Bob Franken




You can get arrested for driving under the influence. Small amounts of alcohol in your body when operating a motor vehicle might get you pulled over, and even jailed. But why not mandatory Covid vaccinations?
Reckless driving can also carry heavy penalties, same for speeding. Enough violations, and your driving privileges can be taken away. Why do we accept such intrusions on our lives? Well, enough of us are so convinced that we’re risking our lives with such hazardous behavior and, more importantly, the lives of any others who cross our paths and/or roadways that we pass these laws with relatively little controversy. But why not mandatory Covid vaccinations?
Most school systems have mandatory vaccination requirements for a host of diseases, which have been on the books for decades. But with the savage coronavirus, which has killed nearly 4.5 million people worldwide (which is probably an undercount) and infected nearly 206 million (also an undercount), there is a resistance to saving our country the fatal pain of a resurgence of a new, more contagious and more vicious mutation of the original, called the delta variant. Just when we were celebrating the new vaccines and a gradual return to normal, the inoculation resisters have gummed up the works and endangered everyone and the economic progress that we were making.

In fact, we are backsliding into a life of masks and social distancing that we thought we’d left behind. There are a variety of culprits: Politicians like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott oppose many efforts to stem the deadly tide. Other states in MAGA-land have responsible leaders, like Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas, but the hospitals’ intensive care units are so depleted, they are nearly nonexistent.
Part of the problem is a misguided resistance in so many ultra-conservative regions to any regulation at all, fostered, in this case, by the opportunistic demagogues who whip up an anti-government fervor among millions who invent reasons not to get the shots.
Add to that all the confusion. The experts haven’t helped, with their different versions of where we should wear the masks and where we don’t need to. Will we need to get booster shots? Who and what is “immunocompromised”? When will we all need to get a booster? And who will have them available first? Some of us have taken things into our own arms by sneaking booster shots before we even know whether we need them. This, while resisters endanger us all by refusing to get any shots at all.
It’s time for strict mandates like San Francisco is imposing. No unvaccinated people will be allowed into indoor venues, including restaurants and concerts. No shilly-shallying with tests, which only provide a snapshot of whether you have Covid. Eventually this tough policy should spread to the entire United States.
Everyone without a valid medical reason MUST get a vaccination regimen. Period. Employers must require them. Various governments, including the feds, already do or mandate weekly testing, which I would do away with.
As for masks, we should enforce the wearing of them, in much the same way we do seat belts and prohibit texting while driving.
We know that we need to put them on in airports and on commercial airplanes. We’ve had a steady diet of videos of flight crews and fellow passengers wrestling down those who insist on taking the masks off because somehow they are a violation of our precious freedoms. How’s incarceration for taking away precious freedoms?
In other words, it’s time to get tough, as a nation, against a relentless enemy — the ever-changing coronavirus. It’s time for laws that are enforced.
Nothing less will do. You can’t be gentle with stupidity.

© 2021 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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