Governor's order met with opposition from the fringe

Steve Lyon
Idaho was in the national news this week.   
 As I was perusing news about the coronavirus, I came across a story the “New York Times” published on Tuesday with the headline, “A ‘liberty’ rebellion in Idaho threatens to undermine coronavirus orders.” 
 The author writes that the “sweeping restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the virus have run into outright rebellion in some parts of Idaho.”
 Some people of marginal prominence in northern Idaho, including one state lawmaker and a county sheriff, don’t want to go along with the governor’s stay-home order, which to many is an entirely reasonable measure to slow the spread of coronavirus. 
 They have publicly thumbed their noses at the governor’s authority to issue an order in the public interest, decrying it as unconstitutional and an infringement on their rights. 
 Idaho lawmaker Heather Scott, who represents Bonner County, asked her constituents to openly defy the governor’s March 25 stay-home order in her official newsletter. 
 She claimed the governor’s order was “unconstitutional, unAmerican, and not the Idaho way.” She questioned why Idaho’s governor would follow the lead of mostly liberal states and order Idahoans to stay home and close non-essential services.
 Believe me, longtime Idaho politician and ardent Republican Gov. Brad Little doesn’t follow the lead of “liberal states.” He followed the recommendations of  public health officials in Idaho and elsewhere to take action to slow the virus.
 Scott’s comments were just off the mark. There are more states with stay-home orders and restrictions in place than there are states doing nothing.
 Another northern Idaho official, Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler, posted an open letter saying that the public had been “misled” by public health officials’ dire predictions and things just aren’t that bad in his neck of the woods. 
 He requested the governor bring the Legislature back to Boise in an emergency session to debate his stay-at-home order, which the sheriff believes is unconstitutional.
 The governor can request those who are sick to stay home, but everybody else has the right to go on with their normal business, the sheriff said.
 Maybe Bonner County won’t see a lot of coronavirus cases, but that’s not the situation elsewhere in the state. The  rhetoric from the fringe is contrary to the best interest of society right now. 
 The last time I checked there is no cure for the coronavirus. More than 10,000 people have died from it across the country. The number of Idaho residents who have caught the virus is now at 1,100 and growing.
 In an April 6 editorial, the “Idaho Statesman” said the governor’s decision to declare an emergency and issue the stay-home order recognizes the current situation for what it is – a national crisis.
 “This temporary shutdown is meant to save lives, not control them,” the capital city’s newspaper opined.
 The governor’s stay-home order might be inconvenient and social distancing is a change from normal routines. These are aimed at protecting the public during unprecedented times. 
 To flaunt or subvert the public health rules and potentially put others in danger of getting ill is another kind of tyranny.
 Steve Lyon is the editor of the Weiser Signal American. Contact him at


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