As of June 8, the Governor of Ohio issued an order that everyone in seven high risk counties have to wear masks. The Butler County Sheriff, Richard Jones, has come out publicly stating that he and his officers will not be enforcing the order, and states that he is not “the mask police”.
There is a lot to unpack here, so get your mask on and let’s get into it.
On one hand, the police always have a lot to do no matter where you are. I have no doubt that budget cuts he mentioned are affecting the programs and duties in his department. Also, the County Health Department and other officials have stated that they want nothing to do with this hot potato, so Sheriff Jones is not the only one balking at the Governor’s order.
However, on the other hand, when a law enforcement official takes their oath of office, they don’t promise to uphold certain laws, only the ones they personally agree with, or only the ones they have time for. In these times of pandemic, laws meant to curtail the spread of the disease must be taken extremely seriously. Claiming to be too busy to enforce a rule in the public interest, to save lives, is truly preposterous.
The Sheriff said in his speech that “they” have changed their minds about what spreads Covid-19 too many times, and that history will show that more people will die from not being able to get to the hospital or get their medication [than from the virus]. In the beginning of the pandemic, there certainly was some confusing and changing advice issued to the public. Since then, the scientific community has come together to say that masks and social distancing are necessary. So, it is rather disingenuous to say that there are still conflicting reports.
The people who are experts on diseases are clear on what needs to be done. Other countries have proven that these methods, along with quarantine, greatly slow the spread. If anyone is being confusing, when not outright lying, it is The White House. They are fighting the science, and with Trump refusing to wear a mask, or provide clear leadership, the virus is continuing to spread. Sheriff Jones is a Trump-supporter, and has stated that if the President mandated masks, he would enforce the order.
So, he would follow the federal law, but not the law of his own state? Isn’t it interesting that the Republicans are always fighting for state rights over the federal government, but now a state order is just a suggestion until the POTUS sanctifies it.
Somewhat surprisingly, the sheriff himself wears a mask! So despite his protestations regarding not knowing how the virus is spread, he seems to be willing to protect himself. But when it comes to citizens protecting one another, a legitimate safety issue, he would rather people be allowed to follow their own opinions rather than those of medical experts. Unendurable hubris!
If anything is keeping people from going to the hospital, it was the virus filling beds. It was the real concern of contagion in the hospital itself. It was the lack of supply of PPE and the hoarding brought on by the real fear of running out. That was the failure of the federal government, not the states. Now that the state is trying their best to take hold of the problem, their own servants are shirking their duties.
It’s no wonder that Canada, Europe and now Caribbean nations have closed their borders to us. We have not got control over this virus, and efforts to do so are thwarted by stupidity and stubborness. Our house is on fire, and the bucket brigade is arguing about which size buckets to use.