Do you remember being told that we could defeat the virus if we could just put up with some government intrusion for two weeks? "Fifteen Days to Slow the Spread" was the plan that Trump introduced back in March. After we complied with that plan, a new plan was presented. "Thirty (more) Days to Slow the Spread" they said, and we dutifully complied again. That compliance has now extended to more than 120 days, and I say that enough is enough. I am sick and tired of the government overstepping its authority and mandating that I take the steps that they think are the best for my health. I'm done with this. From now on, I'm fighting back, and I know that many of you are too.
I've created a three-pronged attack to fight back against these unlawful orders. I hope that you will join me, and if you have other suggestions, please leave a comment to let others know about it. Here are three ways that you can fight back against the mask:
1. File Multiple ADA Complaints
While most of the mask ordinances include exceptions for people with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask, the level of accommodations that are being made in these cases fall far below the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the ADA:
"No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any private entity who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation." (emphasis added)
These means that any business that does not allow mask-less people to enter or that requires them to only shop on certain days or during certain hours is in violation of the ADA.
There are many people who have a disability that prevents them from wearing a mask for any significant length of time. My wife is in that category due to a combination of asthma and an AVM that has already caused one stroke and could cause another one. There are at least dozens if not hundreds of other disabilities that prevent people from wearing masks, and the existence of these disabilities is sufficiently known to the public that they are referenced in the mask orders as exceptions. Any business that refuses service to customers without masks is in violation of the ADA and should be reported.
I will be filing complaints against the lawyer's office that refused to even speak with us unless we wore masks, the airline that refused to let us on the plane without masks, and Governor Ivey's office which has publicly advised businesses that denying entry to those without masks "would certainly be a reasonable step to encourage mask use." I will also file a complaint against each and every business that takes similar actions from now on, and you can do this too. According to the ADA, you do not have to have a disability to file a complaint. Anyone who witnesses or even suspects violations of the ADA can file a complaint by filling out the online form at this link:
By the way, the ADA defines a disability as:
"Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more body systems, such as: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, immune, circulatory, hemic, lymphatic, skin, and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disability."
And it follows that definition with the explanation that:
"Physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, contagious and noncontagious diseases and conditions such as the following: orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, intellectual disability, emotional illness, dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), tuberculosis, drug addiction, and alcoholism."
The ADA does exempt businesses from complying if doing so would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others, but it also requires that:
"In determining whether an individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, a public accommodation must make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain: The nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk." (emphasis added)
This means that a business cannot have a blanket denial of entry to those without masks. They are required to conduct an individualized assessment of each person who attempts to enter without a mask before they can deny entry. If a business denies entry without first conducting an individualized risk assessment, they are in violation of the ADA and should be reported at this link.
2. Write Letters to Your Representatives
Back when all of these emergency power laws were being promoted in the wake of 9-11, we were told that the laws would have safeguards to prevent the kind of abuses that we've seen over the past four months. Many of those safeguards were never implemented, but there is one safeguard that remains intact. Each state's legislature has the power to negate the emergency health orders within that state.
I will be writing my state representatives every time that I file another ADA complaint. I will inform them of the specific complaint against a business within their district, and I will ask them to work on our behalf to resolve the problem. I will also inform them of the fact that the Code of Alabama places specific limitations on the authority of the various health officers of the state and that the mask ordinance does not comply with those limitations.
By the way, I will be writing physical letters instead of emails because physical letters require more effort open and read than emails do. Whenever you write to your representatives, you should keep in mind that they probably do not read their own mail or email. That task is usually delegated to a member of their staff who then creates a report about the kind of mail received. If you want your letter to reach the desk of your representative, you have to do something to make it stand out to that staff member. Receiving multiple physical letters on the same topic makes an indelible impression that the staffer is more likely to convey to the representative.
3. Sue Everyone Responsible
As I mentioned in the previous point, the laws of most states place specific limitations on what can and cannot be mandated during a health emergency, and the mask orders almost always exceed those limitations. When the government oversteps its legal authority, the law provides a way for the people to seek a remedy through the courts. There have already been suits filed in Texas and Florida, and I know of several people in the process of filing similar suits in Alabama.
I am also preparing to file suit. I am currently planning to sue our governor, our state health officer, our county health officer, and anyone else that was responsible for the implementation of illegal mask orders in our state. As part of that suit, I will be asking for an immediate injunction against the order to stop it from being implemented. This ridiculous abuse of power has gone on long enough, and I fully intend to do my part to stop it.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
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