Are you wearing your mask? If not, are you willing to deal with the sheriff?
If you reside in Butler County, Ohio, there’s no need to worry.
On Thursday, Sheriff Richard Jones took to Fox News program Outnumbered Overtime with simple words of defiance: He “will not enforce” a mask requirement in the state. That’s despite Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s mouth-and-nose-covering edict.
On Tuesday, Mike issued an order mandating masks be worn in counties with high COVID-19 numbers. Furthermore, he asked athletes in the state to spread the hashtag #IWantASeason as a compliance booster.
For many at the moment, the governor may not be batting 1,000 — as covered by RedState’s Mike Miller July 2nd, he did nothing to stop the undoing of a 22-foot statue of Christopher Columbus in…wait for it…Columbus.
A 22-foot-tall statue of Christopher Columbus was removed from outside the Columbus, Ohio, city hall after the city's mayor called for it to come down. https://t.co/KXOxAPIUUf pic.twitter.com/F63b0OpXVD
— ABC News (@ABC) July 1, 2020
Back to Richard, he’s got his reasons for not wanting to police your punum. For one — as the lawman explained to anchor Harris Faulkner — law enforcement offices are facing budget crises and need to prioritize.
So to all Ohioans ready to report barefaced Buckeyes, Richard’s putting out a “don’t bother calling” type of vibe:
“We are not going to enforce any mask-wearing. I’ve told people not to call my dispatch center. We can’t be bogged down with people calling and saying, ‘My neighbor is not wearing a mask, this person is not wearing a mask.’ So, I’m not going to enforce it. I’m sworn in by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Ohio and I’m not gonna enforce it.”
He’s also not going to “write citations.”
“I’m not gonna be the mask police, period.”
Richard also has an explanation for recent spikes: The surging areas are “doing more testing.”
As reported by The Daily Caller, he added that Butler County hospitals are only at 10% capacity.
Here’s more from the Caller:
According to local paper the Journal-News, Butler County has had a total of 1,397 confirmed and probable coronavirus cases as of July 1.
In the same report, spokeswoman for the Health Collaborative Christa Hyson told the Journal-News that “… three weeks ago we had about 60 patients with COVID-19 in our southwest Ohio hospitals, now we are more than double that,” but added that she felt hospital capacity was still in a good position to handle all patients.
Despite people testing positive, Richard relayed to Harris, by and large, they’re “not going to the hospital. The hospitals have laid people off. … The hospitals are not overrun or overfull. They are overtested. That is all it is.”
Given the spike in cases, maybe that was all that happened to 22-foot-tall Columbus in the city named for him — he didn’t so much get removed as fell ill: He’s now exploring the coronavirus.
His giant self was also really old — the work of art had been given to the city by Genoa, Spain in 1955.
Maybe if people’d worn masks, Christopher wouldn’t have gotten sick. Even so, Richard Jones wasn’t hired to fight germs.
And he’s not about to start now. But he has a suggestion of who can:
“[C]all the governor’s office. Or call the health department. They can put a little yellow light on their car, and they can stop people for it.”
In light of societal tumult, the sheriff’s even laid back on speeding tickets. He thinks people could use a break:
“Ease up. People are angry. They’re fed up. This is in the heartland. They’re tired. And they’re confused with the messages that are going back and forth.”
“[Wearing a mask] should be a choice,” he insisted. “You shouldn’t have to wear a mask if you don’t want to.”
See 3 more pieces from me:
Find all my RedState work here.
Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.