DEAR EDITOR:

I wish to respond to a recent letter about airplane smoking restrictions versus a government mandate to wear masks in public that is way off base.

There are very few “rights” that we actually have. Everything else is granted by law, rule, proclamation, etc. Nowhere do I find a “right” not to be given the virus, as the writer claims he has.

Laws, rules, regulations and policies are created to provide an orderly society, but most man-made laws can easily be assessed as politicians denying your right by passing a law which then limits that freedom.

Regarding the no smoking corollary, no “rights” were impinged, and the whole population wasn’t legislated into a different habit as mandatory mask regulation would do. The “right” to smoke was not removed, only legislative or policy restrictions were put in place as to where you could smoke. However, mandating a mask in public policy takes away the freedom of everyone to choose.

The two scenarios are vastly different and should not be presented as similar in nature. A more similar corollary would be stores changing their policy to require wearing a mask to shop in their establishment. Your right to shop isn’t violated, as you can choose to shop somewhere else if you don’t want to wear a mask.

Also, to imply that he should not be given the virus by someone who unknowingly has it is a false pretense. Beside there being no right involved, you cannot give something you don’t know you have. Sickness and disease are a part of life, part of nature.

The real issue comes down to a risk assessment that finds that it is more valuable to implement a policy than not.

Now, any death is unfortunate, but, what is the real risk you will even get the virus, much less get hospitalized or even die? The odds are very low. On a risk analysis basis, I maintain, though the disease may be more communicable than the yearly influenza, the risks are about the same.

So to those who promote the public wearing of masks, I would say you have a choice (God Bless America); the right to wear a mask or not; to see other friends and family, or not; to make them wear a mask if they visit, or not. The choice is yours. But mandating everyone to wear a mask in public removes that choice, affects Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness, and puts us no better than those countries who dictate how their countrymen will live their lives.

Timothy Hall

Rome

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