Every now and then, a viral video comes along that isn’t so much about what is happening during the moment captured as it is about what is going on in the world at large.
Such is the case with recent footage of an incident in which a police officer reportedly told a 93-year-old couple they were not allowed to sit on folding chairs on a beach in Oxnard, California.
The clip says more about the government’s overreach during the coronavirus pandemic than it does about what happened to the couple.
YouTube user John Smith’s video couldn’t be independently verified, but The Daily Wire reported on the incident Monday, and the news outlet’s editor-in-chief, Ben Shapiro, said he is friends with someone close to the story.
According to report, the problem arose because setting up a folding chair in the sand created a “a permanent place as opposed to the temporary nature of sitting on the sand itself.”
Although the clip appeared to show that the officer on horseback was courteous, he did approach the couple to tell them, “I’m not supposed to allow chairs.”
He even seemed apologetic as he further explained the rule he was enforcing. Bystanders came to the couple’s defense, and one shouted, “They’re old people!”
Shapiro also tweeted about the incident. Although he mentioned a friend who was present, he didn’t specify if that was the person who posted the footage.
“A friend of mine took his family to the beach in Oxnard today” he explained.
“Yes, they were socially distancing. About thirty feet away, the police proceeded to tell a 93-year-old couple — sitting away from people on beach chairs — that they could sit on the sand but not on the chairs,” Shapiro wrote.
“The reason? Apparently, the police have been informed that it’s okay to swim or walk or sit in ‘temporary fashion,’ but chairs represent permanence. Even for 93-year-olds. Because everyone is an idiot.”
The reason? Apparently, the police have been informed that it’s okay to swim or walk or sit in “temporary fashion,” but chairs represent permanence. Even for 93-year-olds. Because everyone is an idiot.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) April 27, 2020
A spring heat wave brought tens of thousands to area beaches over the weekend, which apparently spooked California Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose state has been virtually locked down since he enacted a March 19 executive order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
In a news conference Monday, the Democratic governor seemed to dangle the prospect of lifting the onerous stay-at-home order, but said that the decision would be driven by residents’ “behavior.”
“This virus doesn’t take the weekends off,” Newsom said.
“This virus doesn’t go home because it’s a beautiful, sunny day around our coasts.”
He seemed to take issue with the previous weekend’s crowds and chided residents that he didn’t want to “see the images like we saw, particularly on Saturday in Newport Beach and elsewhere in the state of California,” even as he acknowledged most people on beaches practiced social distancing.
On Thursday, Newsom went a step further, closing all state parks and beaches in Orange County.
The coronavirus poses a serious threat to Californians, but the finger-wagging from Newsom coupled with such nitpicky regulations that prohibit elderly residents from using beach chairs demonstrate how impactful sweeping stay-at-home orders around the country have become.
Stories pop up frequently of outrageous incidents, such as the instance of police cuffing a man for letting his daughter play ball in an empty field or the baffling example of an Idaho woman facing a fine and prison time for holding a yard sale, just to name a couple.
Basic freedoms are falling by the wayside as governments clamp down on the most innocent of activities, regardless of the actual risk to health and safety involved.
Sitting in a chair while social distancing is not an effective way to spread coronavirus.
Prohibiting such an activity, however, is an effective way to spread authoritarian control.
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