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What the Devil won't tell you

Hunkering hypocrisy: Ducey's curfew prompts silence from critics of coronavius orders

I’m officially old.

I must be getting senile. That’s the only thing that makes sense.

Hey you kids! Get away from there! Oh, that's a lizard.

Back in my day, the Right threatened anything from lawsuits to a second civil war over coronavirus-based stay-at-home orders because the wicked jackboot of the state was stepping on freedom's neck. Yeah, “my day,” was last Thursday.

It must just be me. I swore that I read Sunday that Republican Gov. Doug Ducey issued a week-long, statewide curfew. And there's been 48 hours of crickets on the Right. In fact, their real outrage is saved for whomever is looting and setting businesses on fire. It's not the death of George Floyd at the hands (or knees) of Minneapolis police that's got them worked up.

Here's the deal: If you are more offended by the looting than Floyd's death or just resort to a "they're-both-bad" equivalency then ask yourself why people say you are racists. Black lives matter. So do cell phones and Dumpsters.

Ducey's curfew is almost written to be unenforceable, for the right folks. Just say "I'm out visiting grandpa" or "I'm out buying smokes" and you are in the clear. It's requires voluntary compliance. That's fine. I'll do it. I live in a society. I'll roll my eyes hard but I'll do it. I might have told Ducey to hold off for a night and then muster the National Guard if necessary, but whatever.

Let's just review what last week was going to to murder every bald eagle in the sky and every freedom the Constitution guarantees.

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The coronavirus stay-at-home guidance was a bridge too far, the Right told us. When that was lifted, businesses asking patrons to wear masks was an unspeakable violation of liberty. The global pandemic has killed (as in estate-sale dead) more than 900 Arizonans. Stemming that mortality was an affront to God-loving freedom and America's flag-humping president. If it's a choice of being forced to wear a swatch of fabric over the face and the death of a stranger's grandma, then grandma has already had her chance at life. 

Also, COVID-19 is disproportionately hitting people of color. That’s a price white America is willing to pay. But the threat of a Black mob breaking some glass is a fear so righteous it justifies the state telling us when we can and can’t leave our homes.

Imagine for a second that instead of a cloth over the face, Trump supporters were expected to be obediently killed by Black cops, acquitted by Black juries.

They would explode. I mean physically, viscerally and cranially experience a catastrophic burst of rage beyond the their skin’s capacity to maintain structural integrity.

Damages

In Tucson, Friday night protests turned felonious when some in the crowd started breaking windows at Downtown businesses and confronting police officers, with jeers taunts and the occasional projectile.

Saturday protests were more peaceful, unless one happened to be a journalist covering the demonstrations. Members of the media were told they weren’t welcome and shouldn’t take pictures. Note to protesters: A demonstration without the press is just taking a walk.

However, on Saturday night, looters did hit Scottsdale’s Fashion Square in numbers that veterans of University of Arizona basketball mobs would call “paltry.”

The sign reading “Tucson Police Department” got damaged in front of headquarters.

None of this is good but none of it is the disintegration of the social contact, either. Crimes are annoying but we have to put up with some broken glass and spray paint.

Not so, says Gov. Doug Ducey. Sunday afternoon, Ducey issued a feeble but relevant nightly lockdown between 8 p.m. Sunday and 5 a.m. next Monday.

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No one killed or seriously hurt on either night and Saturday night was relatively peaceful in Tucson, at least. Monday night saw a peaceful vigil, with scattered reports of people being hassled by the cops here, and a handful of arrests. So now Globites can’t leave their house without a legal justification and Yumans had best be heading to work, church or ready to spend money if they going to use public streets.

The women are lousy housekeepers

What makes this curfew so egregious in the wake of right-wing hysteria over the stemming the spread of a global plague, is how blatantly political it was.

Ducey claims to have decided to initiated the curfew after talking to local leaders. No one can find those local leaders.

Neither Tucson Mayor Regina Romero nor Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said Ducey consulted with them prior to issuing the order. They’re both Democrats. Sheriff Mark Napier, a Republican, said he reviewed the order after it came out.

Romero tweeted:

I just learned through @dougducey's tweet that an 8pm statewide curfew is forthcoming. I nor @ChiefCMagnus were not notified. We have less than 6 hrs to plan and have not seen the EO.During times of emergency, it's critical that we have a strong line of communication.

