OPINION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Were delight to read | Sacrifices public good | Have to accept reality – Arkansas Online

Were delight to read

I have been a reader of, and subscriber to, this paper and its predecessor publications for over (gasp) 60 years. In recent years I have submitted letters for the editors to consider publishing. This is the first, as I recall, in which I have opined about columnists.

Without discussing specifics, I was delighted to read in your Saturday issue the writings of Terry Mattingly, Marie Mainard O'Connell, and the editorial writer who gave the senator from Jonesboro a primer in constitutional law. When considered together, these pieces presented your readers a nearly perfect explanation of the various thoughts surrounding the divisive issue of vaccination against the covid virus.

SAM HIGHSMITH

Little Rock

Sacrifices public good

I would like to respectfully but strongly disagree with the recent guest piece by state Sen. Dan Sullivan that argued that it is a government "overreach" to mandate masks in schools or for employers to be allowed to mandate vaccinations for their employees.

I believe it is well-established and commonly accepted that a major role of the government is to protect the common good and to pass laws that protect public health and safety. Individual freedom ends where the practice of that freedom endangers others. Examples of this common-sense approach to living in society with each other include traffic laws, laws against criminal actions such as robbery and murder, and even laws which require certain health precautions are followed by children in schools. Examples of the latter include vaccinating against many illnesses that, if left unchecked, would harm many others. Being "mandated" to stop at a stop sign is not government oppression or overreach; it is best for that decision to not to be left up to the individual. Nobody would argue this.

Senator Sullivan might argue that it's not government's place to require us to protect ourselves, which holds true only if his behavior doesn't harm me or my children. As a family doctor, it causes me great distress to see how willing people can be to sacrifice the public good upon the altar of "freedom."

GIL FOSTER

Little Rock

Have to accept reality

For my own mental health, I have tried to stay out of all of the crazy debates and arguments going on for the last several years. But the other day, on the news, I saw an anti-vaxxer protest sign showing a hand-drawn medical syringe, and the slogan said, "My body, my choice."

This has also been used in reference to abortion, by pro-choice, in disagreement with restrictions. How does this work both ways?

Democracy means that sometimes we have to accept what we don't like, such as taxes, military drafts or vaccines to keep us all safe and our "great experiment" functioning. Freedom means that after accepting these requirements to live the way we do, we have the right to criticize and protest, and also have to accept election results or legislated deals with which we don't agree.

It is time to come to our senses. Reality is not an adversary.

KELLI WESTBROOK

Little Rock

Were anxious to serve

I just walked out of the living room, after watching a special TV broadcast of the arrival of the 13 young warriors who lost their lives to a suicide bomber in Kabul, Afghanistan. President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and a host of other older dignitaries were there to greet the remains of these willing sacrifices as their caskets were rolled off the aircraft that brought them to Dover Air Force Base.

The broadcast was just another special news report until pictures of the 13 were shown on my TV screen. The oldest was only 31 years of age, with the lowest end of the range ending at 20. Understandably, the images showed no wrinkles, no gray hair, no outward signs of bountiful wisdom that oftentimes come with age. These weren't seasoned warriors who had been hardened like iron against iron. Even so, as the reporter shared some biographical information about them, there was a common theme that applied to all: They were anxious to serve their country.

Many will reflect on this atrocity and ask themselves why. I wish I could come up with an answer to that question other than that they answered the call to serve, but maybe that's answer enough. I still can't excise the feeling from my gut that this is the senselessness of war: We invest our most valuable resource somewhere over there, rather than in the future that's closer to home. The world is a complicated place. I realize that and my wonderings are limited in their ability to comprehend it all.

Thanks for your service, young ones.

HOSEA LONG

Little Rock

Mask-mandate ban

I noted my state Sen. Trent Garner's op-ed published this past Sunday regarding the issue which has consumed him--the bill he sponsored and which subsequently passed, prohibiting mask mandates in public schools. I would propose this for Senator Garner: If he's right, the worst thing that could happen is that children would have needlessly worn masks in public schools. If he's wrong, some children will end up on vents, or worse.

A thoughtful person would choose to err on the side of safety. But we have Trent Garner.

STEVE A. JONES

El Dorado

The Electoral College

John Brummett says, "The California recall system is somehow even less democratic than the Electoral College that devalues California's votes for president."

Doesn't California have 55 electoral votes compared to seven states which have only three each? Perhaps John will tell us how 55 electoral votes devalues California's votes for president.

STEVE IRBY

Hot Springs Village

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OPINION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Were delight to read | Sacrifices public good | Have to accept reality - Arkansas Online

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