Don’t trade my safety for a hair cut

Earlier this year I retired after 40 years serving communities as a public transit professional. Bus and paratransit operators are unsung essential workers during communicable disease outbreaks. We interact daily with a public who may have no other source of transportation. We potentially suffer virus exposure daily from customers who may not know they are infectious or have little option but to take the bus when sick.

My wife and I have been housebound, with the exception of medical appointments and grocery shopping, since mid-February. Now, the author of a recent letter to the editor wants to secure her liberty by restricting mine permanently. As citizens having achieved the age of the population at risk, her solution to mitigate the risk is “isolating for those most at risk.” Will we be issued ankle bracelet trackers to ensure we don’t violate our isolation?

I have put on hold any possibility of returning to work. I could find a job in any part of the country driving or teaching people to drive a bus or paratransit van. Until such time as a I can receive an annual vaccine, like I do for influenza, I can’t assume the risk. And when a vaccine is widely available, I still may be housebound due to the number of Americans who value the liberty to reject a vaccine as a government plot and or a fear a of side effects or death which “is almost nil.” We are well past the time that, patience as a virtue, returns as a primary American value. No one’s long-term liberty should be at risk for an others instant gratification need of a haircut.

To paraphrase Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty at the risk of spreading death,” Thank you Gov. Inslee for the courage to make a Solomonic decision in these difficult times.

Don Shagam

Lake Stevens

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