On May 12, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer announced that sweeping local coronavirus restrictions will “with all certainty” need to drag on through the summer, and may even continue to some degree until a vaccine becomes available, according to ABC affiliate KGO-TV in San Francisco.
However, the Civil Rights Division of Attorney General Bill Barr’s Department of Justice isn’t so enthusiastic about the prospect of indefinite lockdowns — and according to Breitbart, they made it clear last week that “there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights.”
DOJ issues warning
That warning came Friday in a letter sent by Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband to Ferrer and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
“Reports of your recent public statements indicate that you suggested the possibility of long term lockdown of the residents in the City and County of Los Angeles, regardless of the legal justification for such restrictions,” Dreiband wrote.
While Dreiband acknowledged that local officials like Ferrer and Garcetti have a duty “to protect the health and safety of the residents of the Los Angeles area in the midst of a pandemic that is unprecedented in our lifetimes,” he also made clear that the DOJ has a duty of its own.
“We are charged with protecting the federal statutory and constitutional rights of all persons in our country, and ensuring that governmental restrictions are not unconstitutionally burdensome,” Dreiband noted.
Garcetti responded by stating at a press conference on Saturday that local officials “are not guided by politics,” insisting, “There’s no games, there’s nothing else going on, and that’s the way we’re going to continue to safely open,” according to local CBS affiliate KCAL.
“There’s no city in the world that right now doesn’t have some sort of orders and restrictions because we know this virus kills,” he added.
Suicides up as lockdowns continue
While the mayor spoke of the many tragic deaths that COVID-19 has caused, he was less vocal about the spike in suicides that has accompanied associated lockdowns, yet another devastating side effect of the current state of affairs in California.
“We’ve never seen numbers like this, in such a short period of time,” Dr. Mike deBoisblanc told KGO-TV. “I mean we’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks,” the Bay Area physician added.
Meanwhile, trauma nurse Kacey Hansen said that these are the worst figures that she has seen in over three decades. “What I have seen recently, I have never seen before,” Hansen lamented, according to the ABC affiliate. “I have never seen so much intentional injury.”
It appears that not only do endless lockdowns jeopardize the fundamental constitutional freedoms of those subjected to them, they also likely pose a serious risk to the mental health and physical safety of the individuals they are, in theory, meant to protect.