Colorado has one of those statewide stay-at-home orders as well as a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people, all to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It’s sensible. It’s annoying, sure, but today’s inconveniences are meant to prevent tomorrow’s tragedies.
One of the consequences of that decision, however, is that churches have closed up as well, with some sensibly shifting to online services instead.
Colorado resident Michael Lawrence has now filed a lawsuit — against Gov. Jared Polis, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and the state and city’s Departments of Public Health and Environment — because he’s really really mad that his church is closed.
… The defendants’ conduct has impaired the plaintiff’s ability to freely exercise his religious faith, in violation of the First Amendment.
… The defendants’ conduct has impaired the plaintiff’s ability to exercise his right to peaceably assemble, in violation of the First Amendment.
He also says he’s lost wages because his restaurant closed, he can’t drive because he has nowhere to drive to, and that the “WUHAN FLU IN COLORADO IS NOT AN EMERGENCY.”
Totally rational, this guy.
He also cites an unscientific “treatment” as a solution to COVID-19, as if this is a Trump press conference where lies are passed off as public policy. He also claims Colorado officials “do not care about public health.” Like this is all just a giant joke to them.
Perhaps the most bananas part of the lawsuit is this absurd comparison:
The defendants’ stay-at-home orders are analogous to the interning of Japanese-Americans in WWII. The government then imposed martial law, but properly because then there was an actual war going on. Even so, in retrospect, a consensus exists now that internment was wrong. It was wrong for Japanese-Americans then, and it is wrong for Coloradans now.
He also claims that “marijuana dispensaries” — among other stores — “kill far more people than the flu” and yet they’re still open. Of course, smoking marijuana doesn’t kill people. When reporter Michael Karlik of Colorado Politics pointed out that contradiction, Lawrence doubled down on his lie:
When asked to point to statistics showing marijuana products being deadlier than the flu, Lawrence responded that “smoking anything during a flu pandemic where the really virulent flu strain focuses its attack on the lungs is a bad idea because overall lung health is compromised. With weakened lungs, a person exposed to the coronavirus is likely to get much sicker than someone with healthy lungs.”
Again, marijuana doesn’t kill. COVID-19 is deadly. And the government is allowed to invoke extraordinary measures in the middle of an emergency, which this is.
If conspiracy theorist Alex Jones filed a lawsuit, it would look just like this. It’s devoid of all reason. The plaintiff is his own worst enemy.
The suit will almost certainly be thrown out. There’s just no merit to it. But it’s a reminder that some people, like Trump, will always find a way to turn a national tragedy into a personal grievance.