By Steve Pomper
I wanted to stop writing about matters involving the CCP virus pandemic—I really did. I’ve grown so tired of the politics now saturating the issue I’ve had to turn off the news before my ears bleed. But when I sit down to write, all I can think of is how this crisis is driving some of our politicians insane. And I’m concerned about how some of this insanity is affecting law enforcement officers whom their political leaders expect to enforce some of these obvious restriction overreaches.
One opportune aspect of local and state governments’ responses to this virus is it provides Americans in some states with a window into how it feels to live under a totalitarian government.
It’s allowing voters to see which elected and appointed leaders are taking advantage of the crisis. Many seem to believe this emergency allows them the authority to wield unprecedented power to control people they seem to believe they rule.
We’re seeing some governors, mayors, police chiefs, and sheriffs using cops to enforce edict after edict, some of them arbitrary, designed to shackle Americans to varying degrees. Many of these diktats having nothing to do with stopping the CCP virus.
One story I just read is about how officials in San Clemente, California dealt with kids (who are not at any statistical risk from this virus) “illegally” skateboarding in a skateboard park. Didn’t governors say getting exercise is still “essential?”
These petty tyrants were so upset that kids continued to gather at the skate park, they buried the park in 37 tons of sand (yes, you read that correctly). According to USAA News, other localities also joined in sandblasting their skateboard parks.
Senator Ted Cruz (R TX) tweeted, “and to all the Lefties defending California’s idiocy, skating alone poses ZERO public health threat to anybody. You want to enforce social distancing in public… fine, but filling a skate park with sand—so nobody can use it—is an authoritarian abuse of power.”
Now we know that some CCP virus restrictions have been necessary—at least, that’s what trusted “experts” have told us, and many of us have chosen to trust them, and have agreed to abide by their advice. This despite the models, in certain respects, having been so far off. A guess may have been closer to correct.
But what about Governor Gretchen Whitmer who allows kayakers to paddle their boats at their leisure but won’t allow anglers to go fishing in their boats if they use a motor? Where is the science behind this restriction? “Because I said so,” seems to be all that is necessary.
And while that governor has deemed abortion “essential,” she’s decreed other “elective” surgeries such as joint replacements, non-essential. I know too many people whose quality of life has been transformed by such surgeries to call joint replacement non-essential.
Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson recently interviewed New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. This governor seems to adore wielding such awesome power. Regarding the Second Amendment, he’s already had lots of practice. The Garden State is a nightmare for gun owners.
But during the interview, Carlson was trying to get Gov. Murphy to specify the scientific rationale for declaring going to a liquor store to buy booze “essential” but sitting inside your car praying outside of a church “non-essential” and a breach of pandemic protocols. Carlson had no luck getting a lucid answer.
In defending his restrictions, Gov. Murphy uttered one of the most honest statements I’ve ever heard from a big-government politician: “I wasn’t thinking about the Bill of Rights when we did this.” This shows the huge disconnect between some politicians and our Constitution.
The U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, should be the first thing a political leader should think about when considering passing such laws. Especially laws that “temporarily” infringe on Americans’ constitutional rights, no matter how seemingly “necessary” it may be.
Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts has caused confusion by initially allowing gun shops and shooting ranges to remain open, and then changing his mind and closing them. But he’s allowed gun manufacturers to continue producing firearms. While I don’t want gun manufacturing shuttered, either, I have to wonder about the logic. Although, maybe to be “fair,” Gov. Baker also closed the state’s pot shops. Both groups are suing.
And it’s not just governors. Let’s just take Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. You have Mayor Eric Garcetti encouraging city residents to drop a dime on their neighbors and he will reward them. You know about, snitches get stitches. The mayor said, “Well, in this case, snitches get rewards.” LAPD will have to deal with these reports and enforcement. That’s going to help the department’s PR.
For his part, Sheriff Villanueva releases inmates into his community and then warns about a “possible surge in crime ahead.” You can’t make this stuff up.
For me, it comes down to two primary concerns. Concern for my family’s and my personal liberty. Again, maybe some of these restrictions were done with good intentions. Some others, not so much. Think about it. We’re being asked to trust “science” folks who relied on flawed sources to give advice to officials who decided to curtail our constitutional rights.
My other concern is ongoing: officials making cops the bad guys. What is that officer supposed to think when a governor or mayor has ordered him or her to cite or arrest the guy or gal on the lake with a motorboat while giving the gal or guy on the lake but in a kayak or rowboat a hearty, “thanks for complying?”
Or those cops whose bosses had ordered them to handcuff a dad who’d been playing ball with his little girl. And those officers who arrested that poor dude surfing in the Pacific Ocean and fined him $1,000.
Or the officers who were ordered to cite all those poor Christians in several states, many of them elderly, issuing them expensive tickets. While others had officers record their license plates for the crime of sitting in their cars, parked in a parking lot, praying at a church service.
What’s wrong with having a healthy skepticism when folks on one side are telling you to do or not do things that have zero to do with spreading the CCP virus, but the other side is advocating for a more balanced approach? When one side questions the Communist Chinese government’s apparent deceit and Anti-U.S. propaganda peddling while the other side runs political and media interference for the communists?
How can we deal with people who are, if even temporarily, infringing on our God-given rights, and then when we raise legitimate questions, we’re told we want people to die or we’re racist? What happens when officials do this to their police officers?
What better way to manipulate a police force than by telling cops what they are doing is for the good of the community and will save lives? How powerful (and dangerous) is the statement: “if it only saves one life, it’s worth it.” But is it? Where’s the context?
The political leaders who already support large invasive government are busy learning from issuing these constraints and taking notes. Shouldn’t these political leaders who implement hyper-restrictions with no science to back them up have to explain how a person on the lake in a motorboat, in the ocean with a surfboard, or sitting in a car in a church parking lot praying spreads a disease?
Or by asking these questions, am I saying I want people to die? I spent over two decades serving and protecting my community. Seems a harsh accusation, doesn’t it?
Law enforcement expert and author Chuck Klein, in an article that originally appeared in Law Officer back in 2013 wrote about officers in this situation. “We, the local law enforcement community, must resolve to never surrender our intrinsic duty to protect our fellow Americans from all enemies—foreign AND domestic. We owe an obligation to our neighbors (the parents of the kids your kids go to school with) to reassure them of our commitment to serve and protect them from each and every adversary.”