I’ll start with this quote from Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino of New York:
“With regard to the Thanksgiving Executive Order, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office will NOT be enforcing it against our County residents. Frankly, I am not sure it could sustain a Constitutional challenge in Court for several reasons including your house is your castle. And as a Sheriff with a law degree I couldn’t in good faith attempt to defend it in Court, so I won’t.
Who and how many people you invite in to your home is your business, unlike outdoor gatherings which may receive a police response if disorderly or other violations of public nuisance laws occur.”
I’ll be honest, I did not anticipate or hope to be writing about the coronavirus at this point in the year. Then again, did any of us? We were told, “Oh, it’s a three week stint”, which soon became a “three month stint” and then eventually became…”Who knows…we kinda like this power, we may just need to lockdown forever”.
So, here we are again, with U.S. states and countries around the world locking down harder, yet again. Europe, South America, countries in Asia and others around the globe are starting to increase more COVID restrictions and regulations.
However, there’s one issue that all of these countries have in common when increasing COVID regulations.
The question has been and always will be: are these regulations actually enforced or enforceable? In many countries, the law enforcement agents seem to have little to no problem spraying water all over a COVID protesting crowd or barging into homes to make sure residents are wearing masks or abiding by number regulations.
Which brings us to the United States. We’ve seen instances of the police arresting people for refusing to wear a mask, for playing in a park, for being out past curfew—but these instances are likely rare and an aberration from the norm.
Why do I say that?
Because, frankly, if they were not rare, more than half of the U.S. population would likely either be in prison or paying an enormous amount of fines.
And they aren’t.
How many of you, on a day to day basis, see people violate the 6 foot social distancing rule, the mask rule, the number of people who can be together at one time rule, the don’t go out past this time rule, and so on and so forth? Have you noticed the litany of protests, riots, marches, and the like, with masses of people crowding together violating every COVID regulation there is?
If you experience anything like I experience, you see these things happen all the time, everywhere you go. And yet, we don’t see a herd of police officers swarming everywhere arresting and fining people who don’t have a mask on, or barging into houses to see if too many people are there at once.
And that’s because, well, they aren’t doing that.
Many sheriffs and law enforcement agents in this country have publicly stated that they will not be enforcing certain COVID regulations, much like Sheriff Giardino of New York. Take a look at a few more examples below:
“This national holiday has created longstanding family traditions that are at the heart of America, and these traditions should not be stopped or interrupted by Governor Cuomo’s mandates…My office will respect the sanctity of your home and traditions, and I encourage you to follow your heart and act responsibly, as well as do what’s best for your family.” Sheriff Howard of Erie County in New York
“We don’t really believe that this is entirely the right solution,” Iron County Sheriff Ken Carpenter told the Salt Lake Tribune about the governor’s efforts to encourage social distancing. “If our store owners and citizens wish to follow those mandates, that’s their choice. But health care is a personal decision and shouldn’t be a government mandate.”
In North Dakota, at least three county sheriffs say they won’t enforce Republican Gov. Doug Burgum’s mandate to socially distance and wear a mask. “We have not issued any citations,” a spokesperson said in a statement last Thursday. “We will not issue citations for not wearing masks, nor will we enforce Gov. Tate Reeves’ mandate on social distancing.”
So, clearly the issue of enforcement is a question. A “law” or “mandate” is only as good as its enforcement. I always ask my students, “How many of you would speed if there were not cops?” And all of them would, further strengthening my argument. The beauty of America is that the power is so diversely distributed that should one portion of government start acting out of line with the Constitution and liberty, other portions of the government can simply reject it.
And, it appears that quite a few members of government, at least publicly, are doing just that.
Silent Civil Disobedience
My question is this: how many sheriffs, police officers, deputies and local law enforcement agents are quietly refusing the implement COVID mandates? In other words, we may be led to believe that the ones who come out and publicly state their refusal to enforce these regulations are the only ones refusing to implement these regulations. However, the fact that half of the country is not in prison, or in debt because of COVID fines, tells me that the few sheriffs who do come out publicly aren’t the only ones refusing. In fact, something tells me that those public ones are just the tip of the iceberg.
Most law enforcement officials likely don’t want to insert themselves into the vitriol of the public and political world by stating how they are handling COVID regulations and lockdowns. Instead, the choose to simply turn a blind eye to COVID mandate violations. They don’t treat the mandates as law because the don’t believe it is law.
For instance. I attended a political conference in October with hundreds of guests. There were a few police officers present to provide security. Probably two people out of the hundreds in attendance actually wore a mask, and the two mask wearers were not the two police officers. These two police officers, not wearing any mask, knew we were violating multiple regulations. We had far more people together in one indoor space than the governors mandates allowed and few, if any, had masks on. But the police did nothing but protect.
How often does this type of behavior occur, on a daily basis?
Truly, how many officers and sheriffs are quietly rebelling against the COVID regulations?
Something tells me that the vast majority of law enforcement agents are partaking in this quiet rebellion.
These quiet forms of civil disobedience on the part of our police are truly America’s hope and an example of the American spirit. Civil disobedience is what makes this country great and has changed it over time.
Humans love power, but Americans love liberty. That love of liberty has been engrained into the core of who we are, including our law enforcement officials. In other countries, barging into a house to count how many people are present may feel normal, but in America, the mere idea of it causes horror.
We must pray that our law enforcement agents’ lust for power never overcomes their love of liberty.
Because a quiet refusal to enforce unconstitutional regulations is perhaps this country’s greatest hope.
The Liberty Belle