Letter: State’s social gathering ‘rat line’ is a terrible idea

Posted 8/13/20

I’m a lifelong Democrat who voted for Gina Raimondo in the last election, and while I generally approve of her job performance and how she has handled the Coronavirus outbreak, her recent …

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Letter: State’s social gathering ‘rat line’ is a terrible idea

Posted

I’m a lifelong Democrat who voted for Gina Raimondo in the last election, and while I generally approve of her job performance and how she has handled the Coronavirus outbreak, her recent action creating a social gathering “rat line” has left me concerned and disappointed.

There are many things wrong with her directive, with the most obvious one being this tip line presents numerous opportunities for abuse, such as people snitching on each other solely for the purpose of harassment, because of a longstanding dispute or disagreement between neighbors, or just to play neighborhood vigilante.

The next problem is that of enforcement, where police officers are now put in the very uncomfortable position of becoming the “morality police.” Police officers these days are under a huge amount of scrutiny and pressure, and adding this additional duty of breaking up and issuing citations for violating social gathering rules is going to do nothing but bring them more headaches and additional animosity from the public.

In addition, utilizing police officers to enforce this foolish mandate is a complete waste of resources, and ties up valuable time and manpower which should be used to fight and prevent real crime, not to mention how this could overburden our judicial system, should citizens choose to fight any citiations in court.

I will readily admit that since the pandemic began, I have violated the governor’s social gathering orders on a number of occasions, both as a host and participant, and the governor’s creation of this “snitch line” will do absolutely nothing to deter me from violating her social gathering orders in the future. I’m an adult who takes precautions which I feel are necessary, but I don’t need Gina to legislate morality for me.

And while I’ll continue to support her politically, both now and in the future, I will be breaking ranks with her on utilizing this poorly conceived “rat line,” and I advise other common sense individuals to do the same.

Mike Proto
Bristol

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.