Prescription for Panic: Some Local Governments Adding To Fear With Their Decisions

As cities across the country announce new restrictions on businesses and are encouraging individuals to limit contact with one another and practice social distancing, they’re also putting in place new strategies to help frontline workers like police, EMTs and paramedics, and firefighters stay healthy and on the job during the pandemic.

In order to do so, however, some local leaders are only adding to the panic and fear felt by many Americans right now. Does it help or hurt when Baltimore’s mayor urges gang members to quit shooting each other because the city needs the hospital beds? What about the mayor of San Jose declaring that gun stores aren’t essential businesses and must close, even though we’re seeing record numbers of Americans flock to gun stores to purchase firearms and ammunition?

Andrew Langer is the president of the Institute for Liberty, as well as a talk show host in Baltimore and an adjunct professor at William & Mary in Virginia. He joins me on today’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co to discuss how Baltimore’s crime rate could be impacted by what the mayor and local prosecutor are telling residents.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby ordered her staff Wednesday to drop all pending charges against people arrested for certain non-violent crimes.

Some of those crimes include drug possession, prostitution, trespassing, minor traffic offenses, urinating in public and other non-violent crimes.

Mosby said the decision is to prevent the spread of coronavirus behind bars.

The concern, of course, isn’t that we’re suddenly going to see widespread prostitution and urinating in public, but that the law-abiding and the law-breakers may both see this as a sign that the public safety system cannot be maintained during this state of emergency.

Langer says that, as bad as Baltimore’s crime rate has been the past few years, it could get even worse if there’s a sense that law and order is breaking down. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen.

There are similar concerns about the actions of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who declared that gun stores aren’t “essential businesses” and therefore have to close down during the shelter-in-place order that was issued earlier this week. If people feel like they can’t protect themselves, that’s only going to lead to an increase in fear, and a government shutdown of a gun store is going to breed not just fear but distrust of the local government at a time when we need openness, honesty, and transparency from elected officials.

Meanwhile, Langer himself is riding out the coronavirus in the Peninsula District of Virginia, where the state’s largest outbreak of coronavirus has been reported. What’s life like there, and what are people doing to protect themselves? Langer says most Virginians are taking the outbreak seriously, and offers up some solid advice from his wife in the healthcare field; act like you yourself are infected when around other people to avoid close contact and help maintain social distancing.

Check out the entire interview above, as well as today’s armed citizen story, our recidivist report, and ways that you may be able to perform a good deed during these troubled times. Thanks as always for watching, listening, and spreading the word! Friday’s Cam & Co. will feature a lot of your emails, so if you have any questions or comments send them my way at [email protected]