The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. 9th Amendment of the US Constitution
…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws… 14th Amendment of the US Constitution
Here’s the deal: only you can make you wear a mask.
In fact, every politician in South Carolina knows this, and they are counting on everyone—business owners and consumers alike—to enforce their mask mandates for them.
On July 29th, 2020, Gov. Henry McMaster issued Executive Order 2020-50, requiring everyone to wear masks in restaurants and retail establishments.
Then just two weeks later, Gov. Henry McMaster called on cities and counties which hadn’t issued their own local mask mandates to consider doing so (McMaster: SC areas without mask rules ‘need to consider’ them, The State, 08/13/2020).
Think about that for a moment. What does it mean?
It means that he can’t enforce his statewide mask order, and he knows it.
For that matter, neither can your city and county. They just don’t have the law enforcement manpower. Furthermore, many cops really don’t like enforcing this sort of thing, and some have even refused to do so.
At the end of the day, mask mandates are unjust because:
- They violate both the United States Constitution and the South Carolina Constitution
- They violate your choice
- They harm those who cannot or should not wear a mask
- They bully private citizens into becoming agents of the law
- They cause business owners to risk losing customers if they comply, and risk losing other customers and even their business if they don’t comply
How to disobey civilly
1. Know the letter of the law. Many people assume that the law says things that it doesn’t actually say. As a result, some business owners may assume that a local mask mandate requires them to refuse to serve customers who are not wearing a mask, but in reality many local mask ordinances clearly state that the business owner is ONLY responsible for their employees masks—not their customers. It’s helpful to know the letter of the law, and to have it in writing in your pocket. Sometimes, a polite conversation with the manager or owner will clear up any problems.
2. Stand your ground, but don’t be ugly. It’s much better to “kill ‘em with kindness” than to raise your voice and escalate a confrontation. They might be mad, and you might be mad, but if you show it suddenly the interaction becomes about you being mad rather than what it should be about—the law is unjust. You’ll get further with difficult people if you stay calm, smile politely, and stand your ground.
3. Record the interaction. If accosted by an employee or a cop for not wearing a mask, you might need a record of the interaction. Sometimes people treat you differently if they know they are on record. Most people carry smartphones these days and it’s really easy to record video or audio.
Note that in the state of South Carolina, it is legal to record without the other party knowing it (unless you are an attorney—attorneys are prohibited, period).
4. Tell your story. Were you denied service, or ticketed? Tell your story! There’s nothing like being victimized by an oppressive regime to make others wake up to what is going on. This is where it helps A LOT if you followed the first three tips. Use the #UnmaskedCitizen hashtag on Facebook, or we’re happy to publish your story anonymously.
5. If ticketed, request a jury trial. Any civil ticket will have a Magistrate’s Court date to appear. Don’t just pay the fine, show up in court on the day appointed. Plead “not guilty” and request a jury trial. Empaneling a jury is sure to cost the city or county way more than they would collect on the ticket, and it is your constitutional right to due process. They might downgrade the ticket to a warning to save money. If they don’t, be prepared to plead your case on the day appointed by the court—and get legal counsel.
6. If you need to, lawyer up. Any professional personal injury attorney should be able to help. Do your research the way you would before hiring any professional service. If you need a recommendation, contact us and we might be able to help.
Or, just do this…
…and send them running!