Most blatant COVID-19 related government overreach in the US so far

Leaving it to interpretation as many would say just being told you can’t eat out is one.

Personally, I’m down with staying home, social distancing, masks, and limited grocery store visits. With liberty comes responsibility and where I’m from state officials repeatedly asked citizens to practice these behaviors. When many of them didn’t, they started enacting enforceable rules.

But there have been a few instances I think where there has been an over reach:

Pennsylvania—- woman is fined $100 for just taking a drive:

Towns in New York and New Jersey banning leaf blowers because they are getting on people’s nerves:

California sheriff threatens to arrest and fine $1000 for not wearing a face mask:

My fellow Americans, what other COVID-19 actions just seem way over the top even if you agree with the basic new rules, or seem examples of government officials just using COVID-19 as an excuse to restrict something they just don’t like?
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Well, apparently there have been cases of public tornado shelters being closed, which strikes me as a textbook case of people not weighing relative risks sensibly at all.

“In Westfield, N.J., Mayor Shelley Brindle, in a statement, asked homeowners and landscapers to keep the blowers locked away until at least noon ever day.”

Geez, I didn’t know I was in Communist Germany. I should damn well be able to use my leaf-blower at 2 in the morning!

Also asking doesn’t strike me as overreach unless it’s backed by force of law. It does seem that other towns may have a ban.

My twitter feed has a video of a man being dragged off a bus for not wearing a mask, but so far it looks like only tabloids are covering it, so I suspect that might not be the real story.

What about FEMA apparently confiscating ventilators and masks that states have ordered after the government tell the states they are own there own to get same. There also seems to be some playing favorites and strange math. The admistration apparently doesn’t realize Texas has a lot more people than Vermont.

That doesn’t seem like over reach as much as it does politicians playing politics.

In California various cities trying to declare gun shops “non-essential businesses” not solely due to trying to enforce social distancing but also because they want to prevent potential future gun violence.

If you’re doing it just to prevent people from getting the virus is one thing, but doing it to prevent “potential violence” seems fairly unconstitutional.

Agreed. Declaring gunshops non-essential is the same thing as Texas declaring abortion clinics’ work as non-essential. Same totalitarian bullshit, just slightly different versions.

You can go buy a gun in a few months. Not so with an abortion. Therefore, I call bullshit on your calling of bullshit.

I think if you ever need a handgun, you might realize your need for it on an “answer needed quickly” basis. I’d have to agree with pullin — quit using the damn virus as an excuse for doing stuff that was on your desired political agenda already.

If anyone ever needs a handgun, and they haven’t purchased one in the prior whatever years of their life since they were 21, their next option is to call the police… not take a drive down to the gun store and tell the assailant to hang on a few hours.

Telling a woman she has to wait indefinitely for a risk-free medical procedure, run by licensed physicians who are knowledgeable about health risks and so on, perhaps until the patent is no longer legally able to get the abortion, ain’t even in the same planet.

Both sides do it, my ass.

And there’s nothing in the OP that is overreach.

I’ve wondered how these rules and laws can ultimately pass muster with the first amendment with the right to peaceably assemble.

Is it because the amendment says “congress can make no law…” and since it wasn’t congress, the first amendment doesn’t apply?

THis sounds like a potentially dangerous constitutional problem, if an executive you didn’t like started mandating that we can’t assemble during some particularly bad flu season, or fire season, or snow storm…or…bad rain during election day.

From the story:
*“State police said they initially pulled the woman over for a vehicle code violation.”

“State police said “Sunday drives” are not essential travel, but there are no checkpoints and it doesn’t mean that everyone who goes for a drive will get cited or warned.”*

So, it’s something we see every day: you are stopped for some traffic code violation and then anything *else *that the police may observe that could apply, gets applied.

All these orders are being issued under the authority of laws about emergency situations, some having stood for a long time, which do not in spite of ocassional appearances say that “all you gotta do is declare an emergency and you can make up anything”. (Also, “fines up to…” doesn’t mean that everyone will be fined the maximum or at all. But it helps focus people’s attention.)

