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When Constitutional Liberties Are At Your Own Risk

As the nation continues to mostly abide by self-quarantines, there are still millions of people going about their days in a pre-COVID-19 lifestyle.  We see joggers in the park, large groups of kids shooting hoops and grocery stores parking lots full. Sure, we all need a break as the Spring weather begins our hibernation naturally ends.  But we aren’t bears, we are humans with a higher level of thought process. Right? It’s hard to decide as we all face an inevitable contagion or is it inevitable? Our rights of freedom and our liberties are generally deemed our safety but they may be failing us today.  

Political pundits and conspiracy theorists are raging that we are in a state of martial law. That’s not true-almost.  The U.S. government and local police officials aren’t throwing tear gas on the streets or into large crowds like in the Ferguson, Missouri protests.  Or arresting people by the thousands during their morning jogging routines.  As President Trump stated we are in a state of war against COVID-19, martial law can be implemented for our safety.  What’s the difference between an explosive bomb and a quick-spreading disease?  Only one thing, instead of a bomb killing 300 people COVID-19 could possibly kill 200,000.  We could avoid that COVID-19 bomb extended shutdowns and dress codes. Since COVID-19 is known to spread through our breath aren’t joggers and churchgoers spreading the disease? 

We might need to bend our liberties even against our own will to abide by health safety guidelines.  Too many people are making us all sick. Governor Newsom of California stated that stay-at-home orders must be enforced with social pressure.  That’s great but it’s not working in Chicago where 21 people were shot on their first balmy Spring day.  Hundreds of churchgoers continue to attend masses and Sunday schools exposing their children to the virus. COVID-19 is similar to any other health pandemic it spreads through people and the more people don’t listen the closer it gets to all of us.  

If we can’t enforce a national martial law, which none of us have requested, then we need to use federalism to ensure our safety.  Politicians can use local mandates to lock doors on churches as temporary seizures of property due to disease containment. Our freedom of religion shouldn’t be a health risk to those that aren’t a part of a particular religious community.  If states can mandate bars, restaurants, and parks to be closed then churches can be closed as well.  We may not like the inconvenience or alienation felt by watching religious services on TV but God isn’t in a building but COVID-19 is.  

One final means to protect all of us is to require face masks.  During WWII gas masks were required for British people. Historical investigations found many of those gas masks were potentially dangerous due to asbestos and other materials.  But face maks made from cotton, unless someone is allergic, shouldn’t kill anyone. The CDC is requesting that people wear some kind of face masks to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Even though news outlets have opposing scientists remarking on face masks, if a disease is spread through breath and the air, then a face mask is the least we could be required to wear.  That’s where we can beat the martial law aspect of the stay-at-home orders. If local laws were enacted to enforce face masks then those that must work and shop would be stopping the spread of COVID-19, gently, easily and without infringing upon our rights.  You see, dress codes can be a legal requirement so let’s start with this before our Constitutional rights.  Of course, exceptions could be made for illnesses like asthma but if you have breathing problems home is the place to be during a bronchial health epidemic.  

There are few real options that will make us all feel our Constitutional rights are not being violated.  But if life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness must be accomplished we may have to mask our martial confinements. 

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