So far, this is the strangest Chinese coronavirus-related story I’ve come across. In Washington State, where I am and from where this new coronavirus outbreak from China began in the U.S., 12 inmates decided to make a break for it from the Yakima County Jail.


Apparently, the escape was precipitated by Gov. Jay Inslee’s statewide “stay-at-home” order he issued late Monday afternoon. The edict is similar to the increased restrictions on public movement and gatherings imposed in New York, California, and other states. This is part of a comprehensive federal-state attempt to control the Chinese coronavirus spread.

Seems the governor’s edict upset this latter-day dirty dozen, described as “low-level offenders,” incarcerated in the Yakima County Jail. Reportedly, they were so upset by the announcement, they had themselves a mass jailbreak.

The cop in me needs to pause here for a moment. “Low-level offenders”? The Yakima Herald reports the escaped inmates’ offenses include a U.S. Marshal’s hold, resisting arrest, unlawful possession of a firearm, assault, attempt to elude police, auto theft, violation of a protection order, and unlawful imprisonment. I guess that’s what passes for “low-level offenses” these days. Anyway…end of my gratuitous digression.

CBS News KIMA in Yakima reported the inmates, housed in Annex C, had broken open an exterior fire door with a table to make their escape. All the escapees still at large are from Eastern Washington. The Yakima Herald released photographs of the six fugitives still on the lam.

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Yakima Police quickly captured five of the inmates, and firefighters snagged another one (there’s a story, right there). The inmates reportedly told authorities they escaped because they were upset with the governor’s order to “stay at home,” and they said they were afraid of catching the coronavirus in jail. I’m thinking their motivations were more due to the latter than the former.

Isn’t this taking an aversion to hunkering in place a bit far? Although, I suppose Gov. Inslee could have been more specific and also issued a stay-in-jail order, but that seems, somehow, on the nose, doesn’t it?

This piece was written by Steve Pomper on March 24, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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