Tom Germond Sig

If you're a devout nudist, do you have to wear a mask?

You probably should. In the Czech Republic, 75 naked folks recently were told by police they had to wear masks because of the coronavirus. No butts about it.

So masks continue to make headlines. Now a legislator is suing Pinellas County and the city of DeLand, a week after the city imposed the mask ordinance. Those are the bare facts, with Anthony Sabatini, a state representative from Howey-in-the Hills, complaining that violators can be fined up to $100 for not submitting to the fact that officials "believe the government owns your face."

Are masks unconstitutional? Hmmm.

The government tells us we have to wear seat belts. The government tell us when we can water our lawns. The government tells us where we can park our cars. The government tells us we must abide by speed limits when we drive. (All those who have never violated that one, say aye). The government tells us when we can or can't visit parks. The government tells us we can't drink and drive. The government tells us how old we must be to drink. The government, to some extent, also tells us what we can't eat. I defy anybody to find blackened manatee on any restaurant menus.

Lest I forget: The government tells us what we can hunt with what kind of weapons and in some states is very specific about that. According to internet sites, it is a misdemeanor for persons to hunt game from a moving vehicle in California unless the game they are hunting is a whale. Don't know what prompted such a law. I bet you won't see too many cars in California with whales tied to the roofs of their vehicles. God only knows what they put on the car roofs in Howey-in-the Hills.

Got Georgia on my mind. It's against the law in Atlanta to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole or streetlamp. And you'll need more than wearing a mask to do it. Unconstitutional? Not sure I'd want to hit a giraffe crossing a highway. Wouldn't be anything left of my roof to mount it on.

It's illegal to be drunk in a bar in Alaska. Bet that's a tough one to enforce. Even tougher to abide by. What if the bartender is drunk? If I ever go to Alaska, I'm darn sure going to wear a mask in a bar. A big one, too. Not worried as much about getting the virus as I am about some drunk spitting in my face.

Sorry, kind of daydreaming and drifting here. Back to laws or the lack thereof. The government sometimes tells you when you can be out and about. I'm talking about curfews during wars and hurricanes. In World War II, the government told us how much food we could buy, how much gas we could get. Many cities also enacted curfews during the recent civil unrest stemming from the death of George Floyd. Curfews also were imposed in response to the coronavirus.

And yes, freedom of the press comes with limits, too. Sometimes the government tells the press what we can't write or do. Can't count how many times when I was an editor that I was concerned about being threatened with invasion of privacy, libel, copyright infringement or violating other laws on the books.

Made many calls to attorneys. But I managed to stay out of jail, and I never lost a suit over a story published on my watch. Lost sleep, though.

The government adopts many measures to keep us safe. The Occupational Safety and Health Act was adopted in 1970 to prevent workers from being killed or harmed at work. Seems it has stood up to constitutional challenges.

Somehow, with all the government regulations on the books, we've survived as the greatest nation in the world. And for the life of me, I can't understand how mask requirements infringe on the greater good of our society, and, as the Constitutions says, on efforts to ensure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare of all Americans.

If government can't take reasonable actions to protect the lives of its citizens during a pandemic, what good is it?

As long as the government doesn't discriminate in applying mask laws — whether you're a nudist, giraffe lover or whale hunter — the betting line here is that the higher courts will allow such laws to stand, at least while you're on this planet.

If not, I'll be tempted to go someplace safer than here, where I'll have hopes to be virus free, have room to breathe, maybe even as far away as Alaska.

Not to worry, Alaskans. I'll mind my p’s and q’s. It's been a long time since I've been drunk in a bar.

And it's too cold up there for me to run around naked.