Quarantines and curfews are not wholly alien to American governance; just that most of us have never had to live it, nor most of our officials had to manage it, at this scale for this long…

What sometimes happens is that in abnormal emergencies, those in charge of enforcement may get confused as to what should be enforced and how. Plus of course the ocassional Respect Mah Authoratah type. In which case you take them to court.

Yes, obviously no one is going to be running down to the gun store as someone is kicking in the front door of their house, pandemic or no pandemic. But, someone could be facing a threat–an angry neighbor or an ex-boyfriend–which isn’t imminent enough to make calling the police feasible, but is potentially sufficiently imminent that action can’t wait for who knows how many weeks or months. “You used the court’s new emergency web-based system to file for a restraining order already? OK, well, call us if he actually shows up at your house. We’ll get there as quick as we can.” Of course most of the increase in gun purchases right now is related to fears over COVID-19, and as such, those fears are somewhat inchoate–though, hey, it’s still people wanting to exercise a constitutional right–but even in a pandemic, life goes on, for both good and ill.

Also, restrictions on public gatherings that are genuinely motivated by attempts to stop the spread of the virus–and only to stop the spread of the virus–might warrant restrictions on gun shops–along with everything else–though there might be ways to accommodate people’s needs and desires short of closing down gun ships completely, like rules restricting (even sharply restricting) the number of customers who can be in the store at any moment. That could make gun purchases inconvenient and even difficult, especially if general demand is spiking, but at least it’s not making them impossible.

But as Asuka alluded to, at least some of the desire to close down gun shops seems to be motivated by agendas unrelated to the need to combat the pandemic. (As are, of course, many if not most of the restrictions on abortion clinics.) From the Slate article “Why Some Democratic Governors Are Avoiding Closing Gun Stores During the Pandemic” from a few days ago:

There are already laws prohibiting felons, domestic abusers, drug addicts, or people who’ve been involuntarily committed from having guns. But it’s not constitutional to prevent people from buying guns for the defense of themselves and their families simply based on a generalized fear of “unprecedented economic pressure and social isolation”.

However, the countries with the highest death rates are those where people have the greatest freedom to ignore orders to protect public safety. More people will die if they are allowed to party through the storm.

As someone living in tornado alley, with very few public storm shelters around, I’m not sure that you’re right on risk calculations.

I did public sheltering a couple times in college (once during classes, once in a late evening) and they’re terribly densely packed. Probably about as bad an environment that can exist for transmission of something like coronavirus. On the flip side tornadoes are unpredictable on the small scale, which is why those public shelters get so crowded, even though the damage paths will affect many fewer people than cram into those basements.

Even assuming your property is hit, you may be safer at home than in a public location. There were 149 recorded tornadoes in OK last year (most on record); 103 weak, 13 strong, 0 violent, and 33 unrateable (because they didn’t hit anything). Out of those, 4 died and 48 were injured. 2 deaths and 29 injuries came from one tornado that came essentially out of nowhere; the news crews were on alert that day, but were taken by surprise by the one that hit (as in, a storm spotter was getting gas across the street from where it hit).

I’d assume that they’ve crunched the numbers and figured that contagious disease transmissions are more dangerous than random damage paths.

How about suspending Democracy in Wisconsin?

By far: Trump calling it a hoax when action was required. Subsequent federal inaction was legendary in its overrech of neglect of the safety of American citizens .

The risk of being hit by a tornado, whether or not you’re in a shelter, is much much lower than the risk of catching Corona from or spreading it to someone you’re sheltering with. I’ve lived in times and places in which I’ve taken cover in a tornado shelter. The vast majority of times, it amounts to a mere precaution.

Yes, I know most of the time it’s a precaution. I live in a place where we regularly get tornado warnings probably 4-5 times a year, and I haven’t been hit by one yet.

However: if you DO happen to be directly in the path of a tornado, and you don’t have a safe place to go, you are really, really screwed. A lot of stuff would have to happen for you to have worse odds in a public shelter: someone else in the shelter would have to have coronavirus in the first place, and you would have to catch it from them (and the odds are that you wouldn’t – only 20% of the Diamond Princess passengers did, and they had days of exposure), and you would have to end up being one of the 1 to 2% of people who die from it.

FWIW, the American Meteorological Society seems to agree with me, since they say in the link that you should NOT let fear of coronavirus deter you from seeking shelter.