When government fails in New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham turns to martial law

When government fails in New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham turns to martial law

On September 8th, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham suspended the 2nd Amendment in Bernalillo County. Since then, it became obvious this was a unilateral decision on her part, as several prominent Democrats publicly decried the order, refusing to enforce it. But apparently when government fails in New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham turns to martial law.

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When government fails in New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham turns to martial law

In her Public Health Order, Gov. Lujan Grisham directed the health secretary to use “the full scope of emergency powers under the ‘All Hazard Emergency Management Act’.” The short title is, “Riot Control Act” ─ essentially a non-military, state-level version of martial law.

This isn’t the first time she’s done this.

She also invoked the Riot Control Act on April 30, 2020, when she locked down the entire city of Gallup during COVID. In hindsight, we now know the demonstrable and irreparable damage the lockdowns did to our economy, and their failure to address COVID as a public health emergency.

So, why did the governor believe this would have been effective in addressing any other public health emergency?

While Biden-appointed U.S. District Judge David Urias recently blocked the order, Lujan Grisham has since amended it. It’s not much better.

She’s not backing down from suspending the 2nd Amendment. She’s declared it for “public parks or playgrounds, or other public areas provided for children to play in.” Additionally, this includes state parks. She’s also requiring monthly inspections of firearms dealers.

In her amended order she includes claims of data that do not appear to be available in the resources she cites. Namely, a “100% increase” of “child firearm emergency department visits … for youth ages 0-13 between 2018 and 2022. But the emergency department data reports during these years, posted to the website, do not include this metric.

Where is she finding this data?

There is a broader issue at play here that goes beyond questions about 2nd Amendment rights. Namely, the civil legitimacy of broad emergency powers. This claim of power violates numerous rights and have been used in the wake of failed policies. Americans for Prosperity Foundation is calling this into question at the federal level.

Here in New Mexico, we want to call it into question at the state level too.

RELATED: Never Concentrate Power in the Hands of Sinners

So, what failed policies are we talking about?

The “tough on crime” policies cultivated in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s were intended to address violent crime and drug addiction. These are, essentially, what Governor Lujan Grisham has declared a public health emergency. In his review of Elizabeth Hinton’s book, From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America, Tate Fegley of the Mises Institute explains:

“During the Ford Administration, one of the LEAA’s primary initiatives was “Operation Disarm the Criminal,” establishing a federal handgun control squad that operated in urban centers in pursuit of what Hinton describes as an effort to disarm poor blacks by criminalizing the possession of cheap “Saturday night specials” (p. 253).

In addition to targeting gun owners, the federal government incentivized local law enforcement to fight the War on Drugs through the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, which contained forfeiture provisions that allowed law enforcement agencies to keep as much as 90 percent of the proceeds from seizures of cash and property belonging to suspected drug offenders (p. 312).

The federal government has also shaped local law enforcement through the distribution of discounted or free equipment, including military weapons and hardware as well as surveillance gadgets.

This continues to this day with the distribution of Automatic License Plate Recognition technology and Stingray devices that mimic cell phone towers, allowing the user to extract data from cell phones within range.”

In fact, one of President Joe Biden’s Senate legacies was his efforts to curb violent crime and drug addiction through a heavy legal hand. It failed, resulting in mass incarceration and a prison system taxpayers can’t afford. And it hasn’t stopped the looming crisis of drug addiction, homelessness, poverty, etc.

These proverbial “wars” on drugs, crime, and poverty are epic failures that only served to grow the police state, kill the economy, and make various addictions worse.

According to a 2019 New Mexico Epidemiology report, 66% of firearm-involved deaths in New Mexico were suicides, while only 30% were homicides. According to the FBI, only 96 murders in New Mexico were on account of a firearm. That means, 224 suicides by firearm in New Mexico in 2019.

In fact, when we look at suicide rates, reported by the New Mexico Department of Health for 2017-2021, we see some incredible results. New Mexico’s male suicide rate is three times higher than females. Why are we not talking about why New Mexican males are killing themselves at such an alarming rate? Suicide is also associated with drug addiction.

So why aren’t we having these conversations right now? Maybe because of our failed health care policies too?

Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, health care costs have skyrocketed, and the quality of care isn’t what it used to be. It’s increasingly more difficult to get access to the care one needs. Turns out, it’s only health insurance cards for all, not the access to world class quality care for all we were promised.

Governor Lujan Grisham’s progressive agenda has made health care in New Mexico even worse. Our state used to be a health care destination. University of New Mexico Medical School was ranked one of the top in the nation. Now it doesn’t even make the top 30. Astronomical medical malpractice caps have driven medical providers out of state, causing shortages.

We don’t need martial law to solve these problems.
We don’t need the governor calling for a state of emergency every time her party’s policies inevitably fail.

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Kerry Baldwin
B.A. Philosophy, Arizona State University. My writing focuses on libertarian philosophy and reformed theology and aimed at the educated layperson. I am a confessionally Reformed Christian orthodox Presbyterian in the tradition of J. Gresham Machen (1881 – 1937)

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