Seven Abuses of Power Carried Out by Local Governments During the Coronavirus Crisis

Seven Abuses of Power Carried Out by Local Governments During the Coronavirus Crisis

Authored by John Hawkins

“To be free is better than to be unfree always. Any politician who suggests the opposite should be treated as suspect.” — Margaret Thatcher

“If there is ever a fascist takeover in America, it will come not in the form of storm troopers kicking down doors but with lawyers and social workers saying. ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” — Jonah Goldberg

Over the last few months, we’ve seen criminals released from jail while law-abiding citizens have been arrested for trying to work for a living, churches have been shut down by government order, and people have been arrested for protesting against the government. It sounds more like China than the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.”

Who would have ever thought we’d have seen these kinds of abuses of power in the United States? The only thing more shocking than the behavior of our government is the cops that made it clear they’d obey any order given to them by government officials, no matter how anti-American it was, and the citizens that cheered all of this on. Despite the fact that nations like Sweden, along with seven states here in the US never shut down, many power-hungry government officials across the country have pretended as if they had no choice other than to destroy small businesses, impoverish half their citizens, and openly harass anyone who simply had a higher level of risk tolerance than they do. This list could have easily been dozens (or perhaps hundreds) of examples long, but these seven give you a taste of how badly many local governments have been behaving over the last few months.

1) Texas hairstylist jailed for remaining open and refusing to apologize to the government: In Texas, hairstylist Shelley Luther opened her salon despite an executive order to the contrary because she said she needed to pay her bills and take care of her kids. After defying orders to close, a judge ordered her to close the salon and APOLOGIZE to the government for being “selfish.” After Luther refused, the judge sentenced her to jail. The Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, correctly noted that it was an “abuse of power” by the judge. The Governor, Greg Abbott, agreed, modified his executive order and the Supreme Court of Texas ordered her released. 

 

2) Man dragged off a bus in Philly for not wearing a mask: Masks have been a weird topic in the Coronavirus era. Originally, the public was told not to wear masks because the only people that needed them were people that were sick. Then, we were told that masks helped prevent you from giving or getting the Coronavirus. Later, the official take became that masks helped prevent you from infecting other people, which some doctors think is incorrect, but that it doesn’t protect you. Tomorrow it may be something different. Who knows? In the interim in Philadelphia, they put a rule in place saying city bus drivers could refuse to transport people that weren’t wearing masks. The bus driver decided to go that way and then called the police when the rider wouldn’t leave the bus. The police then showed up and handed him a mask and problem solved! Just kidding, they dragged the resisting man off the bus for not wearing a mask. After that abusive behavior made the news, the rule was rescinded.

3) Mom arrested For letting her kids play on a playground: A town in Idaho called Meridian ludicrously made it illegal for children to play on a playground. As part of a planned protest, a number of mothers took their children out to play. One of them, Sara Brady, refused to leave when the police arrived. She was handcuffed and arrested for the terrible “crime” of allowing her children to play on a playground.

4) Police hassling lady because she let her children go next door: As bad as arresting a woman for letting her children play on a playground is, Wisconsin took it up a notch. These two officers harassed a woman for letting her child go to a neighbor’s house to play. These two bad cops LITERALLY told her to, “Stop having your kid go by other people’s homes.” Welcome to America, where the police will come by your house to threaten you over the terrible crime of allowing your child to go on a playdate with a neighbor’s child.

5) Going to the gym was treated as a crime: In New Jersey, a gym bro was handcuffed and taken away. His monstrous crime? He went to work out at a gym that had been opened against state orders and refused to give officers his name. For the unforgivable crime of working out in an open gym, he was hauled away by the cops. 

6) Protesting is a non-essential activity: ReOpen NC was one of the first, well-organized protest groups to rise up against the unnecessary shutdowns across the country. After a protester was arrested at one of their rallies in Raleigh, the Raleigh Police Department stated that protesting government decisions was no longer allowed in their city by sending out the tweet below. Since then, undoubtedly after being educated about the potential lawsuits and perhaps after someone showed them a copy of the Constitution, protesting in Raleigh has continued in spite of being “non-essential” in the eyes of the police department.

 

7) Police taking license plate numbers in a church parking lot: The First Amendment clause that forbids the government from “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion went right out the window at the start of the Coronavirus panic. The number of abuses related to churches could easily be a column in and of itself. However, out of the many grotesque and obvious violations of the First Amendment, having police officers writing down the license plate numbers of churchgoers in Kentucky so they could be reported to the government was one of the worst. If you’re sending the police to harass people going to church, it should be a national scandal instead of just one more example of fascism-lite that’s being excused because there are people that claim they want to “keep us safe.”

And that’s just to name a few.

John Hawkins runs the men’s website Brass Pills, is the author of 101 Things All Young Adults Should Know and you can find him on Twitter here

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