Mandatory vs. Voluntary Choice vs. Compulsion, Part 2

Editor’s Opinion By BOBBY HALTON
Bobby Halton

I received an impassioned letter from a firefighter who is facing termination for his refusal to participate in taking the COVID-19 vaccine. Following that, I received texts, e-mails, and phone calls from across the United States about the mandates and firefighters’ options—too many to count. I also received a few texts and calls demanding that every firefighter get the shot. The positions cross all political and ideological boundaries. The opponents of mandates include many who voluntarily choose to be vaccinated; they include firefighters, doctors, nurses, and emergency managers. The same collection of backgrounds also favors mandates.

The letter I received is powerful and courageous and, irrespective of your personal position on the vaccine, his conviction to his principles is admirable. The politics aside, the vaccine is fundamentally a personal medical decision, as now we know both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated can both carry and transmit the infection.

Mandatory or Voluntary; Choice vs. Compulsion

Live: Ed Kelly of IAFF on Vaccine Mandates

Seattle Medic Seeks Medical Exemption for Vaccine Mandate

International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) President Ed Kelly was gracious enough to participate in an online interview and expressed his support for the vaccine and the fact that the IAFF was not currently considering legal action on mandates. Kelly based this on the 1905 Supreme Court decision regarding smallpox, which determined an employer could mandate vaccine participation as a condition of employment. This position could change in time, as did the 1927 Supreme Court decision supporting eugenics, the master race theory that forced sterilization of citizens deemed “undesirable.”

With the vast and daunting amount of information concerning these extremely controversial vaccines, it is understandable that many educated and good persons would rather risk the infection than take the vaccine. With breakthrough cases and the possibility of a third shot being required, these vaccine s are still far from fully understood despite the Food and Drug Administration approving one of them as of this writing. With vaccinated persons now being able to carry and spread the infection, the debate of vaccine vs. prophylactic is beginning to be vigorously engaged.

The tragedy of this virus is impossible to put into words. Its toll on human life and suffering is epic and continues to grow, despite even the most severe precautions being implemented. Our grief and sorrow cannot be minimized, but that also cannot be our only guide; as emotional as this makes us, we must remain clearheaded in our conduct.

It is widely agreed on now that the virus is most probably the result of an accident in a lab in Wuhan, China. It is an unintended consequence of highly controversial medical experiments in gain of function. Irrespective of the origin, which also was initially highly politicized, we are now faced with the issue of mandatory vaccines, which we anticipated on this page months ago.

Politicians who support the mandates repeatedly use the words “safe and effective,” which in and of themselves are meaningless. Some people have had fatal consequences from the vaccines according to the government Web site VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System), which tracks vaccine adverse effects.

Also, “effective” is used subjectively; it does not mean what one would hope—being immune to the infection. This being the case, those suffering from severe consequences have no recourse. You cannot, by an act of Congress, sue a vaccine manufacturer.

Further confusion stems from the question of what those who have had COVID-19 and currently have the natural antibodies should do. Some say it is not a good idea to take a vaccine if you have the natural antibodies and yet others say you must. Then there is the question of herd immunity, and the question grows and grows in complexity. This is not even a partial overview of the issues surrounding this pandemic; that would take volumes and volumes to cover.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1782: “Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.” Like President Kennedy, I find Jefferson’s wisdom ageless.

As to mandates, at this point I would defer to Solzhenitsyn: “It’s a universal law—intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.” Given all the current evidence I can comprehend, I am resolutely in favor of individual choice, not mandates; freedom over compulsion.

Here is the aforementioned letter:

My name is Jason Allen. I’m a city of Seattle fireman, family man and a business owner in the state of Washington. For the past 18 years, I have served the state of Washington, providing emergency services as an EMT, paramedic and firefighter. For the last 7 years, I have served Seattle as a firefighter and am currently a Tiller Operator of Ladder 5, assigned to Station 31 in serving the Northgate neighborhood.

