Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) today objected to signs appearing on state highways with the words “Don’t be a Knucklehead” posted on them.
The signs reference repeated entreaties Murphy made in his daily COVID-19 briefings, and Pennacchio was unamused.
“I strongly condemn the flippant language the Governor has used in press conferences and on these signs,” said the Republican senator from Morris County. “It is disrespectful to the citizens of New Jersey who have – and will continue to – make hard sacrifices to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.
“The sophomoric language is unbecoming of the Governor, and certainly not fair to the people of New Jersey,” Pennacchio added. “Webster defines a knucklehead as a ‘stupid person.’ Is that what you think of sacrificing New Jersey citizens? Really?”
On Monday, Murphy justified his use of the term, noting that a knucklehead is a “stupid, bumbling and inept person,” which he described as consistent with some of the behavior witnessed and cited.
His alternatives, he said, were “blockhead” and “numbskull.”
“To the legislator who raised that, overwhelmingly people are doing the right thing,” Murphy said.
Phil Murphy says he’s pleased that excluding a few “knuckleheads” most New Jersey residents are staying home or when out, practicing “social distancing.”
Most people are not idiots. They understand the need for reasonable, albeit stringent, restrictions in an emergency.
But what can upset the equilibrium we have now is pushing too far.
We’re not there, but we’re seeing some troubling signs.
In the last few days, officials in Paterson and Bergen County closed the parks to make sure there would be no soccer games or when the weather warms up, large picnics. Some other jurisdictions have done the same.
This can be counterproductive. Sure, large gatherings must be banned, but why close places that offer residents a chance to exercise?
It is indisputable that regular exercise produces healthy individuals, And healthy individuals are more likely to fight off the coronavirus or recover if they get it.
Social distancing is important. But social distancing is pretty easy to practice if you are jogging, walking or bike riding – even if you do it with a friend or two.