I Stand Corrected

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I’m certainly not perfect, and when I make mistakes (which is often enough), I try to own up to it. So if you haven’t read Malcolm Pearson’s letter to the editor in response to my Ravings from last week, then please do so before proceeding with this column. That letter should be on this page.

In his letter Mr. Pearson makes some solid points that have challenged me to re-examine my own position on the issue of vaccine mandates – and to do more than a few Google searches looking for additional info.

As far as the 99 percent figures cited by Mr. Pearson, I couldn’t find confirmation of that from any official government sources. I did, however, find a lot of media references of a recent CDC study showing that COVID deaths in August of this year were 11 times higher among unvaccinated people than among vaccinated people. That would put it at around 91 percent for that month (if my math is correct).

But that’s just parsing fine points and percentages. Pretty much all the data shows that getting vaccinated greatly reduces the chances of getting sick and/or dying of COVID. I’ve never disputed that.

But after thinking about it quite a bit, I will concede to Mr. Pearson’s assertion that vaccine mandates will probably result in more people getting vaccinated, and that will almost certainly save some lives. That logic is pretty sound.

And in so far as I suggested that this was not the case, I was wrong about that, and I should have considered and researched the matter more deeply. Thank you, Mr. Pearson, for calling that out.

Maybe it has something to do with my personal distaste for intrusive government mandates or my strong opinion that this pandemic has brought out the inner authoritarians in a lot of elected and appointed officials – but, honestly, I did let my personal feelings and biases cloud my reasoning. For that I apologize.

But, of course, there are additional questions that still need to be answered. Does the likelihood or certainty of saving lives justify these mandates? And, if so, does the saving of lives alone justify any and all government action, no matter how strict or oppressive it might be or how much it intrudes on personal freedom? And if there is a limit, where should the line be drawn between saving lives and respecting individual liberties? Who gets to draw that line?

Will the way these mandates are being implemented and enforced pass the legal tests that are surely coming?

Ultimately, the Supreme Court may end up weighing in on some or all of these questions.

Personally, I would really like to hear a direct and detailed answer from the Biden administration as to why natural immunity is not being considered. As I pointed out last week, European Union nations are allowing exemptions for natural immunity. Why aren’t we?

And I would really like to know why vaccine mandates are not being applied to the thousands of immigrants from all corners of the world illegally crossing our southern border every day, many of whom are being relocated to communities throughout the country by the federal government. Would that not also save lives, logically speaking? By comparison, immigrants entering this country through standard legal avenues and even foreign tourists coming over for a visit are required to show proof of vaccination for COVID-19.

It’s also becoming increasingly evident that these mandates do come with some negative side effects, such as looming shortages of first responders and medical personnel in some major cities and other areas – and (blame who you want) that problem may very well end up resulting in some loss of life.

Maybe I’m just being irrational or overly libertarian in the way I see things, but big government and big business working together to punish hard-working, tax-paying citizens for not doing what they’re told regarding their own bodies really bugs me in a big way, even if it’s for the common good.

And while I certainly hope that a lot more people get vaccinated and that fewer people die from this terrible virus, I just can’t bring myself to support these mandates. But, for the time being, I am going to stop railing against them. For now, I’m just going to keep my eyes open and watch how all this plays out.

But, most of all, I’m hoping and praying that this pandemic will die down to the point that vaccine mandates and all other COVID restrictions are rendered both unnecessary and indefensible.

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