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Letters to the Editor May 22, 2020


Insider Mary Coombs in Ashland OR

Dear Editor:

After 31 years in Miami teaching law, I now live in Ashland OR, a smallish town (it calls itself a city, but for me "city" starts way north of 27,000 people!) It Is very left and very "woo-woo." (My then-partner Derryl and I were having a conversation with someone in a cafe, when she announced she had to leave or she'd be late for the appointment with her dog psychic.)

Mostly that's meant people here are careful about masking and social distancing. One can expect at least a nasty look if you don't do that in a grocery store. But I ran into a different type of person a few days ago. (I'd like to think he was an invader from the larger and far more Republican nearby city of Medford, but then what was he doing taking a short cut through an alley?) In any event, the alley is only about 7-8 feet wide. I was going east; two men were going west, walking side by side and taking up about 6 1/2 feet. I moved to the edge and when they didn't move I held out my arm in a "please move over" gesture. The response? I was called a fascist. His attitude was, “how dare you try to limit my freedom and constitutional rights?” I decided it was not useful to explain that constitutional rights only apply against the government; though I did say I was trying to protect myself. I was a bit shaken.

On the other hand, when (soon I hope), we develop a vaccine, I fear that its effectiveness will be limited because both the right (like him) and the Ashland left oppose vaccinations. I've been told they must be bad because they are produced by profit-making corporations and because they are not natural. (NOTE: measles is natural, and -- unless the Trumpian idea that it was created by the evil Chinese in a lab in Wuhan is true -- so is the corona virus.)

A friend reminded me that masking and social distancing are needed to protect us from each other. But if the vaccine works and I get vaccinated, letting the left- and right-wing crazies turn down the vaccine will mostly just improve the gene pool.

Stay healthy,

Mary Coombs

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