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Opinion: Police officers should not fight vaccine mandates

Around 475 police officers have died due to complications with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The number is five times higher than the rate of gun death during the same period. COVID-19 has successfully become the leading cause of death among police officers.

If police officers joined the force to protect and serve, they should accept masks and vaccination mandates to help protect and serve themselves and their communities. Their deaths are preventable by the exact things they are actively fighting.

The NYPD issued a lawsuit against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate for city workers in late October. A week prior, de Blasio announced that municipal workers such as firefighters and police officers would be required to have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by October 29. Workers were put on unpaid leave if they did not comply. About 30% of police officers are still unvaccinated.

The lawsuit was filed the same day thousands of New Yorkers participated in a protest of similar mandates. In Washington state, nearly 2,000 workers were either fired or left for not complying with mandates.

Different representatives, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, have compared mask mandates to the Nazis’ control of Jews during the holocaust; she compared a mass genocide to something meant to prevent death.

We know that masks work. We know that vaccines work. And yet, people still refuse them. They call these incredibly useful mandates oppressive. It’s unamerican. It violates their freedom.

Even though it’s a well-known fact that George Washington had a smallpox vaccine mandate during the Revolutionary War, sure, it wasn’t a full vaccine. Instead, soldiers were exposed to cowpox to increase their immunity to smallpox. The amateur inoculation helped Washington and his army win because his soldiers had a built-up immunity that helped prevent them from getting the disease.

Not to even mention the polio vaccine mandate that’s been active for the past few decades. Then the measles vaccine. Diphtheria. HPV. And, of course, smallpox. A disease that has been eradicated thanks to the vaccine against it.

We cannot talk about COVID-19 vaccines and not mention the countless people who say that they won’t trust it because of how quickly it was made.

There’s a reason why people are warned against calling COVID-19 coronavirus. It’s because coronavirus is not a single virus; it’s more of a family. Scientists were able to develop a vaccine so quickly because we know about the other viruses. Many of which are simple common colds. Others are much more serious, like SARS-CoV.

Canine coronavirus. The diseases aren’t even limited to humans. There are coronavirus vaccines for dogs. In a TikTok video, a creator finds an old bottle of the canine coronavirus vaccine and proceeds to question the credibility of current vaccines. And people reacted just as we’d think they would; they used it as an argument.

There are multiple types of coronaviruses. COVID-19 was identified in 2019. That’s where the 19 comes from. Canine coronavirus was first identified in 1971. The vaccine has existed since at least the 90s. Commenters on the original video say, “Oh, so the government has known about COVID-19 since the 90s?” A simple google search can prove all of their theories wrong, but they continue to refuse to accept facts.

In the morning of November 4, President Biden announced that private businesses with at least 100 employees would either need to require workers to be fully vaccinated or have a COVID-19 test taken weekly starting January 6. Almost immediately, governors from Iowa and Indiana vowed to fight the rule. Florida and Arkansas have also joined in the fight, with many other states expected to join. They state that it violates their freedom.

The entire conversation about vaccine mandates is not something new. And people opposing them due to heavy amounts of misinformation isn’t new either. Between 1998 and 2002, two different studies showed that measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines could cause autism.

The theories have since been proven wrong, and a few scientists have retracted their name from it though the theory hasn’t gone away.

A person does not develop autism; they are born with it. It is something that is produced while they are still in the womb. There is no way of telling if a fetus will be autistic. There is no medical test such as a blood test to diagnose the disorder. It’s behavioral. How would a vaccine for a virus affect a behavioral disorder? It doesn’t.

Vaccines don’t cause autism. COVID-19 vaccines hardly cause any severe side effects. COVID-19 is a heavily infectious disease. Not getting vaccinated does affect other people because once you’re exposed, others can be exposed. It’s almost certain. It’s not a matter of ‘my body, my choice’ when others are guaranteed to be affected.

People have been getting vaccinated since the moment they were born. A hepatitis vaccine is heavily suggested right after a child is born. The vitamin k vaccine has been recommended since 1961 because low vitamin k levels can result in severe bleeding and death in newborns. Yes, death due to vitamin k deficiency is rare, but it’s rare because of how often newborns are immunized. If someone is fully vaccinated by age 18, then they have had over a dozen vaccines. Why fight now?

