The coronavirus cannot kill the spirit of American defiance in the face of government orders Americans believe to be unjust, as shown by Scott Nichols, the sheriff of Franklin County, Maine.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills on Friday issued an executive order that requires all out-of-state travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days to lessen the chance of transmitting coronavirus, according to the Portland Press-Herald. The order also tells would-be visitors not to come to Maine if they have symptoms of the virus. Violators could face up to six months in jail and $1,000 fine.
“While I cannot simply close the state’s border or pull up the Maine-New Hampshire bridge, as a few people have suggested, I will insist that persons entering our state or returning to Maine from somewhere else that they self-quarantine for 14 days,” Mills said, according to the Press-Herald.
“For those people who come to Maine, however, my message is clear: You cannot escape the virus by coming here.”
Like other governors who closed businesses, Mills shut down hotels, motels and other lodging operations in the state, including RV parks and campgrounds.
Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said police will investigate reports of “blatant” violations.
To Nichols, a Republican, the travel ban smacked of the kind of government Americans fight against and not obey, and he posted his manifesto on the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page.
“We will not be setting up a Police State. PERIOD,” he wrote.
“The Sheriff’s Office will not purposefully go out and stop vehicles because they are on the road or stop and ask why people are out and about. To do so puts our officers at risk. This is not Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia where you are asked for your papers!” he wrote.
Maine’s Sheriff responds to Gov. Mill’s stay home order, “WILL NOT BE SETTING UP A POLICE STATE” … “This is not Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia where you are asked for your papers!” Franklin County #Sheriff Scott Nichols added. https://t.co/aL3xL0emXA #Constitution #America
— Dietmar Scherf (@scherfcom) April 4, 2020
Nichols said the sheriff’s office will ensure that common-sense social distancing rules will be enforced.
“What we will take action on, if needed – are those rare situations where there are a lot of people overtly hanging out in public – obviously in defiance of the Governor’s order. Even in that case – we will first educate and try to disperse the group. We will avoid arrests unless absolutely necessary,” he said.
Nichols then issued a plea for everyone to work together.
“Please use common sense during this executive order. We are more interested in the safety and well-being of the public as well as our officers at this time,” he wrote. “With that being said, we are sworn to uphold the Constitution and laws of the State – for any unlawful act/situation, arrestees will be taken into custody and transported for fingerprinting and bail.”
The sheriff said that obey restrictions is the best way to be rid of them.
“The best way to approach the coming days is to treat everyone as though they have the virus. Follow strict CDC guidelines and recommendations, use masks if needed, wash your hands frequently, disinfect, wear gloves and use common sense in all situations. The longer we do NOT follow these guidelines, the longer we wait in isolation,” he said.
In a time of tension, he noted, a little kindness goes a long way.
“Please look out for one another, especially the elderly and shut ins. Please be a good neighbor/citizen always showing compassion. Please be kind especially on social media, negativity online only adds to the stress people are currently experiencing,” he wrote.
Nichols signed his post “Of the People, For the People.”
It got plenty of attention.
— Elliott Whitney (@ElliottGWhitney) April 4, 2020
In an article on PJ Media, writer Megan Fox commended Nichols.
“The sheriffs of America have great power and authority where unconstitutional executive overreach is concerned. All the sheriffs of our nation should start conferencing with Sheriff Nichols immediately to learn more about the limits of their offices,” she wrote.
“Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long for one to come forward with this common-sense response to unlawful acts by state officials. Perhaps a good exercise for people stuck on lockdown would be to call their local sheriff’s office and find out where the local sheriff stands on this very important issue of the people’s rights,” she wrote.
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