Today: Jul 06 , 2020

Opinion: Reclaiming Our Rights

19 April 2020  

“Let’s hope this is just temporary."

With the corona virus shut down, our rights and our lives have been suspended. Let's hope that this is just temporary. Make no mistake, our Constitutional rights have been infringed by our government, (state and local governments, anyway), in addressing this pandemic. The right to free assembly is restricted to no more than ten people in some areas, and in other places, even fewer. The right to exercise our religion, (though in most cases, self imposed), appears non-existent, at least for the time being. In some states and local jurisdictions, the right to bear arms has been denied by closing gun retailing businesses. This seems particularly onerous since most of those areas where these stores are closed down, are the same areas that are releasing criminals from prisons and jails, ostensibly because of this virus. 

We shouldn't minimize the danger of COVID-19, but it shouldn't be the only factor in deciding when we should reopen our country, businesses and the economy. Alexander Hamilton once stated, “...the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights.”

Any scanning of news items across the country will show that several of our rights are no longer being honored by government. A paddle board surfer gets arrested on an otherwise vacant beach in California. Parishioners are given citations that list $500 fines when they drove to their church's parking lot to hear their pastor give a sermon through a megaphone on Easter Sunday. A father and daughter are detained and questioned for throwing a frisbee in a public park. Gyms, beaches, hiking trails and bike paths are closed to the public until health officials decide they are safe. In Raleigh, North Carolina, police broke up an assembly of people who were protesting the government forced closure of restaurants, stores and theaters. One person was arrested. The reason given by city authorities was that “protests are not essential”. 

Okay, this has gone too far. Our Constitutional rights are being scrapped and we have been complicit in letting it happen. When elected leaders are acting on the advice of medical experts, it might be judicious to follow their lead for a short time. But when we find out that the experts have been basing their restrictions on virus computer models that have greatly overestimated the danger, it is time to stop the overreaction and reclaim our freedoms. 

We have enough information now about COVID-19, that the INDIVIDUAL should be allowed to make his or her own decisions about a wide variety of activities. We know that those in the greatest danger from this virus are the elderly, those with diabetes, people with a history of lung problems, those with heart problems, the obese and those with immune deficiency diseases. Individuals in these groups should stay away from the public for their own good. It should be their decision, though, not the government's. 

People not in the at-risk groups should be able to return to work, go to restaurants, sporting events, theaters, gyms and anyplace else that they think is safe after weighing the risk. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to reclaim our God given rights from those who lust for the power to control us. 

“Fear does not stop death, it stops life. Worry does not take away tomorrow's troubles, it takes away today's peace.” - Unknown, but wise person.


Buz Williams

Richard F. "Buz" Williams was born into a police family.  His father, both grandfathers, a great uncle and a cousin were all on the Los Angeles Police Department and he also had an uncle on the Hawthorne, California Police Department.  Buz served for 29 years on the Long Beach, California Police Department were he worked Patrol, Juvenile, Vice, Auto Theft and Gangs.  He retired in December of 2002.  Buz has been married to his wife Judi for 44 years.  They have two grown sons who live in Southern California with their families, which include two daughter-in-laws, three grandsons and a granddaughter.  Buz and Judi have lived in Prescott since 2004.