Opinion: No Amnesty for Pandemic Transgressors

Emily Oster, an economist at Brown University, recently wrote an article for The Atlantic discussing why she feels that we should declare a “pandemic amnesty” and “forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID”. As someone whose life was significantly altered because of those actions, and still suffering today, the idea of amnesty without consequences is not only ridiculous, but infuriating.

The article begins by discussing how many people took excessive steps during the pandemic such as social distancing and masking in large, open spaces using cloth masks that were absolutely useless. Oster then admits that these steps were unnecessary but claims we didn’t know any better at the time. And yet, we did know the masks did very little to prevent transmission, and in fact the CDC originally even said not to wear masks. And while Oster says “we didn’t know”, the truth of the matter is many of us did know, but anyone who went against the official narrative was immediately labeled as a “conspiracy theorist” or other such nonsense. And while Oster and I both agree that it’s okay to forgive people for their attacks on others for being brave enough to challenge the official narrative, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold them responsible for the consequences of supporting these actions.

For her next point, Oster discusses how there were only “glimmers” of information regarding the impact of school closures during the pandemic, and how in hindsight most educators are now agreeing that these closures did more harm than good. Once again, there were plenty of people opposed to school closures with reasonable arguments against them. Prior to the pandemic, the National Education Association even published an article about how closing schools in urban areas could be traumatizing to students – why wouldn’t the same apply in a nationwide school closure?

Next up – vaccines. This is a particularly sore point for me, as I still suffer from adverse effects of the J&J COVID vaccine. I, like many others, had to choose between taking the vaccine, or losing my job. Repeatedly I was assured the vaccine is “safe and effective”, and not only do I continue to suffer long-term side effects of the vaccine, but I caught COVID only a few months after getting the vaccine. To propose “amnesty” for those who forced me to take the vaccine to keep my job, those who claimed I was making up my adverse effects, or that attempted to gaslight me into thinking I was suffering from a pre-existing condition, and those who continue to make such statements today, is beyond infuriating. Especially when the FDA says it will take over 50 years to release vaccine efficacy and safety data.

Of course, Oster provides a caveat that those who intentionally spread “misinformation” during the pandemic should not be subject to amnesty. Ironically, she then repeats the debunked claim that President Trump had told people to inject themselves with disinfectant. In fact, it was then Chris Jackson and Jake Maccoby who started spreading misinformation that Trump had made statements regarding injecting or drinking bleach. The entire concept of “injecting” disinfectant was through a question asked by ABC News reporter Jon Karl. Trump is even on the record as saying, with regard to disinfectant, “It wouldn’t be through injections, you’re talking about almost a cleaning and sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work, but it certainly has a big affect if it’s on a stationary object.” While I agree that those who intentionally spread misinformation should not be subject to amnesty, it seems that Oster needs to examine her facts more before immediately labeling someone as spreading misinformation.

And now comes Oster’s statement of the year, “But most errors were made by people who were working in earnest for the good of society.” And there it is, the justification. All the children whose education suffered, all the small businesses which were completely destroyed, the careers ended, and the pain I’m currently enduring due to a vaccine I was promised was safe and effective, all of it was “for the good of society”. We saw this concept before, in 1920. The original quote was “Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz” or “The common good before the individual good”. The person who spoke those words would then go on to commit genocide in the name of the common good. His name was Adolf Hitler.

To quote Ayn Rand: “When the common good of a society is regarded as something apart from and superior to the individual good of its members, it means that the good of some men takes precedence over the good of others, with those others consigned to the status of sacrificial animals.”

Your children’s’ education, your business, your career, my health (and the health of over a million others), all were simply sacrificial animals to those who are now asking for “amnesty”. You know, the last time peoples’ lives were sacrificed en masse “for the good of society”, we didn’t give those responsible amnesty. We put them on trial. However, the government somehow gets a free pass, and the vaccine manufacturers get immunity from lawsuits, so no justice from any trial will ever happen.

So, because there will be no justice from the courts, we must make our own justice through the ballot box, and our wallets. Personally, I will extensively research all politicians up for election and absolutely refuse to vote for any that were in favor of lockdowns, school closures, or forced vaccinations. And any businesses or organizations which required vaccination, I will refuse to patronize ever again. This means never again will I patronize the Maryland Symphony Orchestra (who required COVID vaccinations September 21, 2021 through March 31, 2022 for patrons), or donate to my alma mater, Mount Saint Mary’s University (who still requires COVID vaccines for all students), just to name a few.

Actions have consequences, and as I said at the beginning of the pandemic that all of the lockdowns and restrictions would have a “heavy cost”, the bill for that cost is now due. There is a fine line between justice and forgiveness. It’s okay to forgive, but you should still hold those responsible for what they have done and demand justice. With my recurring pain due to the COVID vaccine, I don’t get to live my life like I did before the pandemic, why should those who willingly contributed to the suffering of others through vaccine requirements or destroying small businesses through mandatory closures?

The idea of providing amnesty for those who willfully destroyed the lives and livelihood of others is not only ridiculous, it’s infuriating that someone would even propose such a thing.

I struggle with forgiveness, because of how much my vaccine injury has changed my life, but I do try to forgive those who did such terrible things during the pandemic. So for politicians such as President Biden, and Congressman David Trone, I do forgive them for my vaccine injury. For those former “friends” who claimed my adverse effects of the vaccine were not real or a pre-existing condition, I forgive them. However, I will not forget, I will not grant amnesty, and I will still hold them responsible.

By voting for any politician that was responsible for these events, the lockdowns, the forced vaccinations, and the consequences thereof, you’re saying that what they did was okay. Remember that on November 8th.

Opinion article by Ken Buckler, President and Managing Editor of Radio Free Hub City. All opinions are his own, and do not reflect those of Radio Free Hub City or its clients.

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