(UnitedVoice.com) – It appears that some governors are more than willing to violate civil liberties in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous states with large population centers have instituted strict statewide quarantine measures, attempted to violate the Second Amendment, and, in some instances, restricted religious freedoms. Some Governors appear more willing to write legislation than enforce currently existing law. One governor even admitted that the Bill of Rights was the last thing on his mind, and yet he’s sworn to protect it.
The Bill of Rights was written for moments such as this. When the government uses emergency powers, it can overstep boundaries. Once a line is crossed, the government rarely goes back. As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said this week, they are preparing their states for the “new normal” — but no one seems to know what that means.
How States Are Violating Civil Liberties
Tucker Carlson, on his Fox News show Wednesday night, asked New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy about a situation where 15 men were arrested for congregating at a synagogue in early April. According to Murphy’s edict, they violated his stay-at-home order. Carlson asked the governor what authority he had to nullify the Bill of Rights in issuing the order.
What Murphy said may be precisely what many governors are thinking… “That’s above my paygrade. I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this.”
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo ordered state troopers and the National Guard to find and single out vehicles with New York license plates and instruct them to self-quarantine. That is also going on at the Texas border. State troopers were telling out-of-state people to quarantine for two weeks.
In Colorado, a former police officer was playing catch with his six-year-old daughter at a park. They were practicing social distancing, few were at the park, yet he was arrested for violating social distancing guidelines. He was released and the department apologized.
In both California and Pennsylvania, gun stores were ordered to close as non-essential businesses. The store closings were inconsistent with both guidance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Second Amendment. In California, Gov. Gavin Newson rescinded the order closing gun stores after seeing the federal advisory. However, in Pennsylvania, Gov. Wolf was forced to open gun stores back up after the State Supreme rebuked him for the order.
Minnesota police unions are asking that the state government provide them with the names and addresses of those who tested positive for COVID-19 as a safety precaution for first responders. Why stop there? Why not get the information of those who have AIDS, the flu, or any other sickness? What about a database of gun owners?
A Mississippi church held an Easter service in their parking lot. Parishioners were told to stay in their cars, keep their windows up, and listen to the service over the car radio. They were taking the proper social distancing measures. During the service, police surrounded the parking lot and issued a $500 fine to each car for violating a curfew order that forbade religious events as non-essential gatherings.
What’s the Problem?
In mid-March, the majority of the country agreed that the temporary shutdown of the economy and social distancing was needed to limit the spread of COVID-19. This would keep hospitals from being overrun. As scientists and medical professionals learn more, the estimated death toll has been dramatically reduced.
However, you wouldn’t know it by the way some governors are acting. Some are taking their states, and the country, down a very slippery slope.
In addition to the state governments not “thinking about” the Bill of Rights, Americans are being conditioned to accept restrictions to their freedoms. Americans are being asked to trust authorities who are giving themselves unilateral powers that are inconsistent, destructive to the economy and people’s lives, and going against the US Constitution, which they are sworn to uphold. With every emergency, the government takes a little more liberty from Americans in the name of protection.
Benjamin Franklin once said, if America forsakes liberty for security, they deserve neither. We need a government that will fight the pandemic and while respecting people’s constitutional rights at the same time. Otherwise, we may find we have a very different country a few months from now.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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