The sheriff of Snohomish County, Washington made headlines on Tuesday when, in a stunning rebuke of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), he declared on Facebook that he would not enforce the inconsistent, tyrannical stay-at-home coronavirus orders emanating from Olympia.
Sheriff Adam Fortney said that Inslee had proven himself to be incompetent in his leadership – or lack thereof – during the crisis and that he, Fortney, would no longer sit by and stay silent.
“I just watched the governor’s speech to Washingtonian’s regarding our approach to getting Washington back in business, and I am left to wonder if he even has a plan?” wrote Fortney. “To be quite honest, I wasn’t even sure what he was trying to say half of the time. He has no plan. He has no details. This simply is not good enough in times when we have taken such drastic measures as the suspension of constitutional rights.”
Fortney said that he did not dispute the “very real” dangers of the coronavirus, and he was not questioning the need for social distancing. However, he said, there was a wide gulf between a responsible approach to the virus’s threat and the authoritarian solutions coming from the governor.
“This is a very serious issue and the appropriate precautions need to be taken to protect our most vulnerable populations,” he wrote. “However, our communities have already shown and continue to show they understand the severity of the situation and are doing all they can already to keep themselves, their families, and neighbors safe and healthy.”
Fortney said that despite all of that, “it’s clear that the models have not been entirely accurate,” and he emphasized that it was important for Washington residents to find a way forward that matches the most up-to-date data.
He said that Inslee’s approach not only disregarded the changing models but made nonsensical distinctions between essential and non-essential businesses. He wondered why marijuana dispensaries would stay open while gun stores were forced to close. He questioned the wisdom of shutting down private construction while allowing government construction to continue.
“If this Coronavirus is so lethal and we have shut down our roaring economy to save lives, then it should be all or nothing,” the sheriff argued. “The government should not be picking winners or losers when it comes to being able to make an income for your family. If the virus is so lethal it shouldn’t matter whether you are building a school for the government, building a new housing development, restaurant owner, or you happen to be an independent contractor.”
He concluded: “As your elected Sheriff I will always put your constitutional rights above politics or popular opinion. We have the right to peaceably assemble. We have the right to keep and bear arms. We have the right to attend church service of any denomination. The impacts of COVID 19 no longer warrant the suspension of our constitutional rights. Along with other elected Sheriffs around our state, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing an order preventing religious freedoms or constitutional rights.”
Damn. This guy ought to be the governor of Washington. He actually seems interested in doing the job and not, like Inslee, using it as a platform to attack Trump.