To the editor:

In 1917, in response to World War I, German language schools were shut down by law. In response to the Great Depression, more than 500,000 Mexican-Americans (most of them U.S. citizens) were “repatriated.” In 1941, in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese-Americans were interned. In response to the Cold War, freedom of political affiliation was curtailed. In 2001, in reaction to the attacks by Osama Bin Laden, the Patriot Act -- which chipped away at American freedoms -- was passed.

The point is this: Americans and their governments have a long history of overreaction to crises that results in criminal laws being enacted against the U.S. Constitution. This coronavirus crisis is no different. Closing playgrounds and beaches and enacting laws to separate people is a violation of our freedoms and overreaching by the state. No doubt that in 100 years the history books will explain how Americans lost their freedoms and their once-thriving economy to good old American alarmism and panic.

Christopher Phillips

Gloucester

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