Freedoms suspended by circumstance

The distinction between what should be done about a problem, and what the government should do is, perhaps, often blurred. It may have been right for us to have quarantined. It could be the right decision to social distance. But is it the responsibility of the government to impose these things as law? If so, why?

In regard to the legality of Idaho’s shutdown, Governor Little’s stay-at-home order was indeed legal according to Idaho code. (Title 46, Chapter 10, Section 46-1008). However, this law is in direct violation of the Constitution of Idaho (Article 1, Sections 1 and 4), and the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

All laws in Idaho are given legitimacy by, and have authority from, the Constitution. Thus it does not matter that Governor Little’s behavior was based on Idaho code because the code itself is in violation of the foundational document of this state. Thus, that part of Idaho code is null, and no one was obligated to obey the governor in that case.

Additionally, no one is legally obligated to wear a mask or social distance. There is no provision giving the government the authority to make this kind of demand. If we want to do these things, then we should. But it is not the role of the government to require it.

The protocols currently in place by the city of Moscow and Idaho Public Health District 4, for example, should be recommendations only. Any enforcement of these restrictions, due to their intrusive and illegal nature, should be resisted through legal action.

Freedoms are not subject to circumstance. If freedoms can be suspended by circumstance, then we do not have a free society.

Isaiah Williams


Recovering our core values

A stable and experienced adult is needed in the White House. Joe Biden fits this description very well. I urge you to give him your enthusiastic support.

First, a brief word about his opponent. Donald Trump is a perfect example of affluenza — the outcome of a childhood and adulthood without being denied anything (except parenting). The result is a selfish, petulant adult who can’t seem to tell the truth about much. These qualities are reflected in actions primarily geared toward promoting his own self-interest rather than serving the interests of the people.

Viewing Joe Biden’s website has convinced me that he is indeed a credible candidate for President of the United States. His positions are well considered and reasonable. I would urge you to check it out. For example, you will find that he supports much needed immigration reform. He is committed to engaging in the Paris Accord, recognizes the importance of aggressive action to deal with climate change and is aware of job creation that will result from such action. He will work to improve healthcare options.

Under Joe Biden, we will recover our core values. We will recover our position of world leadership. Please join me in voting for Joe Biden on Nov. 3.

Shirley Ringo


Bad decisions willmake things worse

More people need to consider the full extent of possible grave and irreparable consequences of opening classrooms. It’s not just about an increase in cases. Last spring children had online lessons implemented by their own teachers, with free bagged breakfast and lunch food delivered by school buses or picked up at designated spots every weekday (food program continued all summer).

If K-12 classrooms open, a serious number of staff and bus drivers are very likely to get sick, unless they are in biohazard suits. Even children trying to cooperate will not mask perfectly and what about when they need to eat or drink? Schools will close due to not enough healthy staff and teachers left to run them. Not enough healthy drivers to ferry the kids or the food that cooks will be too sick to prepare. Many teachers will be too sick to teach online. No organized lessons for the hungry kids. Education may drop to whatever parents can pull together from home and online resources.

There are no do-overs in raging epidemics. Bad decisions leave the situation worse off, with fewer resources with which to cope. There may be no going back to good online lessons and free food. If it goes very badly we may need to convert schools into facilities to house and care for kids who brought the disease home and made their parents too sick to care for them.

Is this really what people want? Is it worth the risk of kids going hungry and getting virtually no real education at all for many months? Or should we be teaching our kids the most important human lesson of all, that of adapting to changed conditions to survive?

Sharon Cousins


Sweden actually the outlier

As much as I enjoy seeing my paternal grandfather’s home country, Sweden, on the editorial page, I think it might be important to also look at the home of my maternal grandfather, Norway. Sweden is being touted for its wonderfully hands-off approach to COVID-19: no shutdown and “only” 56.6 deaths per 100,000. They supposedly have reached “herd immunity with currently only 20 deaths per week.

Norway on the other hand had 4.8 deaths per 100,000. They currently have had one death per week. Of the Scandinavian countries, Sweden, not Norway is the outlier. Finland has had 6 deaths per 100,000 and Denmark 10.6. Sweden has a population of roughly twice that of Norway, so their current weekly death rate is 10 times that of Norway.

If the U.S. had Sweden’s current mortality rate, it would add 22,000 more deaths to our total. Unlike some of the more libertarian authors seen here, I have a hard time casually dismissing the deaths of 22,000 Americans.

On the other hand, if we had taken immediate and comprehensive steps to stop the spread of the virus, we may have been able to match Norway’s death rate, saving 148,000 lives. This is not likely as Norwegians are generally healthier and have a better health care system.

In the U.S., we have suffered under a hodgepodge of restrictions which have severely damaged our economy but have only marginally slowed the spread of COVID-19. The path to recovery is not to get rid of masks and open everything up. The solution is to recognize it as a national disaster that requires a nationwide policy based on the most current science with the support of all citizens and our leaders.

Robert Johnson


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