Who Decides?


December 8, 2021-

Every weekend, at an intersection near our city’s main hospital, there gathers a fairly raucous crowd of individuals, protesting a vaccine mandate that itself currently does not exist-per a judicial order. It seems that many people extrapolate meanings from the expressed wishes of the President, or another public official-or even a tenuous Executive Order, which only holds as long as neither the judicial or legislative branches challenges it.

I see a greatly heightened sensitivity to both public and private statements or images of public officials. The stock market may rise or fall on the basis of a few cryptic comments by the Chair of the Federal Reserve Board-which may have nothing to do with the price of stocks and bonds. People may go out into the streets or flood social media, based on a private photo of a public figure, expressing that individual’s opinion on a social issue or lifestyle of their family. Thus, we have two sitting congresspeople posing with their children, holding firearms. Since I learned marksmanship and firearms safety at the age of eleven, this strikes me as much ado over nothing-but for the teen daughter of one, who appears to be pointing her rifle at her mother’s neck and for the association with Christmas, which will no doubt be batted around the cyberverse for a few weeks. I think the main issue is that these images are appearing, at an uncomfortably close time, following two school shootings, the Waukesha automobile terror and the verdict on Kyle Rittenhouse.

People can, and should, make their own decisions, regarding introducing their children to responsible use of any given weapon-whether barreled or bladed. A long ago friend, at a dinner table conversation one evening, told his older son, in no uncertain terms, to respect the power of a hunting knife, not to mention any firearms he may handle. This came from a man who had all manner of hunting equipment, which he absolutely would not put in the hands of a lackadaisical family member.

With regard to personal health, I have heard from several people who insist: “My body, my choice!”, when it comes to getting a vaccine or even wearing a mask in public. Some, but not all, of these same people will take umbrage at the thought of a woman consulting with her physician about aborting her fetal child. My take is: If you choose a course of action, then be prepared to accept all that comes with it. If tragedy results, then the individual should be enveloped in love, not opprobrium, to the extent he or she is suffering post-traumatic stress.

Most certainly, no one should be permanently made a pariah, for even a severe error in judgement, though justice must be meted out, properly, when one causes the needless death or injury to others. That justice should, hopefully, result in the miscreant’s remorse and rehabilitation, but let’s face it, some will go to their graves in an unapologetic mien.

For most matters, we ought to have input, at least, over our lives, while processing the input of others.