MATTHEWS: When the coronavirus restrictions go on for too long

reopen nc 05-05-20 apdillon
May 5, 2020, Raleigh, NC — ReOpen NC protesters gather for the fourth week in a row to demand Gov. Roy Cooper open the state for business. Photo credit: A.P. Dillon, North State Journal

After President Trump declared a national state of emergency on March 13, coronavirus-related restrictions began to be put in place in states across the country.

There seemed to be general agreement among most people that some social distancing measures were in order, though there wasn’t universal agreement as to how far those restrictions should go. Republicans in particular had concerns with giving governments too much power to control our daily movements.

Because when you give governments permission to take away some of your freedoms, more often than not they will take advantage of it

Sadly, this exact scenario has played out in numerous cities across America.

We’ve seen it in Texas with the Shelley Luther hair salon case, here in North Carolina with the Jax Meyers tattoo parlor case out of Apex and with the Jessica Wesley hair salon case out of Roxboro.

In one particularly bizarre case, reporters for CBS Chicago put a neighborhood ice cream man on blast for selling ice cream in a nearby community while the state’s stay at home orders were in place. The reporters urged viewers to call 911.

In the Shelley Luther case, the Dallas hair salon owner chose jail time even after a judge gave her the option of an out. The condition was that she would have to say she was sorry and admit it was “selfish” to re-open in defiance of local and state shelter-in-place orders so she could earn a living.

Shelley’s response to the judge’s offer should go down in history as a defining moment for freedom-loving people everywhere.

“I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I’m selfish, because feeding my kids is not selfish,” Luther stated. “I have hair stylists that are going hungry because they’d rather feed their kids. So, sir, if you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision, but I am not going to shut the salon.”

She was put in jail afterwards. But after outrage ensued and state officials including Republican Gov. Greg Abbott got involved, Luther was released, and was able to open her salon the next day.

Here in North Carolina, Apex’s Jax Meyers found himself in a similar situation a couple of weeks ago. After his arrest, which was captured on video, he told local news outlets that he had no choice but to open his tattoo parlor back up, because he needed to feed his family. He also feared if the restrictions were in place much longer that he would not be able to ever open back up again.

Roxboro’s Jessica Wesley attempted to reopen her hair salon that same week. She posted a video about it on Facebook and did an interview with a local TV station. She said she planned on taking the necessary safety precautions, including wearing a mask if her clients requested it, using Clorox spray and wipes, etc.

Nevertheless, Wesley received a visit from Roxboro police officers the morning she opened up her salon. TV cameras were rolling as one officer stated, “We really, really want you to voluntarily comply with this.” Except, of course, it wasn’t a request. Wesley chose to comply, stating, “I feel like we’ve gotten our point across. So let’s just call it quits. My point is made, and I appreciate it.”

Unlike the Luther case where Gov. Abbott got involved, our Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper did not step up and intervene here. His silence speaks volumes.

I anticipate more cases will happen the longer the statewide stay-at-home order stays in place and the longer business owners go without the money they need to keep their businesses afloat.

There’s only so much people can be expected to take before the defiance begins.

Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah, and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.