×

Death by indirection

To the Journal editor:

Extreme Libertarians or gun-bearing Patriots might think of freedom as absolute, as might also the President, who said he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody.”

But for the rest of us, freedom is necessarily limited. It’s why we have laws. Were we to shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue, we’d go to jail.

But the Governor’s mask-requirement is a different kind of law from the law the President would defy on Fifth Avenue because of the gap between the defiant act and its consequence. In this regard, it’s like seatbelt laws, which, as Tim Skubick noted, similarly roiled the public when states began requiring them. (The only outlier still without a seatbelt law is New Hampshire, whose motto is “Live free or die.”)

The problem with this kind of law is that, when you break it, nobody dies. When you don’t wear a mask, no one starts gasping for breath.

By the time anyone starts gasping, you’re off in Florida having fun. So, despite your good record for not killing people, you might, directly or indirectly, actually kill someone.

How many people have died or led someone else to die by imitating the President’s choice not to wear a mask?

Even one death would make him also, indirectly, a killer. And when he urges states to open up, and they do, and more people start dying, as predicted-that also would make him, indirectly, a killer.

Call this death by indirection, it’s no less death for that.

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)