Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants to create an unofficial Snitch Squad by promising to reward busybody neighbors who convince themselves that snitching on anyone who dares to leave their house or run a business even while “social distancing:”

“If any non-essential businesses continue to operate in violation of the stay at home order, we’re going to act to enforce the safer at home order and ensure their compliance,” he said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Garcetti said business ambassadors had visited 540 businesses that had not complied with the Safer at Home order. Of those, 144 were visited by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department to ensure compliance with the order.

Four businesses have been referred to the city attorney’s office for misdemeanor filings.

“You know the old expression about snitches, well in this case snitches get rewards,” Garcetti said. “We want to thank you for turning folks in and making sure we are all safe.”

Garcetti tries to emphasize that it isn’t a mandatory order because he includes the vague language “with exceptions,” but when you’re talking about fines, penalties, and possible imprisonment, yeah, it is. When you tell businesses that they must close down and the business owners must cease making a living for themselves and their employees, that isn’t freedom, nor is it American. I’ve heard the endless justifications of “different times during a pandemic,” but I will repeat: If your rights are conditional upon illness, then they’re not rights, they’re privileges. Stop pretending you’re free when you accept this sorts of things without question. There are ways to handle these issues that strike a happy medium as opposed to tanking a $20 trillion dollar economy, a financial “virus” that will unarguable also cost lives.

I also dislike the reactionary responses from some on the left and those who behave like them which refuse to acknowledge that both the pandemic is bad and shutting down the economy is bad are two separate thoughts that can coexist at the same time. Nuance isn’t entirely dead to that extreme point and it makes me cranky when people put the pedal to the floor in an effort to get to such idiocracy faster.