Empower Wisconsin | June 17, 2020
By Eric Boehm, Reason
There’s probably no better demonstration of the nonsensical nature of America’s ongoing coronavirus lockdowns than the scene that played out on Monday at a playground in Brooklyn.
Middleton Playground, in the New York City borough’s Williamsburg neighborhood, had been closed since June 1 for “social distancing violations”—because children were using the playground to, well, play. After repeated violations of the closure order, the city dispatched workers to the playground on Monday to weld the gates shut.
“We had to secure the location and did not have our typical resources available so as a short term fix we welded one of four entrances shut,” a spokesman for the city’s parks department told National Review‘s Zachary Evans.
Residents of the neighborhood soon took matters into their own hands.
Breaking news: Middleton Playground in Williamsburg has been liberated. Bolt cutters and a Boro Park radio(?) personality named Heshy were involved. Local state assemblyman on hand too pic.twitter.com/88LLUKhtCE
— Armin Rosen (@ArminRosen) June 15, 2020
This is the state of affairs all across America nearly three months after quarantines, lockdowns, and stay-at-home orders were first imposed to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of COVID-19 cases is rising in many places, prompting fears that reopening plans could be halted or reversed. But public officials—from the ones running the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio—have largely squandered the public trust that would be necessary to impose another round of shutdowns.
People are understandably frustrated that for months they were forbidden from attending weddings or funerals for loved ones because officials said gatherings of more than 10 or 25 people were a public health threat—only to see many of those same officials cheer massive protests that have spread through cities in recent weeks.
Thousands of people gathered outside of the Brooklyn Museum for a Black Trans Lives Matter rally on Sunday, but a few dozen kids can’t go to a playground on Monday?
Some officials, including de Blasio, have tried to explain this seeming contradiction away by arguing that the protests matter so much that violations of lockdowns and social distancing should be tolerated. But the relative values of social justice and playtime don’t matter much to the average American, who is now far more likely to roll his or her eyes at the idea that we should modulate our concern about spreading a deadly disease for some social activities but not others.
Of course, the alternative to another set of lockdowns is pretty grim too.
Sure, you can probably expect most civic and state officials to handle things with considerably more finesse than de Blasio. The next round of lockdowns, if they occur, are unlikely to involve literally locking the public out of certain spaces. But that may not matter, now that people have decided to bring bolt-cutters.
Read more from Eric Boehm at Reason.com