Key Words: All respect to Marshall Dillon (and Marco Rubio), it’s ‘martial law’

Martial law (noun): the law administered by military forces that is invoked by a government in an emergency when the civilian law-enforcement agencies are unable to maintain public order and safety

Merriam-Webster

The public health emergency hasn’t required martial law as the federal government mobilizes, not without criticism, the fight against COVID-19.

Rumors about such elevated enforcement in the fight to contain the coronavirus aren’t helping anyone, lawmakers and others implored.

But the seriousness of the issue, or nonissue as it were, might be given more gravity if politicians and others taking to social media, the Florida senator (and former Republican presidential candidate) Marco Rubio among them, can make the distinction between “marshall law” and “martial law.”

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Sen. Rubio later sent an oops tweet.

Mass closings of schools and restaurants, guidance against any gathering with more than 10 people, and a three-week lockdown in San Francisco, while very serious, so far don’t require military or paramilitary enforcement.

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As for Marshall Matt Dillon, the lawman of the “Gunsmoke” television series played by the late James Arness, well, he’s only available in reruns. (William Conrad voiced the character on the radio series from 1952 until 1961.)

Twitter TWTR, -17.92% showed the senator about the same mercy any Dodge City gunslinger might expect. The error was trending on social media Monday.

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