Story at a glance

  • Since states began ordering residents to stay at home, some Americans have pushed back against new restrictions.
  • Protestors have gathered in violation of limitations on large public gatherings.
  • A viral Facebook video features the husband of the leader of Reopen North Carolina saying he would resort to violence in protest.

"Do we want to pick up arms? Do we want to kill anybody? Of course not. Nobody wants to take lives," said Adam Smith, a Marine Corps veteran and husband of Reopen NC leader Ashley Smith, in a now-removed Facebook Live video taken while he was driving. “We don’t want to kill anybody. But are we willing to kill people? Are we willing to lay our lives down? We have to say yes.”


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Ashley, who was arrested during a protest in April, reposted the video to the Reopen NC Facebook account, according to local news outlets that took a screenshot of her post. 

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“Could he have said it better? Maybe, but that’s not for anyone to decide how a free person should speak their mind," she wrote on the post, which has since been removed. 

Reopen NC is one of several protests that have formed in response to states’ orders asking residents to stay home and limiting public gatherings. More than 3,800 Facebook users have liked the page and 4,200 people are following its updates. The group’s website calls on residents in North Carolina to join protests demanding that the state fully reopen.  

In March, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) initially issued a stay-at-home order effective until April 29, limiting the size of gatherings to 10 people. On May 22, North Carolina entered phase two of their "Safer At Home" policy, which began earlier that month. Restaurants, swimming pools, personal care businesses and low-risk retail stores are now allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity. 

The next day, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,107 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the state's highest since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. 


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Published on May 26, 2020