Sunday, July 21, 2024

Don’t Be Like Fred

Dear Editor,

Consider the case of a guy named Fred. I picked Fred because I don’t know one. Please substitute Bob or Sally if you wish. But do not use Bruce.

Since 1976, when they became mandatory, Fred has worn a seat-belt in every car and truck he has owned. Fred knows seat-belts don’t prevent car crashes, but Fred knows they’ve saved an estimated 8,000 lives of the people who had one on when they crashed. In Ontario alone. The seat-belt decreases the chance you die in the accident by about 50%.

Unfortunately, Fred has been reading up on seat-belt safety/tyranny on the Internet recently, and has decided he will not wear the one in his newest car. Fred has decided to ignore the advice of the car experts and the manufacturers. The Internet has somehow convinced Fred that he knows better. That he alone knows things the car safety experts don’t know. Bad life decision by Fred. But just imagine for a moment that through some dark magic the seat-belts of every other man, woman, and child around him unbuckled too if they happen to be on the same road as Fred. Dramatically and unnecessarily increasing their chances of death in the event they had a crash. Now Fred’s decision is both foolish and selfish. I sincerely doubt one person in Meaford would object to restricting Fred from sharing the road with us until he started wearing his seat-belt. For his benefit. And our safety.

Fred was born, raised, and educated in Ontario, so he had to be vaccinated to attend school. He was vaccinated for 9 deadly communicable diseases, including mumps, measles, diphtheria, chickenpox, tetanus, and polio – as a child. (Note: Fred’s children go to school. They are vaccinated too.) Fred knows getting vaccinated slows the spread of deadly diseases. He’s been the beneficiary of vaccines his entire life. Fred knows that vaccinations save an estimated 2-3 million deaths a year worldwide. To protect his long-term health and to possibly save his life, Fred has been told he should get vaccinated for COVID-19 now as well. Fred is lucky. There is no valid medical reason for Fred to not get his shots. Fred knows that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 doesn’t guarantee he won’t get it. It just makes it much less likely he will. And that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 will decrease the chance of him dying if he gets it by almost 10 times. Fred also knows the new vaccines for COVID-19 saved an estimated half a million lives in the first year alone.

Unfortunately, Fred has been reading up on vaccine safety/tyranny on the Internet recently, and has decided he will not get his COVID-19 shots. Fred has decided to ignore the advice of the vaccine experts and the manufacturers. The Internet has somehow convinced Fred that he knows better. That he alone knows things the medical experts don’t know. Bad life decision by Fred. But unlike Fred’s hypothetical bad seat belt decision, we already know what happens to every other man, woman, and child who might get too close to Fred during a worldwide pandemic. COVID-19 spreads dramatically and unnecessarily faster because of Fred, so their chances of getting it (or a new nasty variant) are higher. Their chances of death in the event they get COVID are much lower than Fred’s because they are vaccinated. But they aren’t zero. Once again, Fred’s decision is both foolish and selfish. I can’t understand why one person in Meaford would object to continuing normal public health restrictions on Fred until he does the safe, right, simple thing. Especially for the little kids and the compromised adults who don’t want to die, but aren’t as lucky as Fred, and can’t get vaccinated. What if Fred thought about them instead of just Fred?

Somewhere along the way, Fred lost his ability to listen and think like a rational human being. How else would he ignore the obvious facts that vaccinating everyone sooner will stop the spread of the disease and get us all back to normal sooner? Like vaccinations have throughout Fred’s entire life. How else could Fred imagine it would be acceptable for him to expect to mingle freely with those of us trying to fix the problem, when Fred won’t even do the one tiny little thing that he’s done so many times before? To help fix the problem. Instead of making it worse. Making it last longer. Fred is either not thinking, won’t, or can’t think.

So unfortunately, Fred’s terrible life decisions make it more likely he will die if he has a problem. That is sad. But it does not mean the rest of us need to put ourselves at increased risk of sickness and even death to keep Fred happy. We shouldn’t even consider it.

Canada already has too many Freds. They’re driving around in their silly trucks, beeping their silly horns, waving their silly flags, and shouting silly slogans about their personal, very selfish and dangerous definition of “freedom”. Trying to make their terrible uninformed life choices our problem. They can solve all of their own problems themselves. They have no valid reasons not to do so. They just choose not to.

Don’t be like Fred.

Bruce Mason, Meaford

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