Anti-Quarantine Protesters Prioritize Haircuts Over Health
By Sophia Alexandrou
Throughout the country, protesters have swarmed the streets carrying signs with messages such as “I want a haircut” and “Massage is essential.” With 1.38 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 81,000 deaths in the United States, these Americans have decided to protest the restrictions put in place by state governors to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. While these limitations were implemented to protect the health of these individuals, they are still angry about them. This of course brings up the question: What exactly are they protesting?
In states like Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, demonstrators make the argument that laws that temporarily close down non-essential businesses and reduce the amount of people that gather together in public are an infringement on their freedoms. Many say that they are worried the closing of these facilities will be extremely damaging to the economy and are frustrated with their newly found unemployment. While these concerns are valid, meetings of large groups will only facilitate the spread of the Coronavirus, likely extending the lock down period. Many have compared their state governors to dictators and have cited the quote, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” a popular saying during the American Revolution.
A few states have even seen campaigners bring weapons to the protests in order to further their point. A picture taken by photojournalist for The News & Observer, Travis Scott, went viral after he captured a group of anti-lockdown protestors getting lunch at a sandwich shop in Raleigh, North Carolina. One man was pictured to have an AT4 rocket launcher and 2 pistols in holsters on his waist. Who is launching rockets in a Subway? This group of people received widespread (and well-deserved) criticism, receiving comments that their actions were “unnecessary” and “ignorant”.
Similarly, a protest in Michigan led by the group, "Michigan United for Liberty" entered the state house armed with guns. While it is legal in Michigan to do so, many tried to enter the floor of the chamber and were blocked by police officers. One demonstrator said, “The virus is here. It’s going to be here… It’s time we let people go back to work. That’s all there is to it.” Clearly lacking a basic understanding of viral transmission, these campaigners have not only contributed to the spread of COVID-19 by not social distancing but have also created an unnecessarily hostile environment while doing so. Just to be clear, firearms are not effective protection measures against Covid-19.
President Trump has also had a hand in these absurd rallies. While the states in which these protests are occurring do have both Democrat and Republican governors, many of these protesters are conservative and pro-Trump. President Trump has said that some states have “gone too far” regarding the restrictions they put in place to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. This, among other quotes, has been cited multiple times by these anti-quarantine campaigners. While the president’s words are not the sole reason these people are doing what they are doing, it does not help the state’s authority when the president inflames people who believe a haircut they could probably give themselves is more important than fighting a global pandemic. This is a large contributing factor as to why the United States is now leading in cases of the Coronavirus.
As these people are screaming at the top of their lungs that they should be able to get a manicure or an ice cream cone, over a million Americans are suffering from this virus and thousands of families are mourning the lives of their lost family members. While these demonstrators have made it crystal clear that they are protesting the infringement of their civil liberties, it is hard to understand why they think making the virus that caused all these problems in the first place spread even more will do anything. It really speaks volumes when a person fighting for their right to get a haircut comes face-to-face with a nurse who is risking their life every day to save thousands of others.