PERRY: Stop coddling crazy people and curmudgeons who have the freedom to keep their COVID at home

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It’s clear now, we can’t get there from here.

Less than a year ago, the entire nation seemed to be champing at the bit to get access to a vaccine that would save our lives, our jobs and our world as we once knew it.

Somehow, the easy way out of the pandemic became an insane cause celebré for people who love Donald Trump or generally don’t like needing to be told to come out of the rain.

Long lines in February to get any of the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine available have turned into failed attempts to cajole and bribe refuseniks into taking a shot.

It isn’t as if there’s a shortage of stories about hospitals turning people away because the beds are filled with vaxinaughts dying to get their turn to have a ventilator tube shoved down their throats.

Our neighbors to the north, in Gillette, Wyoming, are living the bad dream.

Less than 25% of the town has been vaccinated. Even the town hospital boasts only a 39% vaccination rate among doctors, nurses and other employees. The hospital’s chief medical officer says, that’s just the way it is.

“I’m a big believer in freedom of choice,” Dr. Attila Barabas told reporters in an Associated Press story The Sentinel ran this week. “I honestly think that’s a fundamental aspect of being an American. And I think mandates can be troublesome and can cause a pushback to some degree.”

Freedom?

Since when has personal “freedom” included taking the life of someone else, especially among conservatives?

Imagine the “blink, blink, blink” look of disbelief of these same extremists being told that the state will be ending DUI laws so as not to impinge on the freedom of those who don’t want to drive on public roads sober anymore.

There’s no law against getting drunk or even drinking yourself to death. As a society, though, we’ve decided it’s got to be against the law to victimize others by doing stupid things, like dragging your foolishness into public places.

Do shots until you puke, but keep it at home.

How in the world did we get to a point where a fringe minority gets traction arguing that they have a right to victimize everyone with a potential death sentence?

This isn’t about cold season and please sneeze into your elbow. It’s a deadly pandemic that has killed almost 700,000 Americans in just over a year and continues to kill more than 2,000 people across the nation every day.

This isn’t about freedom, it’s about sanity, or the lack of it. We live in the wealthiest, most scientifically advanced nation on the planet and in the history of the world. And thousands of people would rather take cattle dewormer or Clorox than a vaccine that is proved to be incredibly safe and effective.

Last week, state officials revealed that schools that abide by mask mandates and have high vaccination rates have far, far less incidence of COVID-19 disease and all the hell that comes with it.

Go figure.

This week, a story in the Colorado Sun revealed that after state health officials spent millions to make free and plentiful COVID-19 tests available to students and schools to keep infections out of classrooms and students inside of them, it turns out less than 1% of students are being tested under the program.

Stop the music.

Vaccination has basically stalled here in Colorado. “Freedom” fighters are suing school districts to prevent them from imposing mask mandates. At the same time, Colorado continues to fill hospital beds with COVID-19 patients, several hundred on any given day. About 20 people each day in Colorado die with COVID-19.

If the plan is to allow vaccine deniers to infect each other until they’ve all gotten infected, sick or dead, the plan is working perfectly, but too slowly.

The new pandemic moniker making its way across the intertubes is calling it “Red Covid” now. Polis and others call it a disease of the unvaccinated.

Not quite. The current strain of coronavirus can more easily infect some who are vaccinated, generally the most vulnerable of all of us. They’re the victims of people who value their own “freedom” over your life.

Tragically, elected officials from school boards to city councils to health departments to county commissions all the way up to the governor’s office refuse to step in with critically needed mandates to end the insanity, and the eternal spread of the virus.

While it’s important to keep pressing elected officials to act like elected officials, it’s more vital now to lean on employers, retailers, restaurants and other public venues to demand proof of vaccine or instant tests for everyone. If you don’t want to vax up before heading to the grocery store or pharmacy, stay in your car. The person whose life you threaten will bring your stuff out to you.

You have the freedom to drink alone, eat alone and build your own damn swimming pool.

But we can’t allow public health threats to freely behave like public health threats. With freedom comes great responsibility, for all of us.

I agree with Dr. Barabas. There will be push back.

So tell it to the judge and hope the person in the cell with you has had their shots.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]

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Joe Felice
Joe Felice
2 months ago

Ha ha! I’ll bet their “freedom of choice” doesn’t extend to women’s bodies. It’s interesting how conservatives cite something when it serves their purpose, but oppose it when it doesn’t. Or maybe the doctor’s choice of words was just a serious misstep for the cause.

Carrie
2 months ago

Why is it that we should inject ourselves with something we have no idea what it is? How long do the drugs or vaccines usually take to find and then test after that? They still havent found a vaccine for many things that have been around and killing people for a long time. Also why is it that people who aren’t afraid of the virus have to stay home? If your scared you should stay home locked in your house like a scared person would do. I feel that you are an ignorant person for writing this article and categorizing people who stand up for their rights as “crazy people” it is people like you that just allow more of our constitutional rights to be trampled on because you refuse to recall facts from history and see what has happened in the past can and will happen again. We are supposed to learn from past mistakes not continue to make them. I know if I fall into a hole while walking down the sidewalk, I will take a different route next time. Whatever your belief is you cant label everyone who doesn’t feel the same as you as crazy.

Jeff Ryan
Jeff Ryan
2 months ago
Reply to  Carrie

The easiest question your comment raises is this: Just where in the Constitution does it say you have a right not to be vaccinated? (Pro tip: Nowhere.)

Every government is charged with safeguarding public safety. And as the Supreme Court said over 100 years ago, no one has a right to endanger the health and life of his fellow citizens. In Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the Court held that states have the right to mandate vaccination during an epidemic. That was in 1905.

Nilta
Nilta
2 months ago

Hospitals need to change their protocols for admitting and treating patients. Instead of suspending and denying treatment to vaccinated patients due to the overload of the unvaccinated, they should prioritize treating vaccinated patients first.

Debra MacKillop
Debra MacKillop
2 months ago

ALL TOO TRUE. As a 68 year old job hunting (vaccinated), I’m only looking for a remote job. Anything else is too scary today in the US (worst country record for wearing mask, and poor vaccine percentage given how available vaccines are, we are the envy of the world in vaccine supply and the sad/laughing stock of the world in our performance). I will take lower pay before being around people. You take your life in your hands with a lot of the jobs open dealing with violent uninformed public. I think this winter is going to be terrible due to the anti-vaxxers/mask refusers, and I hope to be working at home using my computer and phone, wearing a mask when among the public, getting my booster vaccine, and only hanging with people I trust who are informed and smart enough to be vaccinated, cautious, and keep up and adhere to public health guidelines.

Colorado Covid Watch
Colorado Covid Watch
2 months ago

There are advocacy groups on the ground trying to encourage stuff like this, yet few media sources will cover it…including The Sentinel.

NIck Campbell
NIck Campbell
2 months ago

Since vaccinated people can carry COVID just like unvaccinated people, tell me again what the push is for.