You remember those folks who were too afraid to go to Target or Starbucks unless they were allowed to carry their semi-auto assault-style firearms? You know, the folks who believe freedom’s just another word for ‘I have both the right and the duty to carry an AR-15 into the local Dairy Queen even if (and maybe especially if) it scares liberal snowflakes because it’s just possible that some day somebody carrying another AR-15 into the local Dairy Queen might start shooting people and I want to be able to return fire and I will sure as hell shoot straight and kill the bad guys and not accidentally kill innocent people, then you’ll be glad I was armed because I’m doing this for you and America.’ Yeah, those folks. Now they’re standing up to the novel coronavirus.
Conservatives in Michigan, manfully pissed off because ‘that woman in Michigan’ wants everybody to stay inside and be safe and healthy, organized a protest. ‘Operation Gridlock.’ They gathered their guns, their MAGA hats, their ‘Trump 2020’ signs, their Confederate battle flags, their Gadsen ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flags, and they loaded up their pickups, and headed to Lansing to teach a lesson to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and show that pesky Chinese virus that real Americans aren’t afraid to gather in large groups and create patriotic vectors of viral transmission.
Michigan, right now, has more active Covid-19 cases than California. They’ve had a couple thousand confirmed Covid-19 deaths (and who knows how many unconfirmed deaths) — the third most deaths in this entire sad, gutted nation, behind New Jersey and New York. Gov. Whitmer ordered non-essential businesses to close and people to stay home and self-isolate in an attempt to mitigate the deaths. So of course these fuckwits decided to gather together, to chant ‘lock her up’ about the governor, to wave their flags and Trump signs, and block traffic in front of a hospital. Seriously, during a goddamn pandemic, these yahoos thought it was cute to block the emergency entrance to a hospital. Jesus suffering fuck.
Gov. Whitmer’s order for Michigan citizens to stay home, they said, was tyranny (SPOILER: if you can gather in public and accuse the government of tyranny without fear of arrest, it’s not tyranny). They repeated Ben Franklin’s claim that ‘security without liberty is called prison’ (SPOILER: if you can drive your pickup to Lansing, Michigan, you’re not in prison and you have liberty). They chanted “Lock her up!” and “Keep America Great!” (SPOILER: if your nation was warned a pandemic was coming and didn’t bother to prepare for it, your country isn’t all that great, and a populace that wants to lock up a governor for trying to mitigate that pandemic isn’t particularly great either).
I kinda sorta semi-support the right of these fuckwits to gather together. The First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees ‘the right of the people peaceably to assemble’, after all. On the other hand, legal scholars agree that the State has the power and an obligation to regulate behavior when there’s a compelling interest vital to the protection of public health and safety. Like, say, a pandemic. There’s no pandemic exception to the First Amendment, but courts have ruled that states and localities have the right to limit the size of gatherings when it’s in the interest of public health and safety. Which is exactly what Gov. Whitmer did.
In the end, you can’t fully protect stupid people from being stupid and doing stupid things with other stupid people. Some of these fuckwits on parade will possibly/likely get infected with the Covid-19 virus. If that happens, they’ll possibly/likely pass that infection on to others — some of whom didn’t behave stupidly. This the way of the fuckwitted; their stupidity is splashed onto the innocent.
Conservatives are fond of quoting Jefferson: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” The tree of stupidity, it seems, has to be refreshed on a regular basis with the blood of the innocent.