More On Rights
Courtney Brinton (Our Mailbox, Feb. 25) presumes the air she breaths is hers, ignoring the obvious fact that it is a collective resource. Personal behaviors that threaten the health of others are not protected behaviors. This was borne out in the pandemic of 1918, which had strikingly similar restrictions to those currently in place, and around the world for millennia regarding control of epidemics.
The pursuit of happiness is not granted carte blanche without consideration of the rights of others to live and pursue their own. That includes the right not to be infected with a virus due to the selfish behavior of someone seeking happiness. The government can indeed take away the rights of men who might otherwise wish to pursue happiness. It can do so by conscripting them into military service, absent having broken any laws. Those who do the conscripting will dine wherever they please while the conscripted may dine on MREs and be sent to fight and die.
Courtney invokes the Declaration of Independence, ignoring the fact that it is not a legal document. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a stalwart conservative jurist, wrote that the Declaration of Independence “is not a legal prescription conferring powers upon the courts.” It took policy advocacy, civil disobedience, strikes, death threats, violence and much time to get to a point where we almost have equality in the U.S. The Declaration of Independence did not achieve the goal, although it articulated it.
The governor and many elected officials are guilty of hypocrisy. This is not a new story nor is it restricted to politicians. The dining incident at the French Laundry, however, was legal under COVID-19 restrictions in Napa County at that time. He broke no laws but violated his own admonition that people not dine in large groups with those outside of their immediate household.
My recommendation to Courtney is to consider the spectrum of rights and responsibilities. Do not confuse the map with the territory.
Brightens The Day
Having just experienced a year defined by so much anger, divisiveness, financial and human loss, and just an overwhelming pall of negativity. I would like to draw attention to one source of positivity in our community.
Every morning when my husband and I walk on the beach path we will hear in the distance the soft jazz tones of Long Beach maintenance truck #123079 and we know we will be greeted by Tommy with a big smile and a "Have a Blessed Day.” We don't know his last name but we affectionately call him Tommy Tunes.
He has not only served our country, he has worked for the city of Long Beach for the last 31 years. And even as he has spent the last year battling cancer, he is unfailingly upbeat.
Tommy will embark this year on a well-deserved retirement and we will miss him. I hope if you see him on your walks you will smile, wave, and say thank you for bringing light to us at a time of so much darkness. Because his music is all instrumental, I would like to applaud Tommy as one of our true Unsung Heroes.
Liston, Nancy Steel
Must Be Fair
While I am happy for the progress Long Beach is making with administering COVID-19 vaccines, the process is still very inconsistent.
I have friends, acquaintances and personally know people who have been vaccinated and do not work as school teachers, essential workers, under the age of 60, and not first responders, etc. In fact, one received a shot because he serves on the board of a local hospital (although retired), another because of connections in Belmont Shore and works from home, one under the age of 40 and just cut the front of the line through a loophole, and those who feel privileged.
The process needs to be fair and work consistently — or it's about who knows whom and what zip code one resides in. It needs vast improvements! Speed of vaccinations is commendable, but without fairness in the process, it taints the situation and cast a negative perception of the process.