PHOENIX (AP) — With the coronavirus spreading out of control and Arizona cities beginning just last month to require residents wear masks in public, a few hundred people gathered in Scottsdale to make clear they didn’t approve of the heavy hand of government telling them to cover their faces.
A city councilman, Guy Phillips, came to the podium and ripped off his black face mask, declaring, “I can’t breathe!”
He later insisted his comment was meant to highlight the oppressive nature of masks, not to mock the dying words of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, though Phillips’ words were widely interpreted as racist.
The episode highlights the visceral opposition to government mandates, a fierce individualism that has endured among some in Arizona since the days of the Wild West. The buzz-off attitude is taking on new importance as the state has become one of the