North Brookfield's Fourth of July parade scheduled for Saturday in defiance of Governor Charlie Baker's coronavirus restrictions has been called off.

The Board of Selectmen says it had to cancel the Independence Day celebration that included the parade because publicity generated by the town's Board of Health threatened to attract large crowds that could pose health risks during these times of sheer madness over the virus.

The select board chairman Dale Kiley defended the event in light of recent activities by protesters in cities and towns across the nation.

“The position of the board on this issue is, if Black Lives Matter can protest down the center of Main Street, on a sidewalk, all on top of each other, and congregate on a church common — all on top of each other — then the people of North Brookfield can march separated, down Main Street, onto the town Common," Kiley said in a June 23 meeting, as reported by MassLive.

The Board of Health, concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, issued an urgent plea to Baker to put a halt to the event. The board also went to the traditional and social media to spread the word about the parade. In doing so, the board drew a lot of attention to the event, the only one planned anywhere and that threatened to bring a whole lot of people to North Brookfield on Saturday. The town had been preparing for some 250 locals to attend the celebration.

Kiley says the Board of Health sabotaged the event for town residents and called the board's actions "political" and “hypocritical.”

Add childish to the list and I agree with Kiley entirely. It seems that protesters and patriots play by different rules in Massachusetts.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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