martial law guys
© Zeferli/iStock
I believe strongly in being prudent and also being peaceful. But I have questions - tough questions - and my purpose is to keep and embolden a strong and civil America.

COVID-19 cases are growing faster and faster by the day, and so are the numbers of those who are dying from it. As a result, a growing number of states in the U.S., like California, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois, are asking most businesses to shut down and every citizen to "lockdown" or "shelter in place," except for very limited "essentials" like running out for groceries, medicine, etc. Interestingly, or maybe not, increasing at the same time as the above, are what will be more and more law enforcement crackdowns on city-wide curfews and other citizen restrictions.

The questions I have are these:

If the need for citizen confinement grows, and the restrictions increase, where does it end? And what excessive burden are we then placing upon law enforcement to corral even half of Americans (150 million)? And if even the smallest transgression of confinement restrictions ends up being a misdemeanor, how will officials handle tens of millions of them? And do we not think cops, who have to enforce confinement rules, will not come in closer proximity with those infected with the coronavirus and contract it themselves? And if those numbers continue to grow, won't we end up with the same shortage of law enforcement as we will hospital personnel? And wouldn't it follow that our courts become overloaded and burdened with misdemeanor cases just as our medical facilities are with COVID-19 cases?

And most critical of all, as I'm sure it is being pondered in the rooms of the White House as well as the corridors of Congress: How long can we allow Americans, who are a freedom-loving people and patriots, to be under "lockdown" in their own homes without working? Many scientists and specialists are even now calling the federal government to a five-week national lockdown? Do we expect the majority to simply comply? Will they have the resources and wherewithal to go the distance without resistance?

Do we not eventually expect small rebellions or even massive ones to occur in the not-so-distant future if growing requests for lockdowns and deprivations persist? And what will it take for state officials to tip over the morphing milieu of chaos to create the need themselves (based upon the pretense of protection) to call on military intervention and enact martial law? Does that really sound so far-fetched when freedom-loving Americans across our union are being asked to sacrifice their wages, their welfare and stay confined to their homes for weeks on end?

If you aren't familiar with martial law, it is
"the imposition of direct military control of normal civilian functions by a government, especially in response to a temporary emergency such as invasion or major disaster, or in an occupied territory." (Wikipedia)
Martial law is described this way in the 1942 Harvard Law Review:
"Martial law is more accurately described as martial rule, which obtain in a domestic community when the military authority carries on the government, or at least some of its functions."
Or even more succinct, as the Military Times defined it this week:
"In simple terms, martial law is the replacement of civil rule with temporary military authority in a time of crisis. Martial law can be declared by both the president and by Congress. The governor of a state may also declare martial law if it is included in that state's constitution. However, Congress has never solely imposed it."
Of course, any rational mind is going to say: "Martial law would never happen" - right? You mean, just like any rational mind would also say:
No single virus would ever race across the country and cause the economic engine of the United States to come to a grinding halt and the mass of people to be led into a pandemonium of fear by 24-hour news cycles that empty store shelves of toilet paper and diapers?
Even after being repeatedly asked and denying he would ever enact martial law, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo prompted many to worry as he walked down the slippery slope of calling on New York's National Guard to promote civility. Then, over the weekend, President Trump granted the governors in California, Washington and New York to call up their National Guard.

Article I, Section 6, Paragraph 1, of the military chapter of the Consolidated Laws of New York reads:
The governor shall have power, in case of invasion, disaster, insurrection, riot, breach of the peace, or imminent danger thereof, to order into the active service of the state for such period, to such extent and in such manner as he may deem necessary all or any part of the organized militia. Such power shall include the power to order the organized militia or any part thereof to function under the operational control of the United States army, navy or air force commander in charge of the defense of any area within the state which is invaded or attacked or is or may be threatened with invasion or attack.
Article I, Section 9, then takes those rules a step further:
Whenever any portion of the organized militia is employed pursuant to section six of this chapter, the governor, if in his judgment the maintenance of law and order will thereby be promoted, may by proclamation declare the county or city in which the troops are serving or any specified portion thereof, to be under martial rule.
Sunday before last, four days before his basic universal moratorium on social activity for 40 million Californians, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press conference that martial law was not necessary to combat coronavirus in his state. At least, that is what he hopes. He added:
"If you want to establish a framework of martial law, which is ultimate authority and enforcement, we have the capacity to do that, but we are not feeling at this moment that is a necessity."
It's those three small words, "at this moment," that prompt every Constitution-loving, Second Amendment gun-toting American to quiver in his boots.

Do government officials think it is a pure coincidence that there is again another run on guns and ammunition across the U.S.? So, are Americans paranoid, or just preparing?

Notice how one Oakland, California, gun shop owner responded to the Golden State governor's call to remain indoors and non-essential businesses to close, according to WGN-TV:

Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelley said Thursday that a gun shop called Solar Tactical remains open, despite the order. He said officers have advised the shop to close.
"We'll start out nice," Kelley said. "Then we'll post a notice to close, and then we will take enforcement."

Solar Tactical did not answer phone calls nor immediately respond to messages sent through its website. A message on its Facebook page said the store is now operating on an appointment-only basis and urged customers to call local police to protest the effort to close it.

"Your Second Amendment right is no longer considered essential during forced shelter in place," the shop said. "Please share and get the word out. Call your local officials, news stations, and Alameda County Sheriffs office to let them know how you feel about your Second Amendment rights being taken away."
Are political leaders listening, really? Just because you're right on an issue or even fighting for a cause like disease prevention, doesn't mean the end outcome isn't inciting division. Think!

I would highly suggest our state and national leaders rethink what are "essentials" or even what are perceived as essentials to warrant mobility and commerce, and they should include not restricting our constitutional Bill of Rights. In my opinion, that will inevitably and eventually lead to mayhem.

The Military Times asked this simple question this past week: "Will Coronavirus lead to Martial Law?"

At the end of the article, this was the answer:
"For now, no major mobilizations have occurred, and the power to call up the National Guard remains with the states, including for drill weekends and other duties."
"I trust the [state adjutants general] will continue to make decisions at their level to ensure our force of 450,000 people will be ready when their governors call." Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, in a press release last Monday.

I'm not trying to make anyone panic. Really. My wife, Gena, and I are not panicked at all. But we are prudent, and we've seen these tea leaves before. Anyone remember the modern-day tea party movement? Dare I add, the older Boston Tea Party? They might not have rallied around viruses, but they did protest against being pushed too far and having their freedoms restricted for too long.

Americans have a tipping point, let there be no doubt about it. We haven't traveled our two centuries of freedom-loving progress, filled with wars and veterans who have shed life and limb, to regress and be placed into liberty-inhibiting shackles. We're not there yet, I agree, but I would doubly caution state and federal leaders from asking citizens to go beyond that which they are able or capable.

Americans are and will lovingly sacrifice to stop the spread of a disease, and especially to keep others who are "weak" from being infected by it. That's also what makes the greatness and goodness of Americans.

But the leaders of our communities, states and country need to remember and never forget that old historical adage: "Learn from history or you'll be doomed to repeat it." It's a slippery slope to socialism, and the same slope slips to tyranny, even if you're doing great things like battling diseases.