End shelter in place |Letter

Editor’s note: “The [U.S.] Constitution … does not import an absolute right in each person to be, at all times and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint.” Instead, “a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic.” Community members “may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand,” Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote in the decision for Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905) wherein the latter refused a mandatory vaccination and was prosecuted. The court upheld the conviction. Article I, Section 2 of the Washington State Constitution recognizes the U.S. Constitution as the supreme law of the land. The things the governor is allowed to restrict in times of emergency can be found in RCW 43.06.220.

Decisive actions need to be taken during crises. Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of Washington declares, “All political power is inherent in the People and governments…established to protect and maintain individual rights.” In the face of the coronavirus outbreak, I call upon our elected local officials to uphold their oath to the Constitution and reaffirm their commitment through specific, actionable policies and protocols to protect the rights of the Citizens in our County.

It’s time to reopen our communities for business. We have complied with the Governor’s shelter-in-place proclamation and, having effectively mitigated the spread of the coronavirus, it has been 18+ days since peak fatalities and resource use. However, now we face an even greater threat to the health, well-being and livelihood of Citizens. The devastating consequences of this lockdown are already causing widespread negative impacts. EVERY DAY THE SHUTDOWN IS EXTENDED INCREASES THE EXTENT OF THIS ECONOMIC DISASTER.

Therefore, I respectfully call upon our local officials to immediately implement the following actions:

1. Lift the emergency restrictions on residential construction.

2. Lift the emergency restrictions on fishing.

3. Lift the emergency restrictions on First Amendment activities including peaceable assembly and religious activities.

4. Lift the emergency restrictions on Second Amendment activities, starting with removing FFL licensees’ restrictions.

5. Lift the emergency restrictions on all other businesses for the protection of the individual rights of owners, employees and clientele.

6. Refuse to comply to the demands by the Governor or any other officials to release inmates from incarceration.

As a citizen of Washington state, I urge our elected representatives to make the right call and go harder to protect the rights of the People and carry out their wishes.

Sincerely,

Ben Troutman

San Juan Island