Does half of New Hampshire (and the nation at large, for that matter) have a suicidal streak running through it? Or, to quote Shakespeare, “have we eaten on the insane root that takes the reason prisoner?”

New Hampshire Republicans are trying to pass laws to limit local mask and shot mandates (The Sentinel, Sept. 21). There is a time when government is justified in intervening in human actions, and even curtailing certain rights, in order to prevent or contain disasters and threats to the citizenry at large.

If you have a bear terrorizing the town, do you go out and try to pet it, and welcome it with open arms? Do your leaders refuse to order people inside because they have the right to use the sidewalks?

COVID-19 is like a wild bear ravaging the country. Sensible, rational people get a vaccine, wear a mask, stay away from large crowds of unvaccinated people. People who are not sensible and no longer rational refuse to get a vaccination, refuse to wear masks, and insist on going everywhere they want because it is their right to do so, and they, apparently, do not care if they endanger other people, and even their own family.

Lawmakers should be using their leadership positions to protect their people. That’s what they were elected for. That’s what true leaders do! They should be encouraging people to listen to health-care experts and take the appropriate measures to keep themselves healthy and safe. And if the people do not heed them, leaders should have the courage to do what needs to be done to protect their people. Is this not what is done when a country is at war?

Instead, Republican lawmakers are abetting the already dangerous tendency of many people to listen to unproven theories and deliberate misinformation. Consequently, they are not protecting the people, but are in fact leading them on a path to disease and even death!

So, because of poor and cowardly “leadership,” New Hampshire remains only half-vaccinated, and people’s lives are constantly threatened by the selfishness and irrationality of those who refuse to protect themselves, and others, from the raging bear that is COVID-19.

It’s a no-brainer. If everyone got vaccinated, we would be finished with masks and with fear very quickly. Instead, we are doomed to be wearing masks and dying indefinitely into the future.

Is this what is meant by “freedom”?

CATHERINE BEHRENS

Keene

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