Letter: Mask enforcement is not optional
To the editor:
In response to the Sept. 4 letter from Jilly Lederman, it is indeed unconscionable that some adults refuse to wear a mask in open violation of the governor's order.
However, Ms. Lederman and like-minded readers should know that the Pittsfield Police Department was simply wrong when it said it had no power to enforce the governor's mask order. On Aug. 18, Gov. Charlie Baker made clear in a revised order that the police are required to enforce his order. This includes citing businesses refusing to comply with the law (for instance, by favoring a person not wearing a mask over one who is) as well as the individual. The penalty is a fine up to $300.
In this difficult time, our local police should not mislead citizens about enforcement of an order essential to our health and welfare. Police are required to enforce the law regardless of any political affiliation or philosophy. Unfortunately, in this divisive time, it is hard to believe that this refusal to enforce the law is not related to the political statement some believe is made by arrogantly believing that wearing a mask is a personal choice. Apparently, some of our local police need a reminder that in a democracy the police are not entitled to decide which laws to enforce.
Ironically, the refusal to enforce a lawful order of our governor comes at the same time that the mask rejectionist-in-chief Donald Trump insists that he must be elected to restore "law and order." Make no mistake — Trump does not mean enforcing the rule of law. He means "law and order" as however he defines those terms.
Citizens who share these concerns should not wait to vote to express their patriotism to true American values. We need to proclaim loudly — as loud as the sounds of the Liberty Bell in 1776 — our demands to the mayor and the city attorney of Pittsfield that they take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the police truly "serve and protect" the safety and health of all within the commonwealth.
Stephen Wise Feingold,
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