Tim Boyd is the former mayor of Colorado City, Texas, who lambasted community residents for expecting government officials to fix power outages caused by a severe winter storm. He compared services such as electricity and running water to “handouts” and argued that families who were suffering from the cold were “lazy” for failing to figure out how to stay warm on their own.
In since-deleted Facebook posts, Boyd wrote that the “City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING” and added that “only the strong will survive.” In a second message, Boyd said he was speaking as a private citizen because he had already resigned as the city’s mayor. Boyd appears to have either suspended or deleted his Facebook page in the aftermath as well.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Parts of Texas Could Go Without Electricity or Running Water for a Week Due to a Severe Winter Storm
People across the United States have been feeling the effects of a powerful winter storm that dumped large amounts of snow and ice as it moved across the nation from February 12 through the 16th. As the Weather Channel reported, the storm also brought on record-breaking low temperatures, especially across parts of the south.
Texas was hit especially hard by the storm. As of February 17, an estimated three million homes and businesses remained without power statewide, according to CBS News. At least 29 people, including two in Texas, have died from the winter storm, the New York Times reported. Texas officials have also expressed concern about carbon monoxide poisoning as families struggle to stay warm in below-freezing temperatures, according to the Weather Channel.
Communities also lacked running water due to pipe damage and electric outages at water plants. According to the Texas Tribune, the power outages were expected to continue for as long as a week. The Washington Post reported that in Colorado City, Texas, community members were carrying snow inside their homes in order to flush toilets.
One of the ways residents could ask for help was to post on the “Mitchell County Issues” Facebook page. The page includes questions from residents asking about when water service would be returned, whether government officials planned to open warming stations for those without power as well as encouraging messages about getting through this rough period.
2. Boyd Said Families Had the Choice to ‘Sink or Swim’ & It Was Not the Government’s Responsibility to Help ‘During Trying Times Like This’
Then-mayor Tim Boyd commented on the “Mitchell County Issues” Facebook group during the morning of February 16 to address the concerns community members were expressing. The page administrator has deleted Boyd’s post but screenshots have since been shared online, including by local stations KRBC-TV and KWES-TV. Boyd dismissed the idea that it was the government’s responsibility to assist its residents during the emergency:
No one owes you or your family anything; nor is it the local governments responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink or swim, it’s your choice! The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING! I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn hand out!
Boyd expressed a Darwinian mindset about survival and claimed it was on individuals to keep warm in the cold. He claimed that those who remained cold were being lazy:
If you don’t have electricity you step up and come up with a game plan to keep your family warm and safe. If you have no water you deal with out and think outside of the box to survive and supply water to your family. 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 lazy is direct result of your raising! Only the strong will survive and the week will parish [sic].
Boyd appeared to claim that relying on government services, like electricity and water, is comparable to socialism:
Folks, God Has given us the tools to support ourselves in times like this. This is sadly a product of a socialist government where they feed people to believe that the FEW work and others will become dependent for handouts. Am I sorry that you have been dealing without electricity and water; yes! But I’ll be damned if I’m going to provide for anyone that is capable of doing it themselves! We have lost sight of those in need and those that take advantage of the system and mesh them into one group!! Bottom line, quit crying and looking for a handout! Get off your ass and take care of your own family!
Bottom line – DON’T BE A PART OF A PROBLEM, BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION!
3. Boyd Argued He Was ‘Taken Out of Context’ But Doubled Down On His Insistence That Some People Were Being Lazy & ‘Should Not Be Dealt a Handout’
Boyd posted on the Facebook group again during the afternoon on February 16 to address the reaction from his first post, KTXS-TV reported. He began by appearing to double down on his original statement:
All, I have set back and watched all this escalating and have tried to keep my mouth shut! I won’t deny for one minute what I said in my post this morning.
Boyd claimed he had been taken out of context and said he should have used different wording. But he repeated his assertion that some people were being “lazy” during the winter storm:
Believe me when I say that many of the things I said were taken out of context and some of which were said without putting much thought in to it. I would never want to hurt the elderly or anyone that is in true need of help to be left to fend for themselves. 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. I apologize for the wording and some of the phrases that were used!
Boyd claimed he had already resigned from his job as mayor before posting to the group:
I had already turned in my resignation and had not signed up to run for mayor again on the deadline that was February 12th! I spoke some of this out of the anger that the city and county was catching for situations which were out of their control. Please understand if I had it to do over again I would have just kept my words to myself and if I did say them I would have used better wording and been more descriptive.
Boyd then shared that his family had received angry backlash for his statement and urged people to leave his wife alone:
The anger and harassment you have caused my wife and family is so undeserved….my wife was laid off of her job based off the association people gave to her and the business she worked for. She’s a very good person and was only defending me! But her to have to get fired from her job over things I said out of context is so horrible. I admit, there are things that are said all the time that I don’t agree with; but I would never harass you or your family to the point that they would lose there livelihood such as a form of income.
Boyd’s wife, Casey, previously worked as an administrative assistant and secretary in the local school system, according to her LinkedIn page. She noted on the page that she is open to new job opportunities.
Boyd finished the post by repeating that he was no longer the city’s mayor:
I ask that you each understand I never meant to speak for the city of Colorado City or Mitchell county! I was speaking as a citizen as I am NOT THE MAYOR anymore. I apologize for the wording and ask that you please not harass myself or my family anymore!
Threatening our lives with comments and messages is a horrible thing to have to wonder about. I won’t share any of those messages from those names as I feel they know who they are and hope after they see this they will retract the hateful things they have said! Thank you.
He signed the message, “Tim Boyd(citizen).”
4. Boyd Was Still Listed as the City’s Mayor as of February 17
Boyd claimed he had resigned from his job as Colorado City’s mayor before posting to the “Mitchell County Issues” Facebook group. But it’s unclear exactly when he stepped down. As of February 17, Boyd was still listed as the mayor on the city’s website. A screenshot is embedded above.
It’s unclear whether Boyd had planned to quit his job or if the Facebook controversy brought it on. According to a city council agenda from February 9, Boyd was still performing his mayoral duties at that time.
5. The Page Administrator Removed Boyd’s Posts From the Facebook Group
Boyd did not delete the two posts he wrote on the “Mitchell County Issues” Facebook group. The page administrator, Jody Beavers, announced around 9:15 p.m. on February 16 that he had removed Boyd’s posts because they were no longer relevant to the conversation.
Beavers explained, “I’m going to take down the post of what was said by the mayor, there has been plenty said and it is now a dead horse no use beating anymore. He apologized and resigned. ”
Commenters in the group expressed anger over Boyd’s remarks. One woman wrote Boyd had “brought shame” on the town. Others urged a more forgiving tone, such as this woman who wrote, “the comments we are making are not very Christian are they? The man made a very bad decision to say what he said so let’s not do the same!!!”