Am I a Deadly Weapon?

COVID fear gone viral

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According to a Texas mom, I am a cross between a loaded firearm and a deadly biological weapon.

I’m not offended by this mom’s remarks. I don’t even know her. Her concern for her children and her community is obvious. I can in no way begrudge her of that.

But I am saddened, grieved, and even angered. It is remarks like these that reveal how raw emotions that are not informed by fact only serve to demonize and divide.

Some months ago, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning mask mandates in his state. In response, several school districts defied — or considered defying — this order. So Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office advised they were ready to file suite against these ISD’s.

On September 20, the Richardson ISD held of Board of Trustees meeting. It was at this meeting that this mother arose.

Here is the portion of her comment that went viral on Twitter:

“…we do not have a society, we do not have a country, if we do not have public health, if we do not have public health safety protocols like, yes, masks. children are not just suffering and dying at greater rates right now, they are spreading Covid throughout the population at greater numbers. Anti-masking doesn’t just affect schools but our society as a whole. It affects cancer patients, the immuno-compromised, and just about everyone. People do not get to walk around shooting loaded firearms randomly into crowds. And people are not entitled to turn themselves into deadly biological weapons by spraying disease-laden aerosols wherever they choose, randomly killing innocent people. This is not freedom, this is homicide, and willful ignorance is no excuse.

Obviously, these are comments that are begging for an incendiary response. I for one refuse to go there. To the contrary, I compliment her — sincerely! I mean, she showed up at the School Board meeting. How many of us have done that? Secondly, she had the courage to speak and refused to be intimidated. And yes, she had ‘chutzpah’ to speak her mind forcefully as a parent.

She exercised her constitutional right to free speech as a citizen AND as a parent. Again, how many of us have done that?

That said, her remarks serve as an example of raw emotion being used to hand down ‘one-size-fits-all’ judgments that are not based on careful analysis and fact.

Perhaps her district’s schools have seen a spike in severe COVID cases. If so, this is the exception rather than the rule. Just this past Friday (Oct. 8), an article in USA Today stated that though cases are rising among children, “kids are far less likely than adults to become severely ill with COVID-19 or die from it.” According the CDC in a pre-vaccine report (August 7, 2020): “Most reported cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in children aged <18 years appear to be asymptomatic or mild.”

But more to the point: has this dear woman (and others like her) stopped to consider who actually is at greatest risk of being a COVID carrier and receptor? Does she really believe a healthy 30-year-old (as an example) with a disciplined lifestyle resulting in strong immunity has the same potential to get and transmit COVID as does your typical American hooked on the standard American diet (S.A.D. for short)?

This lady is concerned for the immuno-compromised. Has it occurred to her that many (though not all) who are immuno-compromised are in that predicament due to their own lifestyle choices? I wonder if she was showing up at school board meetings in previous years showing the same concern about child obesity and other conditions that lead to increased susceptibility to virus (including COVID)?

Judging from her remarks, the answer to these and other similar questions is ‘no.’ We’re all potential ‘biological weapons’ capable of ‘mass murder.’ Our individuality and lifestyle choices matter not a whit.

I for one refuse to paint with a broad brush. I refuse to judge the character of someone who I don’t know based on a 30-second video clip. If I were to see her in the grocery store, I’d shove aside my ideological differences and smile at her. Chance are she’d likely smile right back!

This is exactly my point. We are all humans. Regardless of our ethnicity or our differences of opinion, we all have the same need to be respected and listen to.

Again, I applaud this woman’s courage to speak up. It pains me that, at least on this issue, she seems to have little room— to afford others the same right.

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Gary David Flamberg

Free-lance writer and fellow sojourner with a desire to communicate hope, convey truth as I see it, and encourage dialogue on important issues.