NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he “Live Free or Die” state has been locked down for almost three months. Last week, 17 times as many Granite Staters filed for unemployment as did in the same period a year earlier. About 200,000 New Hampshire workers have filed for unemployment since Governor Chris Sununu declared a state of emergency March 13 and followed up with a stay-at-home order March 27. To put that in perspective, the U.S. Census reports that New Hampshire’s total 2017 employment was 603,923.
Last Friday, Sununu extended his stay-at-home order for a third time, guaranteeing more people will lose their jobs. He also threatened legal action against Riverside Speedway and Adventure Park in Groveton, N.H., forcing the track to remain closed. His stay-at-home order carries a potential $20,000 fine for businesses that defy him and possible arrest and criminal prosecution for anyone else failing to follow the various micromanaged edicts he has issued. (You can use equipment at the gym if you pay for a personal trainer to follow you around, but not on your own. Out-of-staters must quarantine for 14 days before staying in a hotel. Hair-cutting is OK, but dye jobs are not. Golf-course employees must wear masks at all times even when eating lunch alone in a break room. Etc.)
Then on Saturday, he tweeted: “I called the organizers ahead of the #GeorgeFloyd March in Manchester to let them know the State of NH stands with them in their calls for justice.”
His tweet contained a link to an article at the website of WMUR, the local ABC affiliate, with a headline stating that over a thousand people had attended the march. Yet gatherings of ten or more people are supposedly still prohibited by his own Emergency Order No. 16, issued April 6.
When asked by NHJournal.com about the contradiction, Sununu replied:
Those that want to compare social injustices and the issue surrounding the murder of George Floyd to the effectiveness of a stay-at-home order and social gatherings are completely missing the point. They are two completely separate issues and those that try to combine those two issues . . . they’re doing an absolute disservice to the importance of the message around those protests, the importance of the message around the injustices.
On Monday, Sununu reaffirmed his support for the anti-police Black Lives Matter and Antifa protests that are burning their path of destruction through American cities, saying, “We have seen peaceful protests happen across America.” Tell that to Americans watching looters smash store windows, viciously beat people who get in their way, and set fire to St. John’s Episcopal church across from the White House.
“As we speak, there is a protest taking place at Hampton Beach in memory of George Floyd. As I have previously said, the state stands with those calling for justice,” the governor continued.
The beaches in New Hampshire have been closed, by Sununu, since March. Monday, June 1, was the first day they were reopened. But only for swimming. “This is not a time to drop your blanket and sit around,” the governor said May 22.
I support everyone’s right to peacefully assemble, and I am grateful that the two Black Lives Matter rallies in New Hampshire this week were nonviolent, unlike in other states. But nonviolence should be the expectation, not the exception. In neighboring Massachusetts, police cars were burned in Boston, and 53 people were arrested for looting and rioting.
Sununu is not the only governor who is keeping his state locked down while supporting Black Lives Matter and Antifa rallies that blatantly violate bans on large group gatherings. New Jersey governor Phil Murphy recently said, “It’s one thing to protest what day nail salons are opening, and it’s another to come out and peacefully protest about somebody who was murdered right before our eyes.”
That’s a different tone from Murphy’s response in April when asked about how his lockdown order affected the First Amendment rights of New Jersey residents, specifically the arrest of 15 congregants at a synagogue. “That’s above my pay grade,” he told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson. “I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this.”
If that’s all a little confusing to you, then I’m glad I’m not the only one bemused here. These governors seem to be saying that the virus is so dangerous that they must shut down our normal way of life, and suspend constitutional rights . . . except if you’re a member of a radical left-wing anti-cop group, or a domestic terror organization like Antifa.
One wonders how the virus knows to infect the small-business owner wanting to reopen but not the black-clad anarchist burning down said small business.
Sununu and other governors aren’t enforcing their stay-at-home orders equally. To the contrary: They’re willing to prevent you from going to church but not willing to prevent Antifa from burning down churches.