Tags: Coronavirus | Emerging Threats | Law Enforcement | barber | essential | michigan | whitmer

Should We Criminalize Neighbors in Virus War?

coronavirus unlock america reopen michigan rally

Demonstrators during an "American Patriot Rally," organized on April 30, 2020, by Michigan United for Liberty on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, demanding the reopening of businesses. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)

By Saturday, 09 May 2020 05:02 PM Current | Bio | Archive

It’s a new day in America.

We've been told repeatedly how we’re living in a time like no other.

Schools are empty, roads throughout most of our communities are quieter than normal, and facemask fashion trends were certainly an unexpected twist to this year’s summer wardrobe.

While it's certainly a new day, few would say things are better.

Much like America in the days and months following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, our friends, family, and neighbors are beginning to ask how far we need to go in order to win the war against an "invisible enemy," as President Trump describes it.

The cost of this war has already cut deep as nearly one in four American adults have found themselves forced out of work. Trillions of dollars in stimulus have been printed, certainly making the stock market appear healthier than ever. Yet, the working class feels anything but "stimulated."

When the price of a barrel of crude oil begins to match the price of items on the McDonald’s Dollar Menu, things are far, far from "normal."

Sadly, the only normal behavior we can witness is currently coming from the halls of local courthouses, the chambers of state legislatures and governor’s mansions, as well as the quintessential smoke filled "representatives only" marked rooms in Congress.

If Americans who witnessed the rise of the police state post-9/11 know one thing, it’s that power-hungry individuals scarcely ever let a good crisis go to waste.

Throughout the country, many Americans have already learned this the hard way.

This past week in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Michigan, a 77-year old barber opened his doors and let the community know he was ready for business. For this small, essentially non-consequential action, he could lose not only his business, but even his liberty.

Karl Manke, a barber in the town of Owosso, woke up in a new America where his governor issued an executive order stating all "nonessential" businesses would have to close in order to stop the potential spread of the invisible enemy.

Manke's barbershop was one of those "nonessential" businesses. The decree from up high however ignored an essential truth, that to Manke, his shop was essential to his very livelihood.

"I was in despair," Manke told a reporter from the Detroit News. "I don’t have anybody paying me unless I’m doing work." As word got around that Manke was open for business, customers from towns over lined up for their first haircut in months since the pandemic began.

Word also got around to local authorities.

Masked police officers looking more like cops from HBO’s "Watchmen" than average cops, showed up at Manke’s shop on Wednesday to issue the senior citizen "a civil infraction and two misdemeanors," said Lt. Eric Cherry of the Owosso Police Department.

Manke has a court date scheduled for June 23.

The Michigan barber faces a "$1,000 fine or more."

This isn’t stopping him however. "I’m not going to close up unless they handcuff me and carry me out of here," Manke said.

"I’m making a living. If I have to spend it all on court costs, I’ll do it. I’ll recover."

What a new day it is. 77-year old barbers are now treated as common criminals for resfusing to starve. 

Manke isn’t the only renegade with clippers in pandemic-afflicted America.

On Thursday, a salon owner across the country in Dallas, Texas defied Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive orders in the same way Manke did, but in her case she was jailed for 48 hours until Abbott directly intervened amid public outcry.

Shelley Luther, owner of Salon A La Mode, walked out a free woman and was welcomed by a crowd of supporters who also feel the current coronavirus safeguards have gone far enough.

Luther refused to bend the knee by apologizing or promising to keep her business closed to a Dallas judge, who stated that by doing so, he would make an example of her but spare her jail. By refusing to let her children starve and having the state stand between her and her livelihood, her short lived jail stint became a rallying cry for Texans, as well as Americans across the country who refuse to let the America of tomorrow be less-free than the America of today.

Whether you think that flattening the curve at all costs is necessary for our long term welbeing, or that crushing our otherwise booming economy will create circumstances far worse than any virus, we must ask ourselves now whether it’s worth making criminals out of our neighbors in order to combat an invisible enemy we still don’t completely understand.

Tomorrow is certainly a new day in America, one with absolutely no guarantees.

Gavin Wax is president of the New York Young Republican Club, chair of the Association of Young Republican Clubs, an associate fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, a frequent guest on Fox News, and publisher of The Schpiel. You can follow him on Twitter at @GavinWax. Read Gavin Wax's Reports — More Here.

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We must ask ourselves now whether it’s worth making criminals out of our neighbors in order to combat an invisible enemy we still don’t completely understand.
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2020-02-09
Saturday, 09 May 2020 05:02 PM
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