Thumbs down to the Mankato store customer accused of being so agitated about being asked to wear a face covering as store policy requires that she slapped the employee who asked her to comply.

Pumped-up sensitivity about rights being infringed upon when required by businesses to follow public health guidelines has marched into the territory of the ridiculous. If people don’t want to wear a mask in places that require it, then they don’t have to shop there. It’s their right to stay away.

Choosing instead to physically attack an underpaid clerk who takes on extra risk every day by showing up to work where the public is welcome adds insult to injury.

It is bizarre that mask-wearing has become some sort of political issue. In the midst of a pandemic that has shown little sign of abating, donning face masks is public is an important piece of personal hygiene. We know that the coronavirus can be spread by asymptomatic carriers; we know that an asymptomatic carrier wearing a mask is less likely to spread the virus. That is reason enough to wear one.

The woman caught on store surveillance video should be ashamed to show her face in public.

Garden police folly

Thumbs down to the city of Falcon Heights for retroactively denying a resident’s effort to put a vegetable garden in his front yard.

Quentin Nguyen has been cultivating and setting up a garden in his front yard since earlier this spring. He planned to offer a community vegetable garden and announced the plan online, where the garden police were waiting.

City officials passed an ordinance banning front yard vegetable gardens after Nguyen had begun digging the garden and had spent $1,000 on materials.

An online petition garnered 10,000 signatures of support for his garden. Some 150 Falcon Heights residents also signed a petition in support.

But after hours of public testimony Wednesday, the City Council voted 3-2 to uphold the ban.

The city is guilty of overreach and overkill. Vegetable gardens are not likely to infringe on the God-given rights in the Constitution or anywhere else. Some neighbors said they didn’t want to have people coming and going at all hours.

Really? It’s a vegetable garden. Beware of the dangerous tomatoes, peppers and green beans.

Twitter and Trump

Thumbs up to Twitter for finally fact-checking President Trump.

Trump had claimed on Twitter that mail-in ballots would be “substantially fraudulent.”

For the first time Twitter put a fact-check label on his tweet. “Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” the label said, directing people to resources that show Trump’s claims are unsubstantiated.

Trump was furious, promising vengeance and claiming his free speech rights are violated. On Thursday he sought to try to strip social media platforms of their exemption from defamation claims, a move that will probably require Congress to undo federal law.

Free speech rights prevent the government from interfering with citizens’ or news media speech. But social media platforms like Twitter are private businesses and people who choose to use them agree to terms of service, including being fact checked.

On Friday Twitter went further, “hiding” a Trump tweet from late Thursday that it said “glorified violence” in violation of its standards. It did not take the tweet offline, but made it more difficult to see and retweet.

Trump has long violated Twitter’s standards, and the service has been equally long reluctant to flag the president’s vitriol and lies. It continues to say those decisions are not based on politics. But Twitter is right to fact-check obvious falsehoods — whoever posts them — and should treat violations of its standards equally, president or not.

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