Our Rights Are Now Crimes
Daniel J. Flynn
by
Bill de Blasio apologizing (YouTube screenshot)

What the government protected as rights in March it prosecuted as crimes in April.

May presents an opportunity to return to a constitutional republic from the doctor-dictatorship fixated on health to the exclusion of all other concerns. But politicians made powerful by a disease that weakens the others it infects naturally resist a return to limited government.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio personally traveled to Brooklyn with a massive number of armed policemen on Tuesday to disperse (or round up?) a large, unauthorized gathering of Jews for their “absolutely unacceptable” mourning of Rabbi Chaim Mertz. “My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed,” he explained on Twitter. “I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups.” You can take the Bill de Blasio out of the Warren Wilhelm Jr., but you cannot take the Warren Wilhelm Jr. out of the Bill de Blasio.

People posing as law-enforcement officers posed as customers in a Laredo, Texas, sting operation that corralled Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia and Brenda Stephanie Mata. Their offenses? Operating an appointment-only nail salon out of her home in the first instance and making women’s eyelashes more beautiful from her home in the second. The agents of the state — May we call them uglyticians? — ostensibly concerned with social distancing naturally made contact with the women, arrested them, dressed them in black-and-white-striped, dingy, hand-me-around clothes anathema to any self-respecting esthetician, and brought them to a confined place lacking sunlight and fresh air but full of hygienically challenged strangers fond of “gassing,” homemade tattoo needles, and communal showers known colloquially as a jail. The police cited not a law but “going against the mayoral decree currently in place” as justification for the arrests.

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that cops arrested four protesters on Tuesday “when they stepped onto the sidewalk outside the governor’s mansion on Blount Street, violating police instructions.” Stepping on a sidewalk, a place whose very name indicates its function as a path for pedestrians, results in arrests not where the rule of law reigns but where the whim (“violating police instructions”) of officials does.

In contrast, those ostensibly concerned about protecting people from their own freedoms endanger people without consequence.

Coronavirus deaths at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home reached 71 Thursday. The disease laid waste to more than a third of the facility’s residents. “Veterans were on top of each other,” a nurse told the Associated Press. “We didn’t know who was positive and who was negative and then they grouped people together and that really exacerbated it even more.” Who runs the home? The state of Massachusetts. Not to worry. Bay State bigwigs protect the public through a ban golf until May 18.

In Illinois, the governor angrily denounced a state representative’s successful legal challenge to his stay-at-home order as “reckless” and “cheap political stunt” on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he indignantly labeled as “reprehensible” and “inappropriate” a report that his billionaire wife ignored his stay-at-home order and nonessential travel ban by fleeing to her equestrian farm in Florida.

The New York Post reports on the state of New York allowing nurses who tested positive for COVID-19 to continue to work at the Hornell Gardens nursing home over the protestations of Steuben County officials blocked from participating in the process. The coronavirus carriers allegedly treated only residents who also tested positive. The facility registered three deaths from the disease when the state made its decision. Twelve more have died since.

Who are the criminals? Ladies providing esthetic services out of their homes or the bureaucrats cramming vulnerable veterans into Orwellian “care” facilities? Protesters exercising their First Amendment rights or “law” enforcers who deprive people of their constitutionally enumerated freedoms through arrest?

A political class whose haircuts tell you they do not support their own rules illustrates their oppressive nature. Freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and even the right to earn one’s daily bread, for those not working in government or fields government deems “essential,” no longer exist. Small gatherings with friends on private property, attending church at a drive-in, and not wearing the masks government officials told us not to wear months ago all fall as “crimes” — made so largely by executive fiat — in some areas.

Americans migrated to the United States of Coronavirus — land of the unfree, home of the afraid — without ever moving. The coming weeks answer whether we can ever go home again by freely leaving home again.

Daniel J. Flynn
Daniel J. Flynn
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Daniel J. Flynn, a senior editor of The American Spectator, is the author of Cult City: Harvey Milk, Jim Jones, and 10 Days That Shook San Francisco (ISI Books, 2018), The War on Football (Regnery, 2013), Blue Collar Intellectuals (ISI Books, 2011), A Conservative History of the American Left (Crown Forum, 2008), Intellectual Morons (Crown Forum, 2004), and Why the Left Hates America (Prima Forum, 2002). His articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, New York Post, City Journal, National Review, and his own website, www.flynnfiles.com.   
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