Letter: Your freedoms shouldn't infringe on mine

The Jan. 29 Insight section contained a column and a guest column demonstrating the same problem: Our freedoms only extend to the point that they don’t infringe on the freedoms of others.

Lynda Waddington in her column “Vaccine bill risks health for freedom” addressed the problem of parents who don’t want to have their children vaccinated. In 1954, the neighbor girl, her father, my sister and I all came down with polio. The father died. In 1955, the hospital ward I had been in had 10 cases all year, compared to 1,000 in 1954. In 1956 zero, thanks to the Salk vaccine. Polio still exists in three countries that don’t vaccinate.

Parents who fail to vaccinate their children risk someone bringing it to this country and infecting them. You can carry polio viruses for weeks and spread it, without getting it. My mother, being a good neighbor, went to the neighbors to help, not realizing she could carry it back to us. She never got sick, we did. Refusing to have vaccinations infringes on everyone’s freedom to avoid major illnesses.

I read David Goodner’s guest column, “Why protesters blocked I-80.” Blocking any roadway infringes on the right of others to use it. Blocking Interstate 80 could have caused a major accident. The right to infringe on my right to drive on the highway is not guaranteed by freedom of speech, or any other “freedoms.” Many laws have been passed to keep my freedoms from infringing on yours.

Bill Ashby


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