Our current stay-at-home circumstances, along with the other government restrictions on public movement, are as close to martial law as most of us ever hope to see.
All that is missing from the current scene is the military patrolling the streets to ensure compliance with the various executive orders that have been issued to stem the spread of COVID-19.
That could happen, too, as Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said states can call out the National Guard to enforce stay-at-home orders.
In addition, some state governments are forbidding travel to their jurisdictions by residents of other states. It is conceivable that the need to stop these migrations from disease epicenters to less affected areas could lead governors to deploy their National Guard units to blockade state lines.
A majority of this country’s citizens have never experienced anything like this. We have been free, more or less, to go wherever and whenever we want. Now, we’re not, and we have only ourselves to blame.
Had more of us exercised some common sense and heeded the advice of medical professionals early on, and had we not rejected the idea that we could not do as we pleased, or that only the elderly and infirm had to worry, or even that this was some politically inspired hoax, these harsh directives from our governments might not have been necessary.
As it is, our concepts of freedom don’t always carry with them the notion of personal responsibility and common courtesy. In essence, we are free to cough in public, but both courtesy and responsibility dictate that we should not cough on someone else.
For all the people who flaunted the rules and shrugged off the warnings, believing as you did that they did not apply to you, we have you to thank for forcing state governments to do what we would not do voluntarily.
The one positive aspect to arise out of our present situation is this: it’s often been said that we take our freedom for granted in this country. Not anymore.