DEAR EDITOR:

I would like to thank (Rome City) Commissioners Collins, Doss, Stevenson, Quick, Davis, Askew and Cochran for trying to require a mask to be worn in public.

For those that would take issue with being forced to wear a mask, I would like to give you something to consider. Yes, you do have a right not to wear a mask, but what you do not have is a right to give the virus to someone else should you get the virus unknowingly.

I am reminded when I was in the Georgia Legislature and legislation was introduced to prohibit smoking on an airplane. I had planned to vote against this legislation, thinking I did not want to take rights away from smokers.

A young lady that was a steward working on the plane took her day off to lobby for passage of this legislation. I told her that I was having trouble supporting the bill ... She jumped all over me. “Rights,” she said. “What about my rights? I have to work on that plane the entire week and be exposed to secondhand smoke. What about my rights to protect my health?”

She showed me another side that I hadn’t considered. I returned to my desk and, when the vote came up, I voted in favor of prohibiting smoking on a plane and was pleased to see this bill passed.

Smoking was allowed on the floor of the House then. No smokers had to breathe secondhand smoke. It caused me to think about my rights, so I introduced and passed a rule to prohibit smoking on the House floor — a rule that continues to this day.

So those who think their rights are being taken away, I hope you will realize that you do not have a right to give this virus to others. It’s just common sense, so don’t be too offended by this action by the commission.

Let’s put politics aside and do what the scientists advise us to do: wear a mask and keep our distance when in the public.

Buddy Childers

Rome

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