Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The show emergency state

The outrage over Governor Nixon's preemptive declaration of a "state of emergency" to stop an hypothetical violent situation is yesterday's news. But for the past 24 hours I keep wondering how exactly the governor can declare a state of emergency is the state in question has not yet happened. Doesn't a "state" in this context refer to something that actually exists?

Or does the emergency state come into existence upon the declaration? In that case, wouldn't the emergency be the governorship of Jay Nixon himself? Is that not the state of being that caused this emergency to happen? I thought the whole point of giving governors the power to declare states of emergency was so that those emergencies could be resolved. Otherwise, what is the point? I don't think the idea was to give governors the power to create their own emergencies. Why would we want that?