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Save lives or cost them

By Staff | Jan 20, 2021

To the editor:

We have now reached the grim point where more than one in every 1,000 Americans is dead of COVID, yet, the debate on following CDC guidelines for the safety of the public rages on.

“One person’s rights end where another’s begin.” This is how we have historically balanced the responsibilities of citizenship with the rights of personal freedom. In the past, we decided that we don’t generally have the right to endanger others; for example, we did not have the right to refuse blackout curtains during World War II. Today, we don’t have the right to carry loaded weapons on airplanes, or the right to smoke in indoor public places, or drink and drive–the list is endless.  

It can be difficult to find where the line is drawn between the public good and the individual preference when harm to others does not appear to be a direct consequence, but we can make the effort. Rights and responsibilities help preserve and protect our communities.

Rights are freedoms that are protected by our laws, while responsibilities are duties that we should do to preserve the safety and good order of all. In order to be good citizens, we understand our rights and responsibilities. That being said, our Florida governor has not mandated any COVID restrictions similar to those in other states, so we do actually have the legal right to gather in ways deemed unsafe by the CDC, so we need to rely on the good judgment of others to protect our island as a whole.

There is light at the end of tunnel. Many more will die before we reach it. We each have the opportunity now to act in ways that will either save lives or cost them.

Susan McGuire