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Texas salon owner who defied stay-at-home order freed by state Supreme Court

Ø  Shelley Luther, the Dallas salon owner, who was jailed for seven days for defying the stay-at-home order, has now been released following a ruling from the Supreme Court of Texas on Thursday. She was taken into custody on Wednesday.

Ø   Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s announced that certain businesses would reopen. Salons were allowed to reopen Friday.

Ø  The order from the Supreme Court came shortly after Abbott revised the Covid-19 executive order. “Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen,” Abbott said in a tweet. Abbott specified that the revised order would apply to Luther as well.

Ø  Luther exited the jail on Thursday afternoon, where a group of people greeted her with balloons and chanted "Shelley's free."

Ø  On Wednesday, Abbott, state Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick called for Luther's "immediate release." Paxton commented that Luther’s arrest appeared like a political stunt and the judge that ordered her arrest was abusing his authority.

Ø  After her arrest, the judge gave Luther three choices – apologize for selfishness, pay a fine and shut down until Friday or face a sentence.

Ø  I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I’m selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish,” Luther told the judge, according to NY Post. “I have hairstylists that are going hungry because they would rather feed their kids.” 

View Analysis



Left View

Publicity Stunt Extraordinaire? 

"At the hearing, Luther reportedly said that she had "no choice" but to keep the salon open. Though she also noted that she had received a loan from the federal government, WFAA reported."

Is this woman trying to say she needs to be open in order to pay her employees, rent, etc when she was one of the very few small businesses to actually receive a loan for expressly that purpose? There is also a big GoFundMe raising funds for her, and it's doing quite well. To me, the entire fiasco seems like a publicity stunt, particularly in light of Texas' Governor's response. Yesterday he banned the jailing of anybody in the state who defied his orders to shut businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic, a move that followed an outcry over Luther's arrest and incarceration.

"Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen," Abbott, a Republican, said in a written statement. The Texas Supreme Court upheld Abbott's order.

So the powers that be have made their stance. In a sense, Luther's uproar has clarified where the state stands on how violations of stay-at-home orders should be dealt with. That's useful going forward. As a result, more business owners will consider reopening and getting their bottom lines back to a healthy place. What I wonder, however, is how many customers will venture out amid these uncertain times.

There seems to be a collective hope that a reopening of the country will allow the economy to bounce back to pre-coronavirus levels. That's not likely to be the case. It's going to take a substantial amount of time before the world returns to a familiar form. In the meantime, let's not force everyone to rest on their laurels and watch them rot while our muscles atrophy from a never-ending quarantine. Luther's fiasco comes at a convenient time of mass-trepidation ahead of state reopening efforts. Publicity stunt or real, Luther's beam of fame may inspire the uncertain to begin again.

Right
Response

I don't see any evidence to show this is a publicity stunt. But if it is, so what? The issues are still very real and affect businesses who may not have a loan and may be in even worse shape than Luther's salon.

This type of story was bound to happen the longer the lock down periods in these states continue. This is the first wave and I believe the true cost of business closures and workers being unemployed will be surfacing in the news much more frequently now that we've been in a lock down in many places for months.

People are depending on paltry unemployment and a single relief check for their bills, mortgage, rents, etc. and we are heading for an absolute disaster unless we have some balance here. Has anyone thought of the implications of thousands of homeless people, potentially hundreds of thousands of homeless people? Where would they and their families be housed and would they be safe or at higher risk for Covid-19 than being exposed in a salon where the workers wear PPE and customers sit 6ft apart? We saw what happened with Katrina and sheltering people in the stadium: crime, sexual assaults, etc. Does anyone have any idea of how bad this can and will get?

What's worse, the knee jerk reactions in many states have not been based on science in many cases but on a ridiculous array of subjective and arbitrary rules, e.g. why would a salon be more dangerous than going for groceries or going to Walmart or Target?

The "left" seems to revel in their new found roles of emergency crisis managers but they seem to be completely clueless on the blowback they're generating. Even before the current pandemic, towns like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit and Seattle were a basket case with badly managed homeless crises, and these are the same type of liberals barking now?

I believe if they don't step off and use some common sense, the left will pull the entire country over an economic and social cliff from which there is no return.

Right View

In these times, we need more Americans like Shelley Luther 

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus shutdowns, we have heard much discussion on the topic of civil disobedience. The thing is, a lot of people don’t seem to understand that there is still a price to pay for civil disobedience no matter how justified your cause may be. Shelley Luther is an American hero because she would not be intimidated into backing down and closing her salon. She was willing to pay the price of going to jail.

Ultimately, Texas Governor Gregg Abbot and other Texas politicians saw the fault in their shut down orders, and the state Supreme Court ordered that Shelley Luther be released.

But what if Governor Abbot had stayed on the side of the judge who ordered Mrs. Luther into jail. The fact that this happened in Texas, a red state, should be startling and discomforting to Americans.

We have reached a vital crossroads in our fight against COVID-19. Through lockdowns and social distancing, we have “flattened the curve” so as not to overload the hospital systems; and in the process flattened the economy. The reopening of America is not a Left vs. Right issue. It is an issue of thinking like an adult vs. thinking like a child. Adults have the ability to asses risks and rewards and come to a reasonable decision. The Democrats are unwilling to let Americans back to work unless the virus is completely vanquished. They are not assessing the risk that keeping the shutdowns is place poses to our economy and, more importantly, our freedom.

No matter which direction we go as a country, we need Americans like Shelley Luther, who will not be intimidated by tyrannical laws and power-hungry politicians. We may have to pay a price for our civil disobedience, but everyone must find it within themselves to value American values and ideas over personal comforts. Am I calling for the complete reopening of the country? No masks, no social distancing, and full stadiums? Of course not. But the United States was not created to cower in fear of a virus.

Left
Response

In the hypothetical situation of having to chose between letting a virus run rampant and (potentially) killing tens or hundreds of thousands and ordering people to stay at home and thereby killing a comparative hand full of people because of economic chaos, the choice for a government seems easy.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." It sounds horrible, but reality can be a harsh mistress.

Reality is also: Governments, hypothetically, have means to help people overcome hard economic times. What a government can not help with is curing/preventing something without a vaccine or effective medication being known. They can make sure infection rates are being slowed down to sufficiently reduce the strain on the healthcare system and keep more people healthy.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

I state it again because it's a conundrum. Doesn't this run in the opposite direction, illuminated by Luther's case? Shelter in place orders damage the livelihood of the 99% who are not in significant danger from this virus in order to prevent serious consequences for the 1% who are.

It's not just about economic harm. The shelter orders also implicate restrictions on personal movement, freedom of expression, rights to education, and are causing psychological harm to numerous individuals. They have also resulted in prohibitions on non-emergency medical procedures that are likely to lead to long term medical harm to third parties. These various harms to the many are certain and immediate, while the long term sustainability and efficacy of the shelter orders is questionable. Meanwhile, the line drawing between essential and non-essential has lots of difficult edge cases. I don't think this is a simple choice at all. But you make a good point Antonio: the United States was not created to cower in fear of a virus. We need to buckle up and protect high risk groups while banding together in an effort to rebuild our economy. The damage has been done, and it's time to fix it. Now.