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Sue Bower

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

Did you ever think of the "other side of the coin?" Some critics say people who don't wear masks are threats to others, that eating out, going to church, visiting with friends puts unknowing individuals at risk, and that can be very true. If the sign says "You must wear a mask to enter this store" and you don't, then you are putting others at risk, but people can lie and HIPPA protects them.

But look at the other side of the coin. Look at the individuals who are willing to take risks, with or without masks depending upon the regulations, to shop, eat out, donate blood, take people to church or the doctor, to help others. They choose to put themselves at risk, to put their families at risk. If they — and those they are helping keep their businesses, jobs — are obeying all specific rules related to flying in planes, visiting people in nursing homes/hospitals, etc., aren't they heroes — much like the doctors, nurses, EMTs, and police and firemen who risk their lives to help others — much like our soldiers who risk their lives?

If an older parent at home says not seeing his/her children and grandchildren is worse than the threat of virus from them, if a daughter wants to see her dying father one last time, if parents need to work and there is no alternative but to send their children to school, if there is a situation where all parties knowingly choose to take a risk but not put an unwilling person at risk, do we have a right to interfere?

FDR said, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." We drive — sometimes even drink and drive — putting others and ourselves at risk. We use insecticides without following the safety precautions. We eat food that has been in our refrigerator for a week. We visit crime-ridden cities. We have guns in our homes. We take vaccines and prescriptions advertised on TV by pharmaceutical companies. We use the internet and have our credit information hacked. We are always taking risks.

We all have limits to the risks we should and should not take, but we are the judge of those personal risks. Wise vs. foolhardy? Brave vs. cowardly? Country vs. self-interest? Mother vs. child? Faith vs. fright? Necessity vs. riskiness? How can we judge?

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