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Remembering Jimmy

rainey

Bottom line: Our unvaccinated neighbor(s) poses a threat to our lives for which, if the threat were him firing a gun, he’d be arrested. For being unvaccinated, he’s free to go.

I’ve heard every damned excuse for avoiding the COVID needle and they’re all non-starters – with the only possible exception being someone who, medically, cannot be exposed to the vaccine. Other than that, they’re all pure B.S..

In the very early 1960’s, Dr. Jonas Salk announced a reliable, and thoroughly tested vaccine for polio. I had a friend in second grade – Jimmy Shoemaker – who contracted the disease and was quickly placed in an “iron lung” 150 miles away. Though I didn’t know it in 1943, he’d spend the rest of his life in that damned machine and die at the age of 31.

With that image in mind, when the Salk vaccine was initially available, I made sure our three kids were immediately in line for a little sip from a Dixie cup. Us, too. Tasteless. Almost to the point of being disappointing. I’d expected some medical after-taste as is almost always the case in oral medical treatments.

But, thinking of Jimmy in that damned steel machine, and knowing the effectiveness of the Salk vaccine, there was no decision to make. Go get it. All five of us.

Now, jump ahead 60 years. It’s likely impossible to come up with a source for the politicization of what should have been purely a medical issue. But, early on, that’s exactly what happened with COVID-19. The anti-vaxxers and the loud voices of Trumpers set the tone and here we are. Another needless national division.

COVID is on the rise in all 50 states. People are being hospitalized. People are dying. Needlessly! This should NOT be happening. But, it is. The unvaccinated are walking among us and some could be carriers of COVID. And, I’d bet some of those walkers who’ve made that detestable decision, are also not mask wearers.

So, the rest of us – we who’ve chosen the safer route of vaccination and masks – are ready targets for the COVID many of them are carrying. Though vaccinated, we can be reinfected. The vaccine in our bodies is only about 70-percent effective. We are vulnerable.

With the possible exception of those with well-proven medical problems with vaccines, there’s no excuse fo anti-vaxxers. With COVID or anything else. Full stop.

We’re a nation of laws, though some recent court decisions seemingly challenge that long-standing fact. When facing an international pandemic – COVID or the Black plague or any other terrible, life-threatening disease – we, as citizens, deserve and expect such treatments, as are recognized and effective, to be accessed by all. If not willingly, then I believe, mandated.

My unvaccinated neighbor should not be entitled to be a medical threat to me, my family or the neighborhood. His likelihood of being a carrier – or being infected – pose such a threat to all with whom he comes in contact. As previously stated, what if he carried a loaded rifle and pointed it at all the people who cross his path? Wouldn’t he be considered “armed and dangerous” and, therefore, a threat to the community?

And the politicalization. Overlay a map of the most severe states affected by this deadly disease on one showing states Trump won in 2016 and last year. The red ones. There’s a lot of similarity. Especially Texas, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and – well – you get the idea.

There was a time – long, long ago – in an America now seemingly far, far away – when you lost the argument or the ball game, you stopped arguing and the minority went along with the majority.

No more. Now, we have those who won’t move. Who won’t stop arguing. Who loudly go their own way. As we’ve seen repeatedly, sometimes carrying a weapon. Or a disease.

Even something as simple as being a responsible citizen – not to mention being a responsible parent – when getting a three-second shot to do your part in stopping the spread of a pandemic, brings angry resistance. That’s wrong. That’s the point, when you put all you come into contact with in life-threatening danger; when you become irresponsible. That’s not right!

We’re a nation of freedoms. We’re a nation of choices. But, when you chose to be a danger – and possibly a disease carrier or a killer – to all around you, well, that’s wrong. Just wrong.

There oughta be a law.
 

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