Caleb Wallace, the San Angelo man who started “The San Angelo Freedom Defenders”, whose stated mission was to “end COVID tyranny”, has died of the deadly disease that he had previously called “a Socialist plot”. Mr. Wallace leaves behind a wife and three young daughters, ages 1 through 5, with another due to be born in September.

This is a tragic, tragic outcome that did not need to happen this way. Caleb Wallace was a victim, not just of Coronavirus. He was a victim of a mindset that mistrusts experts who’ve spent their lives obsessively studying and researching deadly viruses.

I’ve seen Mr. Wallace’s videos where he espouses his views. He wasn’t “stupid”. He wasn’t even ignorant or uneducated. He argued his beliefs articulately and with great fervor. He was able to talk about the vaccine and the virus in great detail…of course, excluding the details that didn’t pass his political litmus test.

As much as Caleb Wallace DIDN’T trust medical and scientific experts he also trusted those who deserve the LEAST trust: politicians and pundits willing to ignore or even impugn science in order to score cheap points with their base.

Does Ron DeSantis really believe masks are a bad idea? Does Greg Abbott really doubt the word of medical experts? Probably not. But they both know they’ve got a lot of people in their core base who want to hear that message.

Caleb Wallace heard that message and spread it as far as he could.

Vladimir Fedotov via UnSplash
Vladimir Fedotov via UnSplash

Unlike Abbott or DeSantis, we know Wallace actually BELIEVED in what he was saying. He had to, or why else would a 30-year-old man be taking an anti-parasitic used to deworm cattle when there was a near-perfectly safe vaccine available for free. Because Caleb was a believer. Unfortunately, he picked the wrong people to put his trust in.

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