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California mayor: Going maskless is an act of domestic terrorism and should be treated like one

Few places in America have been as on board with “crush the virus” policies as California. Mask mandates galore, millions of children kept out of school, massive restrictions on commerce, travel and worship.

And for what?

According to The New York Times’ coronavirus tracker, the Golden State reported 17,696 new COVID-19 cases on Nov. 30. That was the highest single-day total since the pandemic began. And the trend line in California mirrors that of the entire nation, suggesting it doesn’t matter whether a state goes Stalin-light like California or is more libertarian and free-ranging, like South Dakota.

But the conflicted exasperation caused by coronavirus politics is on full display through the rhetoric of the mayor in one city in Los Angeles County.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the city of Lancaster wants other nearby municipalities to join with it in creating a regional health department, and get from under the jurisdiction of the countywide agency. City leaders will consider the issue at a meeting on Wednesday.

Lancaster officials apparently reached a tipping point when elected county supervisors backed a health department ban on outdoor dining as an anti-spread initiative.

Mayor Rex Parris complained that county officials “are doing exactly the same thing they did in March and April. “Across L.A. County, thousands of restaurants were gearing up for Thanksgiving,” Parris continued, according to the Daily News. Now, “they are driving these people into bankruptcy.”

As the Daily News reported, “Parris acknowledged that the county’s first stay-home efforts back in March were justified, but he said subsequent efforts to tighten and untighten are not working.”

But for all his griping about oppressive yet ineffective measures, Parris himself demonstrated a dictatorial tendency.

“If it were up to me,” he said, “anybody not wearing a mask when they are out in public would be arrested. That’s an act of domestic terrorism and should be treated like one.”

Commenting on the mayor’s rant, Western Journal contributor Cameron Arcand noted, “It is understandable that Parris, who has likely been dealing with pandemic related matters for months is frustrated at those who are not wearing masks, especially being an official in Los Angeles County. After all, mask-wearing is the latest trend, and not wearing one is now considered a fashion faux-pas and a crime against humanity.”

“But to equate non-compliance to domestic terrorism is unreasonable, especially when domestic terrorism charges are known for being incredibly harsh. Although many people get annoyed at those who do not take precautions and view them as inconsiderate, most would not go as far to say they are in the category of violent political extremists.”

No, most of us would not. But the pandemic has shown that many leaders are power-mad and eager to control so much of their fellow citizens’ lives. After all, Parris proposed making his city the first in California to require masks and so his attitude is likely more prevalent than we care to admit.

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