Safety trumps personal liberty


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is getting plenty of push back from critics of his decision to rescind the mask-wearing order he issued when the COVID pandemic broke out.

Others, though, are backing the governor’s decision. I hear it on the news, that they are relishing the notion of exercising “personal liberty” in choosing to go without a mask when they enter public places.

OK. I want to make a critical point.

I am all in favor of personal liberty. As an American citizen, I cherish it as much as the next red-blooded patriot. However, personal liberty should not trump community health and well-being. That is my way of saying that the mask mandate — along with social distancing and other activities — protect us all from the spread of a virus that is killing Americans to this day.

I want to be free of being told to wear a mask. I want a return to being able to stand next to strangers in the grocery line, or sitting next to someone at the movie theater, or going to an entertainment event and being able to yell at the top of my lungs without fogging up my glasses because of the mask.

But … first things first. We have to grab the virus with a stronger grip than we have at this time. More of us are getting vaccinated daily. We are getting closer each day to that thing they call “herd immunity.” But we ain’t there yet.

So, spare me the “personal liberty” canard. I don’t buy it when your liberty puts my family and me in potentially mortal danger.