“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.” ~Martin Luther King
Now we know why states have released thousands upon thousands of murderers, child molesters, drug traffickers, and burglars from jails and prisons. They needed to make room for women like Shelley Luther who are simply exercising their rights to earn an honest living, while not even creating large gatherings, unlike your local Walmart or Home Depot.
We all know deep down in our hearts that what is going on with our governments is illegal, illogical, immoral, and a colossal threat to the future of basic liberty in this country for years to come. However, many of us are scared to put our money where our mouths are and live out the enduring words of Martin Luther King: “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
Who would have thought we’d witness numerous acts of medieval tyranny in the state of Texas with Donald Trump as president and Greg Abbott as governor? But these cases have been too numerous to count. The case that will hopefully serve as the fulcrum to this revolt against tyranny is that of Shelley Luther, a salon shop owner who refused to close her business and has now been ordered to sit in jail for seven days for essentially doing what the governor himself said is the right course of action.
Yesterday, Dallas County Judge Eric Moye ruled that Luther was in civil and criminal contempt against the state’s lockdown edict by keeping her salon shop, Salon à la Mode, open for seven days. He sentenced her to seven days in jail and ordered her to pay thousands in fines for remaining open after April 24. She had publicly torn up a cease-and-desist order from County Judge Clay Jenkins (who is the county’s executive) a day later.
After calling her selfish, Moye gave her a chance to apologize and go free. This was her response:
“I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I am selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish. I have hair stylists that are going hungry because they’d rather feed their kids. So sir, if you think the law is more important than kids being fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I’m not going to shut the salon.”
Mind you, Judge Moye earns $158,000 from taxpayers, and unlike Luther and her employees, he lost not a penny from this arbitrary, capricious, and illegal shutdown. Isn’t it funny how so many liberal judges and politicians like Moye tell us that we need to pardon drug traffickers killing tens of thousands of people because they have no choice but to engage in that activity to earn a living?
The sickening fact here is that Dallas County jails have released 1,000 real criminals under the guise of not spreading the virus, yet now they arrest peaceful business owners like Luther for having a handful of people in her business while Walmarts and subways are open!
Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to cover Shelley’s legal fees.
Folks, it’s easy for us to sit here and say that this is unconstitutional, but then we allow it to go on by obsequiously giving in to the tyranny. Shelley Luther took a stand against a worse form of tyranny than anything King George ever did. The easier thing would have been for her to apologize. But our Founders warned against that.
As Sam Adams wrote in the Boston Gazette on October 7, 1771, “The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. … It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.”
Many will say Shelley made her point and should not have taken it further, but we will never change anything if we allow our Constitution to be shredded with impunity. As Madison warned:
“It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freeman of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents.”
Well, we are far beyond the first alarm at this point. Every single clause of the Bill of Rights has been violated, and there is no end in sight in most states.
Ironically, by the time Luther was sentenced, Abbott had already terminated the order closing businesses. He himself has expressed frustration with the shutdown. Sixteen hours later, both the governor and Attorney General Ken Paxton put out statements condemning Moye’s ruling and calling for Luther’s release.
Shelley Luther should immediately be released from jail. Locking her up is a misguided abuse of power, especially considering Dallas County released real criminals to “protect them from COVID-19.”
Release her now so she can return to her family. pic.twitter.com/67KrhQBEyf
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) May 6, 2020
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 6, 2020
This is a good start, but why is he not calling on the Board of Pardons to send him a pardon recommendation? How can this happen in Texas of all states? There have been too many examples of this in Texas throughout the past month.
And what ever happened to the attorney general’s threat of lawsuits? Stop monitoring the situation and start filing the lawsuits.
This country, as vast as its geographical expanse is, has become too small to contain the two competing worldviews of liberty vs. tyranny that we are seeing today. It’s time for President Trump and Republican governors to pick a side once and for all.
As we watch our liberties be crushed with breathtaking speed, we must internalize the admonition of Sam Adams against passivity in the face of tyranny: “Let us remember that if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom. It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers in the event.”
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.