Editor’s note: This commentary is by Kate Bowen, a farmer and musician from Putney.
Today was the first time since January we thought it would be a fun family treat, and a nice way to support a local Brattleboro business affected by the shut-down, to get take-out.
The business asked everyone picking-up to wear masks and observe proper six foot social distancing.
We quietly waited outside in the beautiful sunshine for our food. About 10 to 20 people at various times were picking up their orders. Customers paid by check or credit cards. No one was allowed inside their building.
A Brattleboro resident took it upon him or herself to call the police. When the officer walked over to me I seriously assumed he was picking up food, not going to question me. He wasn’t wearing an adequate mask and stood within my arm’s reach.
I mentioned to the business owner (who was extremely busy) I was going to take a walk and come back … and not wait on their property, assuming maybe that was better for social distancing government requirements. On my walk the same police officer drove by me twice. Then a state trooper drove past.
Everyone who was waiting outside could have walked over to Walgreens and shopped indoors together. We all could be shopping at Walmart together. What we can’t do is support small local businesses together.
Thoreau said “I was not born to be forced,” and today I saw something horribly dark in my county. Someone saw a small business trying to serve their community and decided to pick up the phone and report their neighbors. I learned that the people have to stand apart and wait outside, but officials can breath on you and enter a business without an invitation.
“Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.” — Thomas Jefferson