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Anti-Mask Activist Said His Freedom Outweighs Our Health; Widow Begs for Our Money

Some guy from Texas who vocally opposed mask and coronavirus vaccine mandates died of covid last week… and his wife has the gall to put up a GoFundMe page asking us to help pay for her husband’s medical expenses.

Caleb Wallace said the following to City of San Angelo officials at a public meeting on November 13, 2020:

“My health has nothing to do with you. As harsh as that sounds, but our constitutional, fundamental rights protect that. Nothing else.” said Wallace.

“I’m sorry if that comes off as blunt and that I don’t care. I do care. I care more about freedom than I do for your personal health” [Jeff Caldwell and Russell Falcon, “Caleb Wallace, Anti-Mask Organizer and Co-Founder of the San Angelo Freedom Defenders, Dies of Covid-19,” wire via KELO-TV, 2021.08.28].

Wallace was, of course, stunningly wrong: if you live in community, if you come within shouting distance of anyone (and Wallace certainly did that for public meetings and interviews), your health has a great deal to do with the people around you.

But if Wallace’s health had nothing to do with us, then the failure of his health has nothing to do with us, either. Wallace cared more about freedom than anyone else’s personal health. Freedom is about making choices… and choices come with consequences and responsibilities. He chose not to wear a mask. He chose to prioritize political grandstanding over preventing the spread of disease. He got sick, took his worm pills, and died, leaving his wife without a husband and his children without a father.

This may come off as blunt, as saying that I don’t care. I do care. I care more about Wallace’s freedom (and freedom’s inextricably correlate responsibility) than about his and his family’s personal health. I can say and we all should say to his widow, without remorse, go fund yourself.

At least, that’s what we would say if we held Wallace’s beliefs.


  1. Nick Nemec 2021-08-31 10:13

    His wife needs to get vaccinated and get all her kids who are old enough vaccinated too.

  2. Nix 2021-08-31 10:27

    I’ll bet his cattle are vaccinated.

  3. sx123 2021-08-31 10:27

    Not much freedom 6ft underground…

  4. cibvet 2021-08-31 10:40

    It was the previous 4 years that gave permission to unleash all the narcissistic attitudes that were kept in check by a devoted, traditional, accepted, normal society. Now, I fear we have a situation in which people compete with each other in a cruel and selfish way and consider it acceptable behavior.

  5. Dicta 2021-08-31 10:53

    If his wife was also a vocal anti vaxxer, than I agree with Cory. If not, experiencing schadenfreude for a grieving widow’s request is grotesque and you should be ashamed of yourself.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-08-31 11:13

    Not schadenfreude, Dicta; just a call for families to live by their principles and accept the consequences of their actions. If they believe my health doesn’t matter, then they should experience no grief when I say their health should not matter to anyone else. They want rugged individualism? They can have it.

  7. Donald Pay 2021-08-31 11:19

    Another one bites the dust. I’m dancing as I celebrate his death. I just wish it had been a fast death, not one where medical personnel had to risk their lives to save this evil person. At least now there is one less threat to the health of others.

    These anti-vaxxer nutcases remind me of the Mongol hoards invading Crimea who, when attacking Kaffa, reportedly catapulted plague-infected human corpses over the city walls. We have Russian-inspired insurrectionist traitors engaging in biowarfare against the good people of this country. That’s what the nutcases are doing to America right now.

  8. Porter Lansing 2021-08-31 11:23

    Not vaccinating is a bodily penance to show remorse for sin.

    Donald Trump was the sin.

    Subconscious self-flagellation is so sad and misguided.

    Jesus and Joe Biden still love you, MAGA’s.

    Recognize the group as your first step to resolution.


  9. O 2021-08-31 12:00

    That this man was a fool and now suffers (as does his family) the fate, the logical consequence of being a fool leaves out the those who are ensuring the false information and political machoism that put Wallace on this path. For the party of accountability, where is the accountability for what I am willing to bet was inundation of Facebook and other social media pointing him in this destructive direction?

    Different form my conservative friends’ position on the second amendment and guns, I DO blame the weapon – the social media – for moving so much of our nation to become a tribe of misinformed suicide cultists.

    The widow should look to a wrongful death civil suit against all those who fed her and her husband this poison. They are who ought to be putting their money where their mouths are.

