As the COVID-19 virus continues its march across the United States, many government officials are struggling to figure how just how to deal with the spread of the deadly disease. For many, it’s essential to balance what may look like the public good and civil liberties. It’s not an easy tightrope to walk by any stretch of the imagination.
However, some lawmakers aren’t sweating the whole idea of civil liberties. They’re ready to go full jackboot at the drop of a hat, apparently.
Governor Gavin Newsom said during a press conference on Tuesday he would consider implementing martial law if it was necessary to curb the novel virus.
“We have the ability to do martial law … if we feel the necessity,” he said.
Now, martial law has been declared from time to time in the midst of a natural disaster. During that time, civil rule becomes replaced with military rule. That’s never a good thing, but it’s arguably necessary in the midst of something huge like the aftermath of a hurricane or tornados. Especially if there’s some degree of civil unrest in that aftermath, such as looting.
But this is a different matter entirely. With a natural disaster, you always know things will get better and generally do so in a relatively short period of time. With a pandemic, though, it’s something else entirely. We don’t have any clue when this crisis will pass. While it’s unlikely to be too prolonged, we don’t necessarily know for a fact that it won’t.
That makes declaring martial law at a time like this worrisome.
Well, that and the fact that this is California.
You see, this is an anti-gun state with some degree of firearm registration in place. In particular, so-called “assault weapons” are registered. As people like Newsom like to wet their pants over such weapons, don’t be surprised if martial law also leads to firearm confiscation under some nebulous claims about public welfare.
Already, some government officials are trying to cut off the supply of guns for those who may wish to own them. Cam already talked about San Jose earlier today.
Couple that with Newsom’s readiness to declare martial law and we have a problematic situation brewing in the state.
Make no mistake, there’s no reason to even consider such a draconian measure. Not at this time. While things are tense, there’s no civil unrest to speak of and people are dealing with what happened readily enough. Local governments and law enforcement can more than handle what’s happening so far.
So why would Newsom even suggest martial law?
My guess is that he, on some level, hopes to have the justification for it so he can finally do whatever he wants and no one will be prepared to stop him. That may well include gun confiscation.
Of course, that might also spark a civil war in the midst of a pandemic. If you think the Big Igloo boys aren’t willing to fight just because of a virus, you’re sorely mistaken. I suspect a lot of people have masks with filters that can handle the virus just fine, so if Newsom thinks this is how to disarm the populace, he’s mistaken.
It’s also possible, and maybe even far more likely, that Newsom hasn’t even thought that far ahead. He may not even have pondered the ramifications of martial law.
After all, he hasn’t struck me as being all that bright.