In a video making the rounds on social media, a mother claims she is being harassed by the Calmut Country Sheriff's department in Wisconsin for allowing her seven-year-old-daughter go to a neighbor's house for a play date.
In the video shot by a mother who goes by Amy, the officer asks her a direct question about the current stay-at-home order. "Are you aware that we're at a stay-at-home order right now? By the government?"
Amy confirmed she knew about the order but still allowed her daughter to visit a neighbor's house.
"Stop having your kid go by other people's homes," the officer orders Amy.
At the end of the altercation, the officer asks Amy for her full name but she refuses.
According to the sheriff's office, when the video was taken, it was the fifth contact they'd had with her in recent weeks.
Amy later elaborated on the situation with Inside Edition. "The way they talked to me was completely disrespectful," Amy said. "I had done nothing wrong from the moment they opened up the door. He immediately started yelling at me."
"I have a right to be outside my home," she said. "I don't have to be locked in my home."
Mom Says Cops Are 'Harassing' Her Over 7-Year-Old's Playdate www.youtube.com
The video has made Amy a hero to some who believe the government doesn't have the right to tell us to stay inside our homes during the pandemic. So is she right? Has she done "nothing wrong" by violating the state's stay-at-home orders?
Legal experts say that stay-at-home orders or similar proclamations "effectively carry the force of law."
The Supreme Court hasn't said much about people's liberty during epidemics. Although, in 1905, during a smallpox epidemic, a pastor argued that a mandatory smallpox vaccine violated his Constitutional rights.
The Court acknowledged that "the liberty secured by the Fourteenth Amendment . . . consists, in part, in the right of a person 'to live and work where he will.'" But it added: "in every well-ordered society . . . the rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand."
Most would agree that asking Amy and her child to stay indoors for a limited amount of time is "reasonable" to protect the safety of the general public.
The video has also made Amy the subject of scorn for those who believe she's creating putting people's health in danger for repeatedly allowing her child to visit friends' houses during the pandemic.
Studies show that children are less likely to show signs of being infected with COVID-19. They are also less likely to be hospitalized or die because of the disease.
However, that doesn't mean that people like Amy shouldn't worry about allowing their children to play with other children.
The problem is that children can appear to be completely healthy and then transmit the disease to those who are more likely to be symptomatic.
"[Social] distancing and everyday preventative behaviors are recommended for persons of all ages to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health care system from being overloaded, and protect older adults and persons of any age with serious underlying medical conditions," the CDC said in a special report.
As Americans, we should be forever vigilant that our Constitutional rights are upheld and maintained. But being a good citizen has less to do with the legal ramifications of our actions and more to do with how they affect our fellow citizens.
There are a lot of great reasons to argue over the legality of the state order, but there are far fewer ways to rationalize putting our friends' and neighbor's health in jeopardy.
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