  10. Dicta 2021-08-31 12:03

    You keep talking about what her husband did. Believe or not, women are not mere extensions of their husbands. They can have thoughts of their own. I’ll take your reticence to address this question as you having no idea what she thinks.

  11. Neal 2021-08-31 12:17

    Here’s what his wife said on the gofundme page:

    “To those who wished him death, I’m sorry his views and opinions hurt you. I prayed he’d come out of this with a new perspective and more appreciation for life. I can’t say much more than that because I can’t speak for him.”

    Party on, Cory and Don.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-08-31 12:19

    I did not wish anyone death, Neal. You aren’t reading what I’m saying.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-08-31 12:24

    Dicta, I’m seating my statements squarely in the context of statements Caleb Wallace made. He said he did not care about the health of others. Absent other text, that language by itself appears to suggest complete selfishness that excluded care about the health of his wife and children. If I thought like Caleb Wallace, I would tell the widow that I don’t care about her health or well-being.

    If I were someone like Caleb Wallace and I held a coherent view of freedom, I would recognize that all must live with the consequences of their free choices.

    Caleb Wallace made a choice for his family. Far be it from me to abrogate the choice he made and the consequences he imposed on his family.

    To support Mrs. Wallace’s plea for charity, donors have to reject Caleb Wallace’s philosophy and acknowledge that we all have obligations to each other within the community we share.

  14. Dicta 2021-08-31 12:42

    Speaking of community: maybe don’t say a grieving widow should fund herself when you have no clue what she believes. This is ghoulish.

  15. Donald Pay 2021-08-31 13:10

    Neal, again, I direct you to the trolley dilemma. I am willing to sacrifice one anti-vaxxer to save five people from dying because that anti-vaxxer would spread the disease and provide an opportunity for the virus to mutate into an even greater threat to health. You are willing to sacrifice five people and risk that mutated killer virus, so that guy can go on killing. Sorry, you ain’t the moral one here.

  16. mike from iowa 2021-08-31 13:32

    Dicta, just out of curiosity, did you recently morph into Happy Camper?

  17. Dicta 2021-08-31 13:49

    Did he ask people to be decent? If so, yes? Btw: any snide comments you’d like to make? You seem to have a problem with women.

  18. Caroline 2021-08-31 14:07

    As my wise mother once said to me, “You married him, figure it out.”
    It would be interesting to know how many of his “followers “ have become ill or died.

  19. Porter Lansing 2021-08-31 14:08

    O says, “I DO blame the weapon – the social media – for moving so much of our nation to become a tribe of misinformed suicide cultists.”

    Social media is inundated with Russian/Chinese/Korean disinformation agents, attempting to create American chaos.

    Through Cambridge Analytica they’ve profiled and grouped all of us that use Facebook and Twitter etc.

    The two largest groups are those that are susceptible to extremist viewpoints and those that are suspicious of same.

    We know which group anti-inoculation believers are in.

    The same group that was profiled to believe crazy things about Hillary Clinton and the Joe Biden victory.

    The “susceptibles” are flooded with false information, while we “the suspicious” never see a bit of it.

    Facebook has farmed out the policing of this harmful disinformation to a third party and should be more accountable to that which exceeds the boundaries of “free speech”.

    Mark Zuckerberg is putting his billions in profits above his clients best interests.

  20. Mark Anderson 2021-08-31 14:11

    Well Neal, if Caleb had followed the advice of Cory and Don, he would still be alive. How many others followed this fool into oblivion is also a relevant question. How many have you lead astray?

  21. O 2021-08-31 14:23

    Porter, the only thing I would disagree with is your last line: Facebook “users” are NOT the clients, they are the product. Zuckerberg only uses “users” to mine information and sell advertisements. Part of awareness needs to be the role “users” play in the Facebook business model.

    Mother Jones today also covers how Facebook pushes right-wing propaganda by design:

  22. Dicta 2021-08-31 14:27

    You get absolutely no disagreement from me regarding the insane amount of mis/disinformation out there. As far as I am concerned, he took the risk and is now suffering the consequences. But his wife? Being correct doesnt give you carte blanche to treat people however you want and then complain about a lack of community. Can ya maybe be a little less callous TO HER so I can resume smacking down John Dale?