I was one of the firefighters that was displaced due to the abhorrent conditions at Station 31, when it was found that the city had neglected our firehouse and it had become infested with black mold. Station 31 was given the title of a “Cancer House” after over 115 members assigned to Station 31 contracted cancer since the station opened in its final format in 1974. Station 31 was then condemned and then demolished.

52 members of the fire department were then moved from Station 31 to other stations. My crew and I were assigned to another station that was only built to house a single engine company. We now have an engine and a ladder truck operating out of a small house in close quarters in Lake City. This station was built to house 4 members at any one time, but for the last 3 years has been housing 8 members on each shift.

Shortly after displacement, COVID-19 was deemed a pandemic and no special precautions were taken at our station during sleeping hours to protect or distance our members from each other. We remained in the same close quarters. In this environment, we were consistently in close proximity to other members of our crews and were unable to distance from others during our 24-hour shifts. During mealtimes, sleeping hours and other various tasks taking place within the firehouse, we were required to be within only inches from each other and were not given any other option. Over the past 18 months, many members of Station 39, where we are currently being housed, have contracted the COVID-19 virus. Even still, each member to contract the virus was able to immediately and effectively quarantine at home and to date, there has been no transmission of the virus to the public by any member of Seattle Fire.

Through all of this we have remained professional and dutiful, performing our job functions and serving Seattle without waiver. This brings longer response times and our assigned duties have become substantially more dangerous. Through the ever changing information about the pandemic, watching members of our house fall ill, responding to dangerous areas through riots and violence and even being targets of the violence, having our stations and vehicles vandalized, we have watched our once beautiful city turn to chaos and destruction under the mayor’s watch. And still, we have stood proud of our city, and ever ready to perform our jobs and serve its citizens.

Now, we have been forced to comply with a mandate to receive a controversial vaccine that was rushed through approval due to the “State of Emergency” processing. A vaccine that many members do not trust, believe in, or agree with. Yet we are being forced to introduce a foreign substance with unknown outcomes into our bodies, or face forced expulsion from the Seattle Fire Department. Like me, my brothers and sisters in the department have fought hard to be in the positions that they are in, they have worked tirelessly for this city and its citizens, and are now being demonized for standing for their liberties and freedoms to decide for themselves the medical treatments and preventions that they will accept.

The definition of informed consent under Washington State Law and Federal regulations states that the patient is to have full disclosure of information, competency to make a decision, voluntary nature of the decision and a requirement of a full and detailed explanation of the study of the drug and its potential risks. Our informed consent is being torn from us as we are only given the option to take the vaccine, or lose the livelihood that we have worked so hard to obtain. Most members who have desired the vaccine have already received it. This order is specifically designed to strip the liberty of those who are exercising their right to decide for themselves to refuse a medical intervention that they have decided against.

The 14th amendment of the United States Constitution states, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Though they are not calling this mandate a “law,” it directly violates our liberties, ability to maintain our livelihood and our property, and we are not being given any kind of a fair choice. The blatant imposition of “do this or face expulsion” goes directly against our right to informed consent of medical treatment and our rights under the 14th amendment. It is appalling to know that this city that we have worked long and hard to serve, with all that we have, despite the conditions we have been faced with, is now treating us as cattle to be stripped of our rights, lined up and vaccinated, or turned from the department without a consideration.

Though my wife and I, along with our children, rely on my employment with the Seattle Fire Department, I cannot sit idly by while this tyranny takes place. I have made the decision to be a voice for those who cannot be a voice for themselves and to stand up against this mandate, regardless of what that may mean for my position and employment. I believe in our God-given rights, our liberties and freedoms as American citizens, the laws and regulations put into place to protect our rights to choose for ourselves and the respect from our city leaders and those in positions of power to help us to uphold these, rather than tear them down. When this city is in its more dire hour of need, they call us. They trust us with the city’s most vulnerable, its sickest, its most critically injured, its most afraid, those in the midst of the most catastrophic days of their lives. While their homes are burning, their loved ones have suffered medical emergencies, they have been in horrific accidents, we are who they call. We are who respond. We are the help. We are the healing. We are the comfort. We are their advocates and their saviors when they truly need us the most. Now, where are ours?

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