Letter: Every choice has a consequence

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To the editor,

On CBS This Morning, the anchors were recently discussing the new vaccination mandate in New York City. Citizens must be fully vaccinated to enter public spaces like restaurants, sports arenas, movie theaters and Broadway theaters.

Anchor Tony Dokoupil made a point I hadn’t considered before. After a video of crowds protesting this new mandate, he commented, “Did you obey the speed limit driving here? Did you stop for red lights?”

Now before I go on, I know there are many people who don’t do these things. There seems to be a school of thought that if no one saw it then a person did not break the law. Of course, I believe that even if no one sees a person do something illegal, they did break the law. Taking a left turn on red because the intersection is empty or running a red light because someone doesn’t want to have to stop for a few minutes is breaking the law. Not getting caught is no excuse. To me it is a moral and social obligation.

The difference between a mandate and a law is simple. I found an explanation as reported by Joee Taylor, a reporter from ABC Fox News in Great Falls, Mont.

“A law and a mandate have the same power to be enforced. The only difference is how it came to be. A law is passed by the senate and the house of representatives and signed by the governor. A mandate is made by the governor, with the power given to him by the legislature in a state of emergency.”

We all have the right to follow our own conscience and make our own choices, but then we have to remember, every choice has a consequence. It someone chooses to rob a bank, the consequence could be jail time. If someone chooses not to get vaccinated, they could get sick and maybe die or perhaps infect someone else. The complication here is people have the right to get sick and die, but they don’t have the right to take others with them. That’s also why we have traffic laws. We have the right to drive recklessly, but we don’t have the right to endanger others while doing so.

As citizens, here is a list of some things we need a license for — a license is a mandate couched in other words: hunting, driving a car, driving a motorcycle, fishing, selling real estate, buying a gun, using some software, using a trademark, using a copyrighted song, practicing law, selling alcohol, flying a plane, manufacturing, building a house, breeding dogs, getting married, operating a forklift and practicing medicine.

Of course, there are people who will do almost all of these things without getting the appropriate training or a license, but that brings me back to that school of thought. Either people are morally and ethically grounded or they are not, but if they are not, they will face the consequences of ignoring these mandates.

As much as I am against the mask mandates, I always carry one in my pocket just in case the place I am going to requires one. There are other places I won’t go to because, if they are requiring a mask, I don’t want to be there.

But I am vaccinated and have been since February. I don’t see why those of us who got vaccinated should be penalized because of those who continue to stand on their shaky declaration that vaccination imposes on their freedom.

I do see the necessity for protecting each other, but after eight months of the vaccine being available, for those who won’t just get it, I feel they are now on their own. Fully vaccinated people should not be required to wear a mask. People don’t want to be forced to get vaccinated. We don’t want to be forced to wear a mask because people won’t get vaccinated.

Make a choice and accept the consequences, whether it’s being barred from someone’s favorite establishments or possibly dying in agony in an ICU.

Trish Zappone

Prospect