in retrograde?
Food and Drug Administration
With a few notable exceptions, Texas politicians haven’t covered themselves in glory during the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve minimized the risk, called for the elderly to martyr themselves and issued orders so confusing that their constituents have been left to fill in the blanks.
This list isn’t about them. We’ve talked about them plenty and will continue to do so moving forward. This list is about those regular Texans who’ve gone out of their way to be jerks when literally everyone in the entire state is suffering.
Here’s to you, assholes.
Carrollton’s Lorraine Maradiaga — Maradiaga wasted everyone’s time — and made the national news — with a series of social media posts in which she said she was COVID-19 positive and planned to spread the virus as far as she could.
“I’m here at Walmart about to infest every motherfucker because if I’m going down, all y’all motherfuckers going down,” Maradiaga said in one of the videos.
Carrollton police eventually tracked down Maradiaga and charged her with making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony. She told police that she did not actually have the virus, and Carrollton cops say she’s shown no signs of being infected. Nevertheless, she’ll have to spend 21 days in self-quarantine after being released from custody, according to police.
Fort Worth’s Jeffrey Smith — Smith was sleeping at a Fort Worth laundromat Monday when a woman asked him to leave. He then coughed in her face, told her he had COVID-19 and spat on her. Before running away, he attempted to cough on several more people.
Police caught Smith and took him to a local hospital as a precaution. He’s also been charged with making a terroristic threat.
Woodville’s Michael Lane Brandin — On March 16, just as Texas was really settling into its coronavirus foxhole, Brandin posted on social that he’d tested positive for COVID-19 at the Tyler County Hospital. Right as the hospital could have used as many open phone lines as possible, it was flooded with calls, according to Tyler police, from people worried about Brandin’s false report.
Tyler cops charged Brandin with making a false alarm or report, a class A misdemeanor.
San Antonio’s Christopher Charles Perez — In yet another shining example of the utility of social media during a pandemic, Perez posted on Facebook that he’d paid another person to spread the coronavirus at grocery stores in the San Antonio area. Perez said he did it so fewer people would go to the grocery store.
Perez ended up getting rung up by the feds under a statute that criminalizes false claims or hoaxes related to weapons of mass destruction.
Harlingen’s Armando Garcia — Garcia joined his fellow Texans accused of making a terroristic threat after he was accused of spitting multiple times on a public bench. According to the Rio Grande Valley city’s police department, he told officers he “had contagious diseases and was attempting to infect everyone.”
Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He’s a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
- Stephen Young