JIM SHARPE

Scottsdale councilman should wear a mask — so I can’t hear him

Jun 25, 2020, 12:06 PM
(KTAR News Photo/Luke Forstner)...
(KTAR News Photo/Luke Forstner)
(KTAR News Photo/Luke Forstner)

By now, you’ve heard about Wednesday’s infamous Scottsdale protest: As a hundred-or-so people gather in front of Scottsdale City Hall to voice their displeasure at our countywide mask requirements, Scottsdale City Councilman Guy Phillips takes the mic (and while wearing a mask) says, “I can’t breathe!”

Then, as he pulls the mask off, the crowd cheers.

I’m not sure if the crowd didn’t realize that Councilman Phillips was using the last words George Floyd uttered as he was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer — or if they just didn’t care. But, in a second, I’ll explain why the protesters should be the angriest of all the people who are mad at Councilman Phillips — and there are plenty to choose from.

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane said, “Councilman Phillips’ comments … do not represent the values of our Scottsdale community” and said his choice of words “was callous and insensitive.”

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally described Councilman Phillip’s choice of words with one word: “Despicable.”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey topped Sen. McSally by saying, “Despicable doesn’t go far enough.”

Now, to be fair to Scottsdale Councilman Phillips, he did apologize and claimed that he wasn’t thinking of George Floyd when he said, “I can’t breathe!”

But I still reserve the right to be angry that he said it because it makes Arizona look stupid for electing guys like Guy Phillips.

However, the people who should be the angriest at Phillips are the people who were out protesting with him.

Their decent constitutional argument — that personal decisions should be made free from government intrusion — got completely lost.

In fact, even though I think we need to wear masks, I agree with this argument to some extent.

That’s why I proposed a mask mandate a couple weeks ago that would’ve been a requirement on businesses instead of individuals.

Requiring that businesses maintain a safe environment for their patrons — free from unhealthy conditions — has been something we’ve done for a long time. And because a business license is a privilege, not a right, we could’ve avoided the whole individual rights mess.

But nobody listened to me.

And those protesters should be angry that Councilman Phillips has no one was listening to them either. That’s because the only thing anybody heard yesterday was Councilman Guy Phillips saying, “I can’t breathe!”

Or, should the protesters reserve their greatest anger for themselves? Maybe the moment everybody quit caring about what they had to say actually came a split second later — when a good chunk of them decided to cheer for Phillips.

Jim Sharpe

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Scottsdale councilman should wear a mask — so I can’t hear him