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Readers’ Views

Heart of the community

To the Editor:

These shutdowns have put a stranglehold on independent store owners and employees in our town. Open up our town. Let the citizens decide whether they want to patronize a restaurant or get their hair cut. If you don’t feel safe, stay home. Just let the rest of us live.

Diane Tow

Fairmont

Walz acting as king

To the Editor:

If you have ever been the victim of robbery, you know how violated it makes you feel.

Consider three examples of a business owner being robbed: In the first, the owner comes in one morning to find his shop broken into and cleaned out — a lifetime of hard work stolen. “We were robbed!” He contacts the police and hopes he can recover his losses.

In the second, there is civil unrest in his town (perhaps a riot), so the owner stays in his shop to protect it, but when the mob comes and breaks into his shop, he is overpowered, his building it ransacked and everything is taken.

In the third, the owner runs a lawful business, but one day the government shuts it during a state of emergency. He has no income for an extended period of time, and when his shop is allowed to open with severe government-imposed restrictions, he cannot make a profit and goes bankrupt. It was all done quite legally by the government. There is no one to arrest and no way to retrieve his lost business, though he was threatened with fines, loss of license to do business and even arrest if he violated the government’s order.

When our governor, Tim Walz, declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic, he gained the power to make and enforce ordinances that have the force of law. In the fearful uncertainty of how severe the pandemic might be, his actions seemed reasonable at the time. But we soon discovered that one man (with the rubber stamp of his executive council) could take control of nearly every part of our lives. He got to decide which businesses were essential and could stay open (under the conditions he set down) and those that could not. He decided how our children would be educated (or not, actually) without the consent of elected school boards. He got to decide whether we could leave our homes and which people we could or could not associate with. He decided that we were not free to exercise our faith in our churches. He decided that our children cannot participate in sports or other activities with their friends and classmates. He decided that people could not get married or hold funerals with more than a handful of people present. He decided which leisure activities we could and could not participate in. He decided these and many other things all under the force of law that neither the Legislature nor citizens have had the right to question.

Violating his orders constitutes a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail. For businesses, a violation is a gross misdemeanor, with a maximum fine of $3,000 and a year in jail.

In addition to those criminal penalties, the Attorney General, as well as city and county attorneys, may seek any civil relief available, including penalties up to $25,000 per occurrence from businesses as well as injunctive relief.

The governor has “graciously” begun to restore our freedoms, as if they belonged to him and originate with him. But keep this in mind: As long as he thinks there is the need for a “state of emergency” to exist, what the governor gives, the governor can take away. He remains in control of most every aspect of our lives. Gov. Walz essentially functions as the King of Minnesota right now, the Lord and Ruler of our lives.

Anthony Bertram

Fairmont

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