After calling for no fireworks for California's 4th of July, Gavin Newsom was in for a surprise
Amid a new outbreak of the coronavirus, California's Gavin Newsom was adamant that no firework celebrations be done on the Fourth of July, because the public simply could not be trusted to socially distance.
Addressing the counties on California's watchlist, he explained, "We have worked with those counties, the 19 counties that are mandatory closure lists and we have made it clear privately- now we're making it more abundantly clear publicly- that we believe that they should consider canceling some of their fireworks shows and presentations. By the way, a number of cities have done just that, LA in San Francisco."
In his address, Newsom said family gatherings have contributed to the state's recent increase in transmission — and that it's an understandable impulse to want to get together, especially over a long holiday weekend.
"Patriotism in a COVID-19 environment can be expressed in a little bit different way," Newsom said, asking people to reconsider attending gatherings with those who are not in their immediate household.
Also, holidays mean celebration, and that often means alcohol. The governor said people may start off a gathering with good intentions, wearing face masks, but after a drink or two, might let their guard (as well as their masks) down — and begin to mix in ways that increase the transmission of COVID-19.
It's likely that Newsom's suggestion was more than a suggestion. Newsom has, after all, conditioned state aid on cities and counties following his orders, and set up 'strike forces' to go after people not wearing masks as well as small businesses operating in contravention to his shutdown orders.
And much to his surprise, he got this:
Fireworks in Richmond, California— Denis Ivan Perez (@dpi_19) July 5, 2020
(Song: Glory by Lil Wayne) pic.twitter.com/sxpraU4Cto
Fireworks looking south over San Jose. pic.twitter.com/VAkZM0sRMx— Niranjan Tulpule (@NiranjanTulpule) July 5, 2020
Here's economically battered Fresno, from a scold of a reporter looking to see those tickets issued:
Stop #4 (probably the most active call we’ve been to)— Jenna Liston FOX 26 (@JennaListonTV) July 5, 2020
Here’s a $1,000 ticket. pic.twitter.com/evuOYWykyv
There were a lot more - the entire state was lit up with illegal fireworks.
Surfers in their dozens ignored the no-surfing orders, too, and this time, no lawmen went into the water to chase after them to issue tickets.
Illegal fireworks were once the province of illegal immigrants bringing in the lawless ways of Mexico, but now it appears that everyone is doing them, thumbing their nose at the law same as is done in Mexico and beyond.
It goes to show that when the state overreaches, and puts out an unreasonable demand, widespread disobedience is going to be the result. It happens in Mexico, now it's happening here. Irish democracy, as Instapundit puts it.
It was in fact an unreasonable request. Fireworks are the highlight of the premier summer holiday, the Fourth of July, as well as an expression of patriotic sentiment, something Newsom's Democrats haven't placed a lot of value on of late.
They're something little kids look forward to, little cooped up kids even more so, and parents of little cooped up kids most of all.
They're also free, and in a state devastated by massive unemployment due to all of Newsom's previous shutdowns, a rare something the newly impoverished can enjoy, too.
Yet even on science grounds, Newsom's call for no fireworks were dubious. Firework shows are all outdoor shows and outdoor affairs are easiest to socially distance - even some pockets of unregulated protest, such as New York, showed few new cases. Some of the Indian casinos in California hosted firework shows with all the protocols of social distancing, too, but large cities such as Los Angeles with millions of firework fans were all told no. COVID in fact is spread by indoor affairs with a lot of shouting - such as nursing homes and prisons - where the worst COVID results have been seen. Newsom emptied the prisons on this ground, but ordered COVID patients into the nursing homes, where no one could get out.
Now, it's better to have state-regulated large displays everyone can watch than the small, do-it-yourself displays often put on as a result of easy access to fireworks for purchase over the Mexican border. Numerous fires came of the shows not put on by the pros, which is sure to become a scolding point. But in the absence of a state-regulated public show which everyone can watch and go to, small displays are going to be the natural result. It's like pot smoking - people are going to get it one way or another, so an arguably better approach is to allow regulated sales. Somehow that logic never occurred to Newsom.
All that mattered was that he be able to put out an order and watch the descamisados fall into line.
So he got what he wanted with the shutdown of public displays, making a lot of people unhappy, but instead of compliance, got a massive repudiation of his utterly unreasonable order. And a big celebration of freedom instead, highly appropriate on America's national holiday. Maybe Newsom can take the sentiment of the people and the verdict of science into consideration next time he wants to flex his state muscle and work on his lethal nursing home policy instead.
Image credit: Twitter screen shot