This news outlet has zero objection to local governments issuing mask ordinances for public facilities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Nor do we really have an issue with them leveraging licensing and inspection powers to encourage select private businesses to require masks at their establishments.
Particularly businesses in close-contact industries …
However, note the words select … and encourage.
Should local governments be able to mandate masks at all businesses? No. And it goes without saying that no government can compel individual citizens to wear masks on private property.
Certainly not when they are on their own property …
But this article is not about the efficacy of masks (which we believe in) or the legality of mask ordinances (which we believe is a far murkier question).
It is about the ridiculousness of Charleston mayor John Tecklenburg adopting a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to violators of the city’s ordinance. No longer will city officials issue warnings to citizens who are caught without a mask “at all times while in public” – they will move straight to ticketing them.
Such is the alarmist hue and cry of the über-liberal municipal leadership in the Holy City.
Tecklenburg’s splashy, Orwellian announcement – chronicled earlier this week in the pages of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier – is even more indefensible given the failure of his government to protect the public during the recent race riots that rocked the city.
Not only did local police leaders fail to “protect and serve” – they surrendered broad swaths of Charleston’s downtown business district to violent rioters in late May, resulting in widespread property damage, theft and physical violence.
And as we recently noted, such accommodation has had consequences.
The same goes for Tecklenburg’s ongoing campaign to tear down historical monuments within the city limits …
Accordingly, here is what one resident thought of Tecklenburg’s mask policy …
(Click to view)
Yeah … pretty much sums it up …
Such is the bizarro world in which Charleston residents now live: There is “zero tolerance” for failing to wear a mask in public … but if you want to smash storefronts, loot businesses and randomly attack citizens on the streets as part of a protest for “racial justice,” Tecklenburg’s cops will gladly stand aside for you.
Because that is what the mob demands …
Make no mistake: Charleston is facing an existential public safety crisis and an existential identity crisis. In response to the former, we would humbly submit that criminal theft, vandalism and violence is where the city needs to adopt its “zero tolerance” policy. And as for the latter, we believe Tecklenburg and other local “leaders” should listen to all voices as part of a thoughtful debate – not continue reflexively kowtowing to the increasingly inflexible far left at every turn.
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