Through the week of March 30-April 4, 2020, here in Spokane, Wa., I saw nary a person wearing a mask. This week starting April 5, I emerged from my lair to shop for some food, and found almost everyone was wearing a mask. I had thought about donning a mask last week, but since almost no one was wearing one, a couple of thoughts dominated: “I don’t want other people to think I have the virus and fear me, just because I am wearing a mask” and “If I hide my identity with a mask, will others suspect that I am up to no good?” Silly me! But this week, before going out, not having read or heard about a mask edict, I decided I was going to wear a mask because it could help protect others (from a virus I have no reason to suspect I am infected with) and as an example to others of what they should do.
Voila, parking my car at Super 1 Foods, I notice almost everyone, customers and store employees, wearing masks. Later that day I watched a video produced by the Seattle Downtown Merchants association, featuring drone shots of an empty city, many stores with colorful messages (that’s “in color”, not off color) on the plywood boards protecting their windows, thanking their customers, employees and local government, and writing “we’ll be back” (Arnold Schwarzenegger accent). The title of the video was, “This Is What Love Looks Like—Social Distancing.” They’re right, it’s a form of love, to protect others, with sacrifice. I just hope they can all come back!
For you young folks reading this, “who was that masked man?“ was the rhetorical question posed about the heroic figure who had just dispatched all the bad guys, riding out of town with his “faithful Indian companion, Tonto. They used to say, “riding into the sunset”, but since seeing this Farside cartoon I avoid that cliche.
Who was he? The Lone Ranger, the title character in a TV show from 1949-1957. According to IMDB and Wikipedia, The Lone Ranger was the only Texas Ranger in a posse who survived an ambush. He was nursed back to health by the Potawatomi tribesman Tonto, and he wears a mask to protect others from Coronavirus hide his identity. They ride together throughout the West, doing good while living off a silver mine which supplies them with income and bullets.
As generally depicted, the Lone Ranger conducts himself by a strict moral code based on that put in place by Fran Striker, the show’s writer, at the inception of the character. It read:
I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one. That all men are created equal, and that everyone has within himself, the power to make this a better world. That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself. In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally, to fight when necessary for what is right. That a man should make the most of what equipment he has. That ‘this government, of the people, by the people and for the people’shall live always. That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number. That sooner or later…somewhere…somehow…we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken. That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever. In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.
For awhile are we all lone rangers? That wouldn’t be a bad thing.
In 1973 I drove from University of Connecticut to Nova Scotia. Because it was such a long way, I found another UConn student to make the trip with me, and help with driving and the cost of gas. We got along okay, even with our political disagreements (I was then, as now, conservative, she fancied herself a revolutionary), until she started driving. Imagine this scene: You are driving on a 4 lane road (2 each way), with a center lane for turning. In one town, the left lane began merging into the right lane, and my driver followed within the lines exactly. The problem was that a huge truck was already in the right lane, and not giving way, but she just kept following the yellow line, getting closer and closer to the truck. I grabbed the wheel from the passenger seat, and turned the car into the empty left turn lane, until the truck passed. She yelled, “you’re driving over the yellow line!” I yelled back, “it’s just paint!” This self-styled “revolutionary” was actually a “mindless rule follower”.
Writes David Horowitz in Conservative Review, April 7, 2020: We now have the most severe, widespread, and protracted form of martial law in our nation’s history … except as it applies to dangerous criminals who are undeterred and released. How much worse will we allow this to get until we call a foul on these gross constitutional violations?States have wide latitude to forcibly quarantine individuals or groups of people from the general population. But they don’t have the power to shut down the entire general population. Also, as the Supreme Court has said many times, there are times when life, liberty, and property can be infringed upon, but it must be narrowly tailored to the least invasive means needed to achieve the compelling state interest. What is happening now is anything but narrow. Consider some examples:
A 19-year-old woman was given a citation and forced to go back home after a state trooper in York County, Pennsylvania, caught her simply “going for a drive.” She was alone in a car. Meanwhile, subways are still open!
Numerous states have arbitrarily banned nonessential medical services, defined as pretty much anything that is not an urgent emergency. It would be one thing if the areas were overrun with COVID-19 patients, but these hospitals are in fact empty and are now laying off vital medical staff because of the unlawful edicts.
In Los Angeles County, a paddleboarder was arrested for being in the ocean … alone! The San Diego sheriff bragged about giving people a $1,000 citation for sitting alone in their cars at the beach. Again, no violations of federal health and distancing guidance occurred.
David Schuster of Winnebago, Minnesota, was hit with a criminal complaint after he was caught playing cards with three of his buddies in his bar. He faces up to 90 days in prison and a $1,000 fine. The bar was closed to the public, but the policeman saw the lights on. Was that bar spreading the virus as much as subways and buses? Doubtful.
