The explosive rhetoric from Gretchen Whitmer’s Governor’s office is reaching a new low. Today she advised citizens of Michigan to “forcefully” make other people wear masks. Whitmer has been under intense scrutiny from citizens of the state who have struggled through strong orders while the state’s done little to actually help.
Her comments are dangerous for a political leader. Enforcement of law is something for law enforcement officers or agents of the state. Citizen enforcement of the law is known as vigilante justice and is not acceptable in this country. The governor’s words aren’t clear and she uses harsh terms for how people should treat their fellow citizens.
The state has already seen several cases of violence related to mask compliance rules. A security guard in Flint, Michigan was killed for trying to enforce a mask mandate. Ramonyea Bishop and Larry Teague were arrested and charged with murder in the shooting death of Calvin Munerlyn who stopped the customers for not wearing a mask. The dispute over masks turned fatal as a regular citizen began enforcing strange government orders.
The Governor’s mask mandate went into effect last week. Part of her order imposes great risks on business owners. In the absence of police enforcement, the Governor has taken the drastic measure of imposing fines on business owners who don’t force compliance on their own customers.
Businesses who do not enforce the mask rules risk losing their business license. This puts business owners in a precarious position of having to enforce rules that are ambiguous at best. The Michigan Retailers Association has expressed frustration with the Governor’s orders. CEO Bill Hallan said “that she did not leave the policing to law enforcement officers. This puts retail employees in potentially dangerous situations when they’re forced to confront unmasked customers.” Business owners must now decide if they want to hassle their customers or risk losing their license.
The Governor’s order is not law. Governors cannot create law; that is something for the state’s legislature. Once a bill is passed a Governor can sign it into law, but creation of law from thin air by divine ruler is authoritarianism and contrary to the American way.
Whitmer is facing numerous lawsuits. Her administration recently lost a Michigan Supreme Court case against Owosso barbershop owner who defied her order. The State Board of Canvassers has also officially moved into the middle phases of their recall effort. The recall petition is expected to far surpass the nearly 1 million signatures required for a recall.
Three days after the first coronavirus death, the State’s nursing home association leader sent a letter to Whitmer saying empty facilities should be used as quarantine centers. Whitmer declined this advice. Instead the state created a system to infected residents were sent to isolated areas of nursing homes.
Each year more than 90% of influenza deaths are in the elderly population. Critics of the Governor ask when poor decisions become criminal negligence. Someone can be accused of third-degree murder if they unintentionally cause someone else’s death while committing a dangerous act. Is sending positive patients into the highest-risk population segment negligence?