Sometimes the price of “freedom” is death, according to those who refuse to get vaccinated or wear a mask. Giving someone the “freedom” to make a choice about being vaccinated even if it could save their life is an unusual way to interpret the meaning of “freedom.” Who chooses to die in order to make a point about “freedom?”

Interestingly, some of the same individuals want to deny a woman the “freedom” to make choices even to those who have been raped. Is that an infringement on their “freedom?” Can you have it both ways? Is the meaning of “freedom” only based on your own interpretation?

Ed McKinney

Ed McKinney

Does requiring everyone who drives a vehicle to have a license an infringement on “freedom” if you want to drive without a license? Or does ticketing an individual for speeding above the speed limit an infringement on “freedom?”

After all, we no longer require an individual to have a gun license in Tennessee and we know guns will kill. Any laws we have on the books sets limits on “freedom.” Are we now going to void all laws because they are an infringement on your “freedom?”

Even requiring a vaccination sets limits on “freedom.” Some individuals are exempt due to health concerns, religious or medical reasons. We allow some laws to set limits on “freedom” but refuse to allow a requirement that gives you “freedom” to live from a killer virus or to protect all individuals who may come in contact with a virus infected individual.

Is spreading the virus to others who may die the same as someone who uses a gun to kill someone? Does your “freedom” bring harm to other innocent individuals? Entire families including children have died from this killer virus. Children have lost both parents. Some children have lost a grandparent who was their only source of being a parent/caregiver.

Unfortunately these sad stories come from our own community. How much is “freedom” worth when it affects death in your own family?

For those who have used an unlicensed Tennessee weapon to kill an individual, do they use the word “freedom” as their legal defense? After all the state said it was OK to own a gun without having a license. Guns are used to kill. The murder rates are at an all time high. Sometimes the price of “freedom” is death. Is that how we define “freedom?”

Sure, we have laws that limit “freedom” to kill another individual. Is an individual background check an infringement on your “freedom?” Is it OK for the judge to take away the “freedom” from an individual who murdered another person? Was the law that places you behind bars an infringement on your “freedom?”

There have been more than 700,000 deaths in the United States due to COVID-19. Of all those who have died, do you think that “freedom” was their last thought prior to death?

Most all say prior to their death that they were foolish for not following the medical science about a pandemic and getting vaccinated. Some have even urged family members to be vaccinated as they took their last breath. This is a serious deadly illness that has exhausted the medical profession resulting in a crisis in standards of care.

The vaccination is not perfect; however, it is an attempt to lessen the severity of the virus attacking your ability to breathe and to continue living. It is also an attempt to lessen the spread of the virus and thus reduce the number of individuals (friends and family members) who may die from the killer virus.

How many teachers, teacher aides, substitute teachers and members of a school staff in Northeast Tennessee have died from COVID because some individuals wanted “freedom” from wearing a mask or being vaccinated? The death of one is one too many.

Listen to all the excuses these individuals make. Listen again when a member of their family dies from COVID. Does being a witness to the death of a family member change their meaning of “freedom?”

Was “freedom” on the mind of those who chose to opt out their children from wearing a mask in a school environment? Parents placing their children at a greater risk of having COVID-19 want to demand that “freedom” even though their child could be the one who dies from the virus or who suffers long-term health issues due to having been infected by a classmate and luckily survived.

I am sure many parents never gave a second thought that their child could infect a school friend and that friend could suffer long-term health issues or die from the virus. We all know the importance of in-class learning, however, is “freedom” from wearing a mask or being vaccinated more important than the life of a classmate, a teacher in the classroom or a school bus driver?

Governor Lee will long be remembered for having made extremely poor decisions about vaccinations and masking that cost the lives of many Tennesseans. Doesn’t “freedom” require some responsibilities and a moral response when it involves the lives of individuals?

Is it true that the price of freedom is death (a school classmate, a teacher, a parent, a child or a grandparent)? Are you OK with that statement? Is that how we define freedom?

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Community Voices columnist Ed McKinney of Johnson City is a retired business educator.

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