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Actions, inactions have consequences from The Eagle

“With freedom comes responsibility. ...” — Ronald Reagan Libertarian presidential candidate Harry Browne famously said “Freedom and responsibility aren’t interconnected things, they are the same thing.” Personal responsibility is a foundational conservative value, and the cornerstone of Gov. Greg Abbot’s policies on COVID-19. However, with all the talk about "freedom" surrounding vaccines and masks, many seem to have completely forgotten the part about "responsibility." A TV personality compared the choice of going unvaccinated to the choice to go cliff-diving. A much better analogy would have been cliff-diving into a crowded swimming pool! In the real world, your choices have consequences beyond yourself. Each person infected with the delta variant will infect five to eight other people. An unvaccinated teacher in California infected half her class (12 students). Those affected by your decisions include those who can’t be vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons or are immunocompromised. Children under 12 still are unable to get one of the vaccines; this group is comprising an ever-larger proportion of those hospitalized. If you end up needing medical care, you will contribute to the crushing strain on our medical system. In Texas there are hundreds of patients (both COVID and non-COVID) waiting to get ICU beds. Bellville resident and Purple Heart veteran Daniel Wilkinson, who served two tours in Afghanistan, died of a treatable gallstone inflammation while waiting for an ICU bed. Personal responsibility means that one is morally and ethically accountable for his or her actions (and inactions). Being responsible means making a genuine effort to get accurate facts, weigh the actual risks and benefits, and make an informed decision. Does a responsible person unquestioningly accept the "facts" provided by a conspiracy theorist, TV personality, internet troll, and/or politician while rejecting information from one’s own family doctor, hospital staff and local health officials? Please remember that your actions and inactions have consequences for others beyond yourself. ALAN PEPPER College Station

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