For the second straight week, a group of Grand Valley residents urged the commissioners to declare Mesa County a constitutional sanctuary, saying civil war could be the result if this and other counties don’t do so.

Just as they did at the end of the commissioners’ meeting a week ago, a large group of area residents complained Monday to the three-member board that the local, state and national reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic was a violation of their civil liberties, and called on them to enact a resolution declaring the county to be free of state and federal laws.

Many comments included not-so-veiled threats, while others were fraught with debunked allegations.

“We have citizens that are crying out, but eventually they’re going to get tired of crying out ... and it’s going to come to a civil war,” Wendi Wood said.

“Our children are still being forced to wear masks in school, unhealthy,” added Diane Baker. “Our hospitals refuse to provide medical care to those not wearing a mask. Not OK. The cures available for COVID are still being withheld by the government. Definitely not OK.

“The media is still lying to us about the vaccine for a virus that should be labeled as a bio warfare weapon,” she said. “Medical experts are still advertising the benefits of the vaccine, when in fact people are dying after taking it.”

Baker also repeated the falsehood that the county was using taxpayer dollars to fund incentive programs designed to encourage people to get vaccinated. Money for that Mesa County Health Department program is entirely from private donations.

While the commissioners said they were “looking into” the concept of a so-called constitutional county, they defended the Freedom to Choose resolution they passed in March, giving people the right to make their own decisions when it comes to COVID-related restrictions, most of which have already been eased. They also defended moves the health department has taken to combat the deadly coronavirus.

Commissioner Scott McInnis said that while the speakers had a right to their opinions, they don’t speak for everyone in the county.

“I know that some people think that the whole community’s here, so this must be how the whole community feels,” McInnis said. “It’s not. They don’t have the perfect answer, we don’t have the perfect answer and you don’t have the perfect answer.

“I’m not sure why folks are getting the idea that a board of county commissioners all of a sudden can rise above everything else and dictate what’s going to happen,” McInnis said. “It’s just not reality.”

McInnis also said it was unfair for the speakers to imply that their individual rights were paramount to others, such as business owners who may still be requiring mask wearing.

Commissioners Janet Rowland and Cody Davis said they couldn’t simply pass a constitutional county resolution without first talking to all members of the community, spend days, if not weeks, drafting such a document and then hold public hearings on such an idea before voting on it.

Rowland also said the county already is bound by the state and U.S. constitutions, and under the Colorado Constitution, the county is a subdivision of the state and, therefore, bound to obey state and federal laws.

Rowland also said she recently took her mother to the emergency room at St. Mary’s, saying that at no time were masks required, nor was medical care denied.

“Eighty-nine percent of the hospitalizations of COVID since the beginning of the year, and 95% of deaths of COVID since the beginning of the year have been from an unvaccinated person,” Rowland said.

“You have to understand, we’re hearing from both sides. Imagine if it was one of your loved ones who has to now go to Denver, how do you balance that? You have your choice, and choices have consequences.”