There is no reason to be fighting vaccine mandates now. The world is over a year through a pandemic and killed over five million people globally. COVID-19 is the country’s biggest killer of police officers. They are actively proving that they would rather be jobless than have to deal with a few needles. They are actively fighting against the very thing they signed up for: protecting their communities because it damages their false sense of freedom.

Fighting vaccine mandates does nothing else than prove the level of concern for others is falling. Unemployment is preventable by vaccination. Death is preventable by vaccination.

The Effects of Columbine on Safety Protocols

Students walk to class as others wait outside their classrooms.- Taken by Adilene Vasquez

“I want to begin by saying that Hillary and I are profoundly shocked and saddened by the tragedy today in Littleton” In 1999, Bill Clinton addressed the nation about events that happened earlier that day regarding two teenage boys in a small town in Colorado. The country didn’t know then that the perpetrator’s crimes would lead to changes in school safety.

On April 20th, 1999, a 17-year-old boy named Dylan Klebold and his 18-year-old friend Eric Harris entered Columbine high school with four different firearms and over four dozen different explosive devices. In less than an hour, 12 students, excluding the perpetrators, and one teacher would be dead, with over four others wounded. According to Alisha Bashore, a survivor of the massacre, many of the survivors and their families have “Wounds that won’t heal.” according to Alisha Bashore, a survivor of the massacre. 

“Compassion is the greatest form of love humans have to offer,” said Darell Scott, father of Rachel Scott, one of the first victims of the Columbine Massacre. In the aftermath of their daughter’s death, Scott and his wife Sandy created Rachel’s Challenge. It is a non-profit, non-religious, non-political organization focused on reducing school-related violence. The two have traveled to different schools to speak to students about school violence, bullying, and suicide. They do this by showing footage and news reports from the shooting and its aftermath, in addition to excerpts from Rachel’s journal. 

On the tenth anniversary of his daughter’s death, Scott would go on NBC’s Today Show to say, “We’ve seen a lot of lives changed from her story and our program. Rachel’s Challenge has touched 13 million lives over the past ten years.”

In those ten years, there have been over 60 reported school shootings in the United States alone. Because of how common these types of events have become, schools have implemented protocols for these situations.

“Schools were the hub of the neighborhood. They were an open place. They were supposed to be inviting.” Dr. Michael A. Wanko, the current superintendent of Bayonne Schools, said. Wanko called the different security measures’ ‘mind-boggling.’

School funding has been spent on the bulletproof glass on windows, hiring more security officers, adding CCTV cameras, and placing metal detectors in main entryways. Others have replaced doors with ones that lock automatically when closed. Wanko would call these ‘mind-boggling.’

“There’s never enough safety protocols. We can always do better, but I’m glad that we have been implementing them in the past few years,” Sophomore teacher Thania Robles said,” Even though it’s pretty sad that they have to be implemented.”

Lockdown and active shooter drills have become an everyday practice throughout the country. In places like Rolla, Missouri, these drills are required to happen at least once in the school year. They include armed officers strolling the halls, students running, and others pretending to be injured or dead. 

During these drills, the school is placed on lockdown, something that has previously been practiced but has been occurring more and more often.

“I think that lockdowns are reasonable because it teaches kids about safety precautions and what they need to go through. They need to know how to, you know, stay safe.” Student Itzel Tovar said. 

On occasion, schools are placed in lockdown due to a student or facility member making a threat. Many schools encourage students to report any violent or nonviolent threat they may overhear or have been told. The FBI recognizes that many shooters reveal their plans to their friends. This is known as leakage. 

“I would definitely report them because they’re still a threat. If you report it, you could save lives. You could stop something from happening before it ever happens.” Student Mariana Castillo believes that even if somebody is close to someone, such as their friend or family member, they are still a threat if they say something threatening. 

In 2007, Harrold Independent School District in Wilbarger County, Texas, began to arm its teachers and other faculty members with handguns. The selected employees must go through training, require a license before carrying, and pass psychological tests.

Junior Class President Winston Garza says that while it could be a good idea for teachers to carry, it’s not necessary. In his personal beliefs, he believes that teachers shouldn’t carry firearms because this is what we have security and police officers for. If they do their job correctly, there won’t be a need for any more safety precautions.

“The protocols should probably be reinforced since there is still a lot of school shootings monthly.” Mia ‘Onyx’ Mendoza said. “I think the protocols are a good thing because they can prevent a possible shooting and hopefully discourage students from doing those malevolent things.”