An 86-year-old anti-abortion protester was given a citation by San Francisco police for dropping leaflets against abortion. Meanwhile, abortion clinics are open while hip replacements are banned.
Evidently, the virus is worse at night and attacks people when it’s dark. Cities like Laredo, Texas, are now adopting a mandatory curfew after 10 p.m. unless you are wearing an ID or have a letter that shows you are an essential worker. A city government that has no problem harboring illegal aliens and bristles at immigration enforcement as “show me your papers totalitarianism” has no problem applying it to Americans walking or driving alone, which has zero bearing on spreading a virus.
For years we were told that to use the military more aggressively at our international border to repel an invasion – the quintessential use of the military – was somehow a violation of the Posse Comitatus law, which bars the feds from using the military to enforce domestic laws. Now, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, the same man who championed the program of training Saudis on our military bases, is signaling that governors can use the National Guard to enforce house arrest edicts.
Google is now developing a tool to track people to see if they are following the edicts. The New York Times already publicized a heat map of movement based on cell phone data. For years, law enforcement has been stripped of every tracking tool to catch criminals and terrorists. Everything was a concern for alleged criminals’ privacy. Now, they are searching for any innovative means to use against everyday Americans.
At what point will we the people stand up to this capricious nonsense, especially as these same politicians release criminals and illegal aliens, while either lying to us or covering their ignorance about the math and science behind their unilateral edicts? Why is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis the only leader who recognizes that “we can’t start ripping up the Constitution?” The same states that couldn’t set their conditions for early voting or regulate abortion clinic health standards without a federal judge intervening are now free to crush our life, liberty, and property at their most basic level – free of any due process, time constraints, or judicial oversight.
From FEE.ORG (reprinted from Liberty Unyielding): Meanwhile, the CDC and FDA were preventing infectious disease expert Helen Chu from testing samples from many people with symptoms. The FDA refused to approve Chu’s test on the grounds that her lab “was not certified as a clinical laboratory under regulations established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a process that could take months.” These were decisions made by career federal employees, acting with their customary slowness and mental rigidity. Career FDA employees commonly take years to approve life-saving drugs. That results in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people who could have been saved by earlier approval of those drugs. For example, at least a hundred thousand people died waiting for the FDA to approve beta blockers.
One of the FDA officials involved in delaying their approval was John Nestor. Nestor is notorious for following rules in ways designed to frustrate and inconvenience other people. As the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons notes: Nestor has the habit of getting into the leftmost lane [on the highway] with his cruise control set at 55 mph, the posted speed limit. He would drive at this speed regardless of what came up behind him. Cars would zoom up close to his rear bumper; drivers would flash their lights and blast their horns,some swerving around him on the right while giving him the finger—none of this fazed Nestor in the least. As he explained it, 55 mph was the law, and he had a right to drive in whichever lane he chose: “Why should I inconvenience myself for someone who wants to speed?” Nestor followed this rigid mindset in his work at the FDA. He was very good at using agency rules, and minor risks or side effects of drugs, as an excuse to avoid approving life-saving drugs. I don’t bother giving these types the finger (unless it’s on a trigger)–they enjoy irritating others.
FDA regulations have thwarted the manufacturing of life-saving masks and respirators. The Cato Institute’s Paul Matzko explains why it has “been so hard to ramp up production of surgical masks and respirators,” and why firms haven’t “flooded into the market” to produce them despite increased prices and demand for these badly needed items. It’s because “they are regulated medical devices.” That requires “FDA approval, which can take months to obtain.” And for a manufacturer to get that approval, it must do all the things required by the FDA regulation—“and get FDA sign off”—before its “new surgical mask gets anywhere near shelves”. It would take months, if they could do it at all. Here are a few of the things a manufacturer must do before seeking FDA approval, notes Matzko in a Twitter thread:
1-Do a compositional side-by-side analysis of your mask versus all other masks currently sold. Hire a few materials scientists. 2- Measure “tensile strength” & “impact resistance.” Hire the Mythbusters and have them whack it with a hammer. 3-Perform detailed “risk analysis,” for fluid/bacteria resistance and “flammability.” Better open a branch office for all those extra materials scientists and medical researchers. This is multiple major studies. … 4- But wait, don’t forget that masks touch skin! What if it gives you a rash!!! Fill out the “standard ISO-10993,” for “Biological Evaluation of Medical Devices Part 1: Evaluation and Testing”…
It is criminal to put bureaucratic minds in charge of medical innovation and production. Actually, bureaucratic “mindless rule followers” taint everything they are involved in. Meanwhile, a security guard was seriously injured when a man allegedly rammed into him with his car after the guard tried to enforce Walmart’s social distancing rules in Quebec, Canada. The man was arrested at his home; let’s get him down here to use his car to reduce the number of FDA bureaucrats!