It’s simple, Mayors Romero and Gallego: Ducey is saying you are lousy housekeepers and need a Republican man to come in and do what you won’t do for yourself because you are too weak to show African Americans what’s what (regardless of the actual pigmentation of protesters).

Ducey is a manly man, far too strong and powerful to be expected to hold a conference call with the local governments in charge of enforcing his order.

So he apparently just tweeted it, in less of an act of leadership than trolling in a way the governor's plenary powers allow. It took him more than an hour after his tweet to actually release any details about his order, causing widespread confusion among officials, police and business owners across the state.

Surging pandemic

You want injury, hospitalizations and death?

The weekend previous to this one past, the daily number of new COVID 19 cases in Arizona was running between 220 to 400. Wednesday it spiked to 471, then 501 on Thursday, hit 780 on Friday and fell back to 681 on Saturday. They predictably fell to 187 on Sunday as the trend line follows a fever chart. The throughline, though, is up. There was a record of nearly 1,000 hospitalizations over the weekend and the number is climbing.

I used to tell my journalism students numbers in a vacuum aren’t news. Arizona has a population of 7 million. Germany has a population of 83 million very prompt but wit-challenged individuals. Germany had 355 new cases on Sunday. What kind of damage did they do to their economy to crack the back of the curve? Germany’s unemployment rate skyrocketed all the way to 5.8 percent. In the U.S., the number is 14.7 percent.

Trash-talking the coronavirus threat was never about protecting the economy because both are possible at the same time.

And I swear to God, if someone says "Yeah but the flu," burn their voter registration card. They are too dumb to participate in democracy.

Actors not actions

In Arizona, we couldn’t wait. We had to go. There was a Trump re-election narrative to maintain and money to be made.

When we surpass 1,000 coronavirus deaths, they will just be speed bumps on the road to Trumpian prosperity and no pointy-head with a virology degree is going to stop us from walking down the street. Break a couple windows on Congress and jump in the bunker. There be Black people about.

This is the problem with the modern Right constantly T-boning a little something called “Western philosophy.” The right can’t tell you if an action is legal, moral or ethical without knowing who’s behind it. They don’t judge actions. They judge actors. That's how constitutional republics die.

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If science, one of the “Four Corners of Deceit,” is prompting a stay-at-home-order, then it’s the jack boot of government. If white fear of the Black man is animating a curfew, well that's just smart thinking.

There are clearly Republicans and conservatives who think the COVID-19 orders were removed too quickly and support the curfew. I can argue with that but I respect it.

In a vacuum, I’d probably still mock Ducey’s curfew as a huge over-reaction. I might understand Phoenix and Tucson but why Oro Valley and Prescott?

Bear down

Tucson is no stranger to riots. They usually involve Arizona Wildcat basketball and the men’s Final Four.

When the Wildcats won the national title in 1997, some revelers set a police car on fire. Four years later, all hell broke loose for a night when the Godless Duke Blue Devils beat Arizona in the national title game. Then there was a big melee after the UA lost in the 2014 Sweet 16.

I covered the Duke riot point blank. I gotta tell ya, the crowd size for that dwarfed what I saw Downtown over the weekend. It was throngs of bar patrons kicked out of 4th Avenue drinking establishments immediately after the game. They were milling around, whooping and hollering. Then came the guys in ski masks who saw the melee as an opportunity to start turning things over and burning cars.

Just the looks in their eyes was emotionless, methodical and sociopathic in their singular focus to destroy something or anything. They weren’t there for the basketball.

When the cops showed up, they started to shoot up 4th Avenue with less-lethal ammo. It was a to-do and I won’t rehash it here.

In my experience, protesters don't riot, but rioters use protests as cover and concealment.

The upshot of this order is it may inadvertently create more social distancing just as the coronavirus is starting to accelerate through Arizona.

This looks for the world like a cynical racial play, to turn the state against the protesters. Everyone has to be inconvenienced because African Americans won’t just take what MAGAs would never allow themselves to endure.

Blake Morlock is a journalist who has spent 20 years covering government in Arizona and also worked in Democratic political communications. Now he’s telling you things that the Devil won’t.


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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Protestors clashing with police over the weekend means all of Arizona is under curfew. in a vacuum, it's annoying and cheesy. Against the furor over coronavirus restrictions, it's hypocrisy.

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