Thursday, May 26, 2005

Man arrested for wearing mask in public

Incredible as it may seem, it is illegal to wear a mask in public in West Virginia. When I talk about the pervasiveness of the police industrial complex, this is exactly what I'm talking about. The police note that tinted windows are also illegal, as they hinder law enforcement.

This, of course, is the line given all of the time now - it's a different world since 9/11, or things are the same today as they were in past generations, or we're not as safe as we used to be, or people do worse things now....

No, the excuses are the same, the actions are the same, the firepower may have gotten worse, but the impulse for control over individual's actions, to prevent their freedom in the name of "safety," is as old as this country. Ben Franklin, in his famous comment, said it then, and it applies with full force today - those who would sacrifice liberty in the search for safety deserve neither (paraphrased, of course).

Well, let's go down this road, don't doors and walls also prevent law enforcement from doing their jobs? Purses? Backpacks? Cars? Why have a Constitution in the first place? Why not scrap it all, freedom is messy anyways. Look how much safer the Soviet Union was under a dictator like Stalin than under a "democrat" like Yeltsin or Putin. Maybe we should give up all of our freedoms. Conservatives have been saying for years that we have too much liberty in this country, especially when criticizing the Courts for "granting" rights to people. Well, here is the flip side. Exercize you freedom and you go to jail.

You better hope he has a good PD representing him.


Anonymous said...

FWIW, I'm fairly certain that in most cases, anti-mask laws are an anti-KKK measure. WV's mask law has probably been around for quite a while.

Mister DA said...

I concur. My state, up here in the baja Great White North, has had a anti-Klan "mask" law since the early 1920s. It's pretty specific, though. You have to intentionally conceal your identity to aid in the commission of a crime. Just a low grade misdemeanor.

Well, that's interesting. I believe the WV code section in question is Atricle 6, § 61-6-22.

It appears to be much more recent - 1988, and much more comprehensive. The only real case I saw involved a guy who wore a devil constume, complete with mask, to a school board meeting.

Still only a misdemeanor, though.

Anonymous said...

I was there. story did not tell of whole situation. Man was a picketing member of union who had been wearing Grich mask for months on daily basis holding a sign reading "the Grinch who stole our pensions." Probably not exercising free speech...anyway union hired private attorney.

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Anonymous said...

An old thread perhaps. However - because of my self esteem and how ugly I see myself as visually, I have taken to wearing a mask recently in public. Fortunately, being close to Halloween bypassers just say "trick or treat" and store clerks just laugh. I have no criminal intent - I'm just ashamed to show mu ugly face. Being near Halloween, people go along with it. The test may be come November. But I do mean no harm. In fact its my intention to protect others from having to look at me when I walk by.

Anonymous said...

If a person wants to wear a mask
in public for personal enjoyment
without wearing it for criminal
or wrongful purposes, it should
NOT! be illegal. I am glad I live in NJ where they do not have this
%$#@! anti-mask law! This law does
not exist in Japan or South Korea!

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Robert said...

I am a trucker working the ports here in VA and was informed of this law. Today is very cold, windy and its snowing. I also read the exceptions and was astonished to see that there is no exception covering inclimate weather. I can be arrested and charged with a class 6 felony for pulling my neck warmer up over my face and nose. The person who informed me is a retired cop. I stated that the police do just as I was doing in this weather. He replied, "they are sworn public defendents, your not". So, the police are allowed to protect against the evil criminal cold weather, not the public.