Vaccine Could Be Dangerous
[Re Off Message: "As Outbreak Spreads, Holcombe Questions Zuckerman's Vaccination Stance," March 22]: Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman is absolutely right to oppose frantic vaccination pressure from people who do not have a clue as to what actually is part of vaccine serum. What can happen is that the shedding process could actually end up infecting far more people than if they had not been vaccinated. The "Chicken Licken" syndrome in our society would lead us into deathly conditions since these people do not do the necessary research to determine the overall effects of vaccinations. Besides, any vaccine that is produced now will not have been thoroughly tested to determine harmful side effects — especially to seniors.
Thank you to Zuckerman for standing up against the public mania for vaccines.
Pay the Rent
Government should, of course, protect tenants [Off Message: "Vermont Lawmakers Mull Eviction Moratorium During State of Emergency," March 28]. But please keep in mind that most Vermont landlords are not wealthy. Many landlords are mom-and-pop, of working age, and they work for a living, too. They may also be out of work due to COVID-19 disruptions. Many mom-and-pop landlords are retired people who depend on their rental income to pay their own bills to survive.
It is entirely naïve of anyone who believes evictions (and/or rent) should simply be waived — and that the cost of this should simply be borne by Vermont's mom-and-pop landlords.
Those in government in favor of halting evictions — and thus, in effect, promoting continued nonpayment of rent — should instead provide those same nonpaying tenants with cash payments intended to provide the tenants with a means to continue to pay their rent and other necessities.
The more I've thought about Rep. Cynthia Browning's (D-Arlington) argument that she followed her "principles," the less sense it makes [Off Message: "Vermont House Passes Emergency Coronavirus Bills After Procedural Delay," March 25]. Most citizens, but surely all legislators, know that two well-founded principles often collide with one another. That's precisely why none of our Constitutional rights is "unlimited." The Supreme Court exists largely to resolve these very conflicts.
We have the right to speak our minds, based on the First Amendment principle of freedom of speech, but not the right to cry "fire" in a crowded theater, endangering the lives and liberties of others. Examples are easy to proliferate.
Browning's principle — which is, frankly, dubious on its face — clearly conflicted with the principle that obvious measures to protect public health and save lives should be implemented. She chose to ignore the latter, endangering her colleagues and, ultimately, all Vermonters. Put bluntly, this is reckless endangerment.
Just what is Browning's principle here? Prior to modern technology, being "present" for a quorum meant being physically present; there was no alternative. But now there is. How is voting remotely any less democratic than voting in person? Should we count absentee ballots as only partial votes?
'Art Is Humanity's Hope'
I listen to John Tesh's radio show "Intelligence for Your Life," in which he urges that, even if confined to our homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, we should do certain things like get out of bed, get dressed and adhere to a schedule. Communication, even if done electronically, is also important. Tesh draws his information from various experts, these days mainly in the field of psychology.
We all know by now about the need to constantly wash our hands and practice social distancing. In the midst of it all, there looms the prospect of an encroaching depression, which is why I appreciate your article "Virtual Venues: New Site Brings Art to Stuck-at-Home Viewers" [March 25]. I have visited some of the sites, and they are phenomenal.
Art is humanity's hope. Even in the worst of times, it is a reflection of who we are. This is something that the musicians on the Titanic understood, as well as the authors of The Red Badge of Courage, The Grapes of Wrath and Sophie's Choice, to name but a few.
As it has for previous generations, art will stand as a testament to our endurance in these trying times.
James Robert Saunders
'Facts, Not Platitudes'
On Monday, March 23, in a news briefing on COVID-19 spread, Vermont Retail & Grocers Association president Erin Sigrist said that the public needs to "rest and reset."
No, Erin, the problem is not us. The problem is the failure of your supply chain.
We do not need to rest or reset; we need to clean. We are told to clean frequently touched surfaces. No disinfecting cleaning products are available.
We are told to wash hands frequently. I see only mild, scented soaps on shelves.
We are told to use hand sanitizer if we can't wash. No hand sanitizer has been available for weeks.
We are told to make hand sanitizer with isopropyl alcohol. No such alcohol is available.
Your reassurance that there is "plenty" out there isn't helpful. We need products here and now.
Yes, Mehuron's Market and others have hours for at-risk persons only ["Adaptation: Social-Distance Shopping," March 25]. This does not help if at-risk persons cannot buy what they need during those hours.
Find the blockages, resolve them and get products on the shelves. Supply chain management is one of your core skills.
And, please, in future briefings, pay us the compliment of providing facts, not platitudes. We understand that you are under pressure. You can help us