A mayor of a western Texas city resigned from his position on Tuesday after posting disturbing and insensitive remarks on a Facebook group, telling residents they should fend for themselves amid rolling energy blackouts in the area while temperatures were well below freezing.
Tim Boyd, who earlier this week was the mayor of Colorado City, Texas, a city with a population of around 4,000 residents, had posted a response in the group to questions from individuals in his jurisdiction (as well as throughout Mitchell County, Texas) over where they could go to warm up if their power was knocked out, or where they could get drinkable water if their pipes failed to work.
Instead of offering solutions, Boyd expressed outrage over people’s questions on what to do.
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“No one owes you [or] your family anything; nor is it the local government’s responsibility to support you during trying times like this!” Boyd wrote in his now-deleted post in the group. “Sink or swim it’s your choice!”
Boyd added that he was “sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout,” and that, if they were without power, it was up to residents themselves to “come up with a game plan to keep your family warm and safe.”
“If you were sitting at home in the cold because you have no power and are sitting there waiting for someone to come rescue you because your [sic] lazy is direct result of your raising!” Boyd said.
The mayor then suggested that if people were harmed, or even died, as a result of losing power and being exposed to extreme cold temperatures, it was their own fault. “Only the strong will survive and the weak will [perish],” he said, adding that the request for help from the city or county was “a product of socialist government” thinking.
“Bottom line — DON’T [be] A PART OF [the] PROBLEM, BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION!!” he concluded.
Boyd’s comments drew immediate backlash from individuals in the Facebook group, which is not affiliated with city or county governments. Hours later, Boyd said he was resigning from his role as Colorado City’s mayor.
Boyd offered a half-hearted explanation of his post, stating in his resignation announcement that he could have “used better wording” in trying to explain his position. He also said his words “were taken out of context.” He also claimed he had already turned in his resignation papers before making his initial post.
“I was only making the statement that those folks that are too lazy to get up and fend for themselves but are capable should not be dealt a handout,” he added.
Much of the United States is covered in snow as of Wednesday morning, with many areas in the south facing below freezing temperatures and dealing with nontypical energy emergencies. Millions have lost their power due to the winter storm, and at least 21 individuals have died across the country.
Some politicians have wrongly blamed renewable energy sources, like solar power and wind turbines, for Texas’s energy woes. “This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,” Gov. Greg Abbott said earlier this week.
Others have pointed out, however, that the energy crisis in Texas right now is more likely a product of the state’s independent energy grid system and the state’s failure to winterize all its power-generating system. The state grid runs separate from the rest of the U.S. and was established in order to avoid federal regulations of energy usage.
Texas’s energy grid “limped along on underinvestment and neglect until it finally broke under predictable circumstances,” said Ed Hirs, energy fellow at the University of Houston, to the Houston Chronicle.