Nevada Newsmakers

News - February 23, 2022 - by Ray Hagar

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University of Nevada, Reno students who staged a protest against the end of the state's mandatory-mask mandate are suffering from the "Stockholm Syndrome," Republican gubernatorial candidate Joey Gilbert said Wednesday on Nevada Newsmakers.

"You know it is called Stockholm Syndrome and we've really seen it," Gilbert told host Sam Shad, when he was asked for his opinion of the protest that took place earlier this month.

Stockholm Syndrome is defined as the emotional response from hostages or victims of abuse when they develop positive feelings toward their abuser or captor and their agendas or demands. Gilbert did the interview last week although the show was released Wednesday.

"These people have been conditioned," Gilbert said of the students. "It is a program, these guys have been programmed to think they need the government to tell them what to do. They've been misinformed, almost brainwashed, for lack of words."

About 50 students marched through campus on Feb. 14, calling on University President Brian Sandoval to reinstate the mask requirement on campus. Sandoval said before the protest that he didn't have the authority to reinstate the mask mandate, according to Reno's News 4 & Fox 11. Gov. Steve Sisolak cited the decline in statewide Covid-19 cases when he lifted the ban.

"I actually feel bad for those kids," Gilbert said about the protestors. "I don't know what is going on up there. I've never seen anything like that in my life. And it should be scary. People should be worried that those are college kids protesting for more regulation of their individual liberty and freedoms. It was scary for me."

Gilbert, a Reno lawyer and former professional boxer, said the protestors were advocating for "less liberty."

"Where would you ever see college students protesting for less liberty?" Gilbert said. "No one is telling them they can't wear the mask. But to demand that the mask mandate be put back into place on a college campus is one of the craziest things I've ever seen."

The president of the Nevada Faculty Alliance said repeal of the mandate was a step backward, according to the RGJ.

The Washoe County Health District, however, currently rates the risk of Covid transmission as high and recommends consistently wearing masks in public. The university also dropped its vaccine screening for fans at Wolf Pack basketball games at Lawlor Events Center.

Gilbert has been critical of mask mandates in schools and in public places during his campaign. He has said Sisolak made his mask mandate based on "political science" and not real science.

"For these people who don't want to be forced to wear a mask or get the vaccine, that's where I stand, you know, medical freedom," he said.

"Know your curriculum," he added. "Parents should be making the decisions on what medical decisions are being made for their children. Parents should be making the decision about what happens at their kid's school."

Gilbert said a strong majority of Nevadans agree with his message but only offered anecdotal evidence.

"Eighty percent of Nevada is in favor of things I am talking about," Gilbert said. "How do I know that? Because I am the only one out there talking to everyday citizens, not $5,000 donors. I'm not hiding in the basement like (GOP front-runner) Joe Lombardo. I am not ditching out on debates. I am there every single day, talking to Nevadans."

Gilbert, confident of his election chances, said a "red wave" will be coming to the Legislature after the November elections and that Democrats will not have veto-proof majorities.

"They (Democrats) are not going to have a veto-proof majority," Gilbert said. "They are not going to have two-thirds (majority).

"I don't care what they say. A red wave is coming, the likes of which they have never seen," Gilbert said.

"And so we are going to have to get down and knuckle up and engage each other," he added. "And I work very well across the aisle, everybody knows that. But I am also a tough negotiator. I am not going to stand for any nonsense. We are going to get things done. Otherwise, there are going to be a lot of vetoes."

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