Throw the book at them

The news is full of stories about people who are going to defy the governor's orders restricting activity in light of the raging coronavirus, which is threatening the state's health care system. Defy, defy, defy. The other day Tootie the Clackistani Rebel promised defiance at her house on Thanksgiving, and yesterday a guy who runs five gyms around Salem said he's staying open.

Up until this point, none of the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of Covid have been backed by any real enforcement. But now people are testing the system, and so it's time for some enforcement before the whole system collapses.

As I understand it, disobeying the orders is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,250 and up to 30 days in jail. The governor should have the state police stop by Tootie's place on Thanksgiving and drop off a $1,250 ticket. They could sing a bar or two of "Alice's Restaurant" and walk out.

As for the Salem gym guy, if he's got five locations, that's $6,250 in fines every day he's open. That could put him into bankruptcy pretty quickly. Besides that, I'm sure he has at least one city business license that could be revoked. And if his operation is in an Oregon corporation, the attorney general could seek to revoke the corporation's charter.

You also have to wonder what his liability insurance company makes of what he's doing. If somebody gets hurt while he's open illegally, is he covered? How about the trainers and others who work in those facilities – are they on the hook when somebody pops a ligament?

I respect people's willingness to suffer the consequences of standing up for what they believe in. Here the beliefs are profoundly stupid and selfish, however, and I hope there are ample consequences for me to admire.


  1. I've been saying this for months. The church group of a couple of hundred in Waterfront Park with no masks on, not a single report or even rumor of somebody cited for violating the Governor's order(s) on social distancing and wearing masks and restricting the number of people at a church or social gathering. Can you blame the police for not wanting to cite them, the police are already around lots of people with poor hygiene practices and spit and blood. And for those who make it a political statement it's a great way to assert your freedom as an American, the country where the number of deaths and infections goes up and down like a yoyo each week, and where so many citizens will speak of "their rights" at the drop of the hat, but seldom speak of "their duties" since "nobody is going to tell me what to do." And that is true until you get Covid 19 virus and perhaps suffer acute respiratory distress, have an endotracheal tube placed down your throat, go into delirium and spend days if not weeks in the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital hooked up to a ventilator. As had been said, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a lb. of cure.


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