  23. mike from iowa 2021-08-31 14:34

    My Mother was a woman. The greatest, grandest of all. I was married to a woman. I just won’t marry another one. So what is my problem with women from your POV?

  24. O 2021-08-31 14:37

    “Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And hain’t that a big enough majority in any town?”
    ― Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

  25. Dicta 2021-08-31 14:41

    1. You have a tendency to let commentary on physical appearance permeate your critiques of the governor, rather than just sticking to her garbage behavior. There is a word for that: sexism. It’s why I am not suprised you had no problem with Cory bringing the mans wife into it.

    Fwiw: I saw your post about your brothers. I am so, so sorry that happened to them and you. I dont think I am speaking out of turn when i say that we don’t get along. But, despite both of our failings, I think you are a fundamentally good person who says distasteful things from time to time. And damn, you deserved so much better.

  26. O 2021-08-31 14:51

    Neal, has Mr.s Wallace’s wish for a new perspective and appreciation for life (in the context of this on-going COVID pandemic) been answered in you? Reading the flood of stories like this one, do you advocate freedom above vaccinations to others? And if I have wrongly categorized your position, I apologize.

  27. ds 2021-08-31 15:51

    Dear Parent or Guardian,
    We have been informed that four employees and three students in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades at Rapid Valley have been diagnosed with COVID-19. We are alerting parents to be watchful for children with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 illness during the next 14 days. If your child is identified as being a close contact to the COVID-19 case, a SD-DOH official will contact you.

    The Republican Governor of Mississippi believes “When you believe that living on this earth is but a blip on the screen, then you don’t have to be so scared of things”. So why do the anti-mask, anti-vaccine, Covid conspiracy believers panic and call 911 then go into intensive care and beg to be vaccinated?

    Unvaccinated by choice, and then they run to the ER and over burden the health care system, and as a result, financially burden everyone. “My body, My choice” but will take horse dewormer instead of vaccination because someone on the Fox channel told them to. Those people should not be given any priority at the hospital.
    Unvaccinated by choice, Medicare, Medicaid should not pay the their hospital Bill for emergency COVID-19 treatment.

  28. Arlo Blundt 2021-08-31 16:29

    Well…got my third Moderna shot, a Booster today….no problem,,,feel free…I recommend it.

  29. Mark Anderson 2021-08-31 16:46

    You know Arlo, my doctor told me I should wait 8 months. I was set up to do a sixth month thing, but now I’m waiting.

  30. grudznick 2021-08-31 17:59

    Good for you, Mr. Blundt.

  31. mike from iowa 2021-08-31 18:28

    Dicta, we haven’t been together long enough to not get along. You’re free to critique me all you want. You think I am sexist? Your privilege and I will wear that badge with honor, seeing it came from you.

    Now it is my turn. I think you take yourself too seriously at times and need to lighten up. I feel better.

  32. Dicta 2021-08-31 18:32

    If the assertion is that being offended by people speaking ill of a widow because of what her husband (not her!) said and believed is taking myself too seriously, consider me rocking that one like scarlet letter.

  33. Arlo Blundt 2021-08-31 19:15

    Thank you Mr. G…Please tell your Conservatives with a Conscience, in between slurps of gravy, that there is nothing to fear….not even a sore arm.

  34. mike from iowa 2021-08-31 19:23

    Father of three and the little lady 8 months preggers couldn’t/wouldn’t take care of himself for the kid’s sake. Kids had vacs and mother was going to after birth. She wore a mask, even though he thought they harmed kids.

  35. grudznick 2021-08-31 19:37

    I shall, Mr. Blundt, and will soon be getting a third poking with the covid juices as well. I will risk a sore biscuit arm to keep my utensil arm alive and shoveling breakfast. Plus, of course, grudznick loves his fellow humans for the most part, and does not want to cause any poor fellow to go sick and prostrated.

  36. John 2021-08-31 21:02
  37. DaveFN 2021-08-31 21:38

    Such a close group this must be to argue with one another so well.

    I know a PhD chemist who takes antibiotics for aquarium fish when he comes down with a viral cold. Nothing like an antibacterial medication for an antiviral disease which latter has no effect on the former and as as fish medication has no quality control when it comes to human consumption (his emphasis is analytical chemistry and he is saddly lacking in the biochemical department).

    Analogous to taking ivermectin, a horse dewormer of parasites for COVID which is not caused by a parasite but a virus.

    While there is a trace of biochemical basis for ivermectin for COVID as a treatment for COVID which has led to several clinical trials for iveremectin/COVID treatment, none of them whatsoever commend ivermectin as a COVID treatment or preventative. So much for wishful thinking.

  38. Guy 2021-08-31 22:14

    DaveFN, I agree! Cory has a great blog and forum of real people that actually have real conversations about a wide-range of issues with each other. Unlike another blog I’ve read where a bunch of “anonymous” people respond to one another. (Ex: “Anonymous” replies to “Anonymous” replies to “Anonymous” replies to “Anonymous”) It always leaves me wondering if these are actually separate individuals or really just the same person that’s having an argument with themselves over and over again on that blog? Dakota Free Press is where serious issues are well researched and written by Cory as well as debated on by real and seperate individuals who read beyond the lines of press releases posted verbatim. If I wanted to read press releases, I would visit each political party’s website. I am an Independent voter and reading press releases are a waist of my valuable time.

  39. O 2021-09-01 15:10

    DaveFN, therein lies the rub. Somehow these folks are not completely anti-science, or anti-trust media or anti-trust political leaders, they are selective. Some “science,” and media, and politics IS getting through to them. Somehow those saying take horse worm pills and fish medicine is compelling to them. In an odd way this even goes against COVID denial because they are looking to stay safe — just not through any of the avenues/means/sources that we on this blog (with a couple of exceptions) accept as trustworthy (but not infallible).

    Again I come back to social media and its deliberate misinforming of so much of the American public. Facebook et al ought to be treated as publishers and held accountable for information it amplifies.

  40. Dicta 2021-09-01 16:05

    Speaking of ghoulish behavior: has anyone dipped their toe into the raging waters of the DWC lately? Man, the people carrying water for the AG are getting sickening in their tactics. It’s so, so gross.

  41. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-09-01 16:19

    (Dicta, my soul suffers from enough flaws; I don’t need to further endanger my intellectual and emotional health by dipping into the SDGOP spin blog. I almost never go deeper than the headlines and even more rarely bother with the mostly anonymous and valueless comments.)

  42. Dicta 2021-09-01 16:21

    It’s horrific. We care so little for each other. Party outweighs everything. I am so sick of it.

  43. mike from iowa 2021-09-01 16:24

    From NYT….. WASHINGTON — Of the flood of misinformation, conspiracy theories and falsehoods seeding the internet on the coronavirus, one common thread stands out: President Trump.

    That is the conclusion of researchers at Cornell University who analyzed 38 million articles about the pandemic in English-language media around the world. Mentions of Mr. Trump made up nearly 38 percent of the overall “misinformation conversation,” making the president the largest driver of the “infodemic” — falsehoods involving the pandemic.

    The study, to be released Thursday, is the first comprehensive examination of coronavirus misinformation in traditional and online media.

  44. Porter Lansing 2021-09-01 16:59

    Exactly right. In the film “The Social Dilemma” that point is brought out well.

    Facebook users are without a doubt the product.

    I quit all social media and blogs after watching the film and am about ready to quit, again.

    I also quit Google and haven’t missed it a bit.

    Lots fewer solicitations, I haven’t requested.

  45. mike from iowa 2021-09-02 08:40

    The truth will out… From Carl Newman’s Twitter feed:

    Texas: where a virus has reproductive rights and a woman does not

  46. PPNS 2021-09-02 18:14

    Cory – to your statement, ‘go fund yourself’

    We will all be funding the Wallace family because the children will receive social security survivor benefits because of their father’s death. We’ll be funding the family for the next 18 years because the benefit continues until a child turns 18 and one of those children is not yet born.

    The unwillingness of individuals to take needed public health measures will be affecting all of us financially not just in the near future, but as we age as laid out in the article – “Social Security trust funds now projected to run out of money sooner than expected due to Covid”

    The longer the pandemic continues, or continues to cycle, because of individuals’ unwillingness to be vaccinated and engage in other public health measures, the greater the long-lasting financial impact to all of us. (Not to mention the ongoing health and emotional toll of not getting the pandemic under control).

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