Guidelines to prevent
Is the race to get ahead of the coronavirus working? I would have to say no. Some people are still reluctant to step up and get the vaccination. I'm all for individual rights, but when it infringes on my rights to live a healthy life, I feel some mutual protections need to be implemented. Incentives could be created that actually get people involved in the vaccination communication.
Let's start with sporting events requiring proof of vaccination at the gate or mandating face masks for nonvaccinated fans. This should protect everyone from spreading the virus, and fully vaccinated individuals could still wear a face covering for increased protection. To prevent abuse of this requirement, an official stamp marking one's hand or wrist with a V or M would declare everyone's status throughout the event, Schools, churches, concerts and shopping malls could implement similar practices to maintain personal freedom while protecting everyone's health.
How might we entice event planners to adopt these preventative guidelines? Liability. If insurance companies required businesses to follow verifiable vaccination compliance for covid-19 liability protection, executives might be persuaded to adapt. This state can't mandate masks, but businesses can and airlines already do. You would think, if insurance companies thought carefully about this issue, they would have already implemented some similar policy. We can do this! With an increasingly vaccinated population, everyone could start breathing a little easier. Procrastinate or vaccinate, it's your move.
Dwelling in the cellar
No reasonable person could fault Richard Mason's recent argument that Arkansas needs a better-educated populace to raise its quality-of-life measurements.
However, while he seems to define a better-educated populace as one having more college graduates, I would argue that having fewer yahoos among us would be even more beneficial, and could be achieved at much less cost.
But, because the more highly educated are typically having fewer children, the present yahoo majority will likely continue to grow ever larger. And even with low voter participation among them, they will still select our future leaders and set our political agenda for years to come.
Over time, however, we can stamp out yahooism just by teaching our young people how to think! How to rely on science and common sense, rather than on unsupported tribal beliefs.
If logic and ethics were to undergird all instruction in grades K-12, perhaps our shortage of college graduates and low quality-of-life measurements would soon be things of the past, and Arkansas would no longer be an intellectual cellar dweller.
DAVID L. HENDERSON
Hot Springs Village
Done it to ourselves
I wonder how many Arkansans realize the desperate situation we now face. When we look at a map of where the covid-19 variants are rapidly spreading, we see that these areas are almost entirely ones that voted for Trump.
Many Trumpists started out as vaccine-hesitant, in step with Trump's downplaying of the virus. Their feelings have now become highly politicized and have morphed into vaccine hostility. A recent article in The New York Times (published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) focuses on Arkansas as one of the least vaccinated states. It centers on Mountain Home, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates. The article features three unvaccinated women who were hospitalized with the virus. Despite their suffering, all three still refuse the vaccine. That should tell us everything about what's going on.
When people criticize Trump and his ways, their words only inspire the Trumpists to greater loyalty to him. Such comments are worse than useless. The Trumpists in our state Legislature have made a bad situation much worse. Act 1002 bans mask mandates, which are one of the most effective tools in combating the virus. Legislation also blocks hospitals and other organizations from requiring vaccinations of their employees.
What all of this means is that we Arkansans are trapped in a box canyon in which the only thing we can anticipate is increasing suffering and death. This state is determined to commit suicide, and nothing is standing in its way.
Opinions aren't news
Last Sunday's Democrat-Gazette editorial addressed the pathetic state of the news media in our country. A Gallup Poll was referenced finding only 16 percent of Americans trust TV "news." The editorial said many news sources frame their news to fit a specific opinion rather than just presenting the facts.
Fox 16 News in Arkansas is an excellent example of that practice. Here's a sample. A couple of weeks ago a story about a Lockesburg church made national news. The church had posted a message on an outdoor sign which read, "Heaven has strict immigration laws. Hell has open borders." While some thought it cute, others were outraged and screamed it was racism against Hispanics.
As usual, it seems Fox 16 thought forcing its opinion down your throat was more important than objectivity. The studio anchor opinionator introduced the story by saying, "A controversial message was plastered for everyone to see." Yup, she's telling us the message didn't create controversy, but the message itself is controversial. Big difference. Next, the station goes to an opinionator at the scene with the sign in the background. He opens by saying, "If the Bible says to love your neighbor, then the message from this church must have come from a different book." Once more, another opinion peddler, but this one speaks as a biblical scholar as well.
This certainly isn't journalism, but so what if they're just storytellers with a semester of creative writing? They attract viewers who are just probably waiting for the weather anyway, and sell advertising in the process. And that's all the station really cares about.
North Little Rock
My right to be safe
Airlines should offer separate and better seating for passengers who are vaccinated.
Why should my right to fly in a safe environment be subject to the dangers of vaccine-avoiders who are screwing up the recovery and endangering the health of the rest of us?