Joe Henderson: Ashley Moody’s ‘unconscionable’ argument is way off base

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No one has the freedom to potentially infect someone else with a deadly virus.

Twenty years ago, a madman named Richard Reid tried to use explosives in his shoe to blow up a flight headed to Miami. Thanks to that, all travelers for years had to remove their shoes when going through airport security.

People grumbled, but they understood that bad people want to inflict pain. Removing your loafers to potentially save lives isn’t a big sacrifice, considering the alternative.

You need a license to drive a car. That rule is there to protect you, of course, but also other people on the road. No one has the freedom to drive a car no matter what.

Schools require students to have vaccinations against multiple diseases before they can enroll. It’s been that way for years because it protects them and their classmates.

Call it an academic vaccine passport, if you will.

There are many more examples of safety measures overriding individual freedom, but you get the idea.

So why all the continued chattering against mask mandates and vaccinations? I have yet to hear a good reason why getting a shot or wearing a mask turned into such a misguided ruckus.

Now, Attorney General Ashley Moody said requirements by some mayors that a city’s workforce gets vaccinated is a potential public crisis. She said it could cause a greater shortage of law enforcement officers who would rather quit than comply.

Moody called the mandates “unconscionable.”

“Unconscionable? Republicans redefined that word to mean anything they don’t like, and it’s just not so.

Many police departments — or other employers — require drug tests of employees. By Moody’s definition, that could infringe on an officer’s liberty and would be unconscionable.

But, of course, it isn’t — any more than the mandatory vaccinations for school kids cramps their freedom.

If someone refuses a Breathalyzer if suspected of driving under the influence, they lose their license. But don’t they have the right to refuse the test in the name of liberty?

Nope, they don’t. And thank goodness for that.

We have a random virus that has killed more than 48,000 Floridians. How many of those deaths could have been prevented if victims weren’t so convinced the vaccines are a plot to plant a control chip in their heads? Nothing will help someone decide to follow science instead of quacks more than being hooked to a ventilator.

Of course, by that time it’s often too late.

We can’t say this often enough. This pandemic can be controlled if we use common sense. No one has the freedom to potentially infect someone else with a deadly virus.

You may have read that infection rates are trending downward, but remember recent history. That’s no different from a few months ago when everyone thought the pandemic was over. You can bet that if the delta variant rates subside, another mutation will appear..

Some call this latest virus surge “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” The numbers bear that out. The overwhelming percentage of people clogging hospital ICU beds believed they didn’t need a vaccination. Then the day might come that a mutation arrives that is immune to the defenses we now have.

Then what?

Businesses and municipalities saw the bigger picture and required vaccines because the Governor won’t. He and his Attorney General chatter about individual liberty, but vaccination requirements aren’t about that.

It’s not unconscionable. It’s about life and death, and that matters more.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


9 comments

  • Charles

    September 13, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    I support vaccination but idiots like Henderson fuel the anti Vaxers because they promote misinformation.
    The majority of Henderson’s views are bullshit on steroids. As I read his rant, his hypocrisy is just oozing out.
    It could be worse, this clown could have been a school teacher instead of an irreverent political hack.

    Reply

    • Alex

      September 13, 2021 at 8:20 pm

      Odd you mentioned no specific “bullshit”

      I think I smell the real “bullshit” here.

      Reply

  • Andrew Finn

    September 13, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    Ashley Moody is as big a jackass as Emperor DeSantis, and is determined to prove it. She needs to join him on the road to Hell where they both belong.

    Reply

  • Alex

    September 13, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    Polio, tetanus, influenza, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rubella, Hib, measles, whooping cough, pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, mumps, chickenpox, and diphtheria.

    What do all these diseases have in common?

    You are protected from catching them by vaccination, and they are no longer prevalent in the United States because of them.

    Reply

  • Ocean Joe

    September 13, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    The number 1 cause of death among law enforcement officers this year and last is COVID.
    Get the vaccine and shut the hell up about it.
    And stop making excuses for people who don’t know any better or refuse to listen to reason but are OK with clogging up our hospitals, our morgues and our cemeteries. The idiocy has got to stop, especially when it is supported by people who got the vaccine themselves but think you should be free to be 11 times more likely to die from a disease that has spread everywhere.

    Reply

    • JD

      September 13, 2021 at 9:06 pm

      Ocean Joe, you make several apt points.

      Reply

  • Ron Ogden

    September 14, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    When Patrick Henry uttered the immortal lines, “Give me liberty or give me death” Joe Henderson was in the gallery scribbling for the local penny sheet about the danger of such self-confidence.

    Reply

  • sandra murphy

    September 14, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    Nothing he’s stating even compares to covid vax. Apples and oranges. It’s still experimental, FDA did a bait and switch, the “approved” vaccine isn’t even being used yet. The current vax is still under EUA. 70 people PER DAY in US dying and thousands being vax injured – right on the VAERS website which only captures a fraction of real occurrences. CDC isn’t hiding it either. More people have been killed by this vax than ALL VACCINES administered in US HISTORY PUT TOGETHER! Again free to view on government website. Vaxed and unvaxed both catch and spread covid the same way! But media and govt say it’s fine right? It will protect you – somewhat you probably won’t die- it won’t protect those around you. No thank you. Wake up America!

    Reply

  • Will Smith

    September 15, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    Ashley Moody is playing the party card, no doubt she knows better. It is sad how those in power refuse to use common sense once in office.
    Government should mandate this vaccine, the question remains, how many must die before the Governor requires all to have vaccines.

    Reply

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