By AFP Staff
It may be a sign of the times that the fear and worry over the spread of the global pandemic spawned by the novel coronavirus SARS-Cov-2, which causes Covid-19 infections in people, is creating a nation of snitches in the United States.
Across the U.S. reports are popping up of everyday Americans trying to open for business to save their livelihoods or feed their families only to have a nosy neighbor or other busybody call the police on them. In Maryland, for instance, the owner of multiple Flagship Car Wash businesses, was charged by police with violating Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order closing all “non-essential businesses.” The owner is facing a misdemeanor offense that carries a maximum fine of $5,000.00 and up to one year in jail. According to reports, police had twice visited the self-service and automated car wash to find it up and running. The police said they had received multiple phone calls from passers-by that the car wash was operational and customers were using it.
All across the country, from Florida to California, from Texas to Wyoming, busybodies have been calling in to police to rat on their neighbors that “non-essential” businesses have opened up in violation of government mandates.
In one particularly frightening article, The New York Times euphemistically referred to these snitches as “social distancing informants,” calling the police when couples in parks get too close to each other or moms at playgrounds allow their kids to play together.
“Largely confined to their homes and worried about the spread of the coronavirus,” opined the Times, “members of the public are becoming unofficial watchdogs.” The New York City newspaper then goes on to discuss how bored, sad, lonely, frightened armchair warriors are using social media to shame those—even a respected New York cardiologist—who dare to venture outside their homes.
In St. Louis County, Mo., however, “hundreds of snitches” may be getting their just deserts.
According to a recent report, a website in Missouri that allowed citizens there to snitch on their neighbors published the complaint forms, which required the snitch to give their full names along with other private details. One man, Jared Totsch, then used his own social media account to publicize the specific details.
“If they are worried about retaliation, they should have read the fine print which stated their tips would be open public record subject to a Sunshine request, and should not have submitted tips in that manner to begin with,” Totsch wrote in his social media account. “I released the info in an attempt to discourage such behavior in the future.”
He added: “I’d call it poetic justice, instant Karma, a dose of their own medicine. What goes around, comes around. They are now experiencing the same pain that they themselves helped to inflict on those they filed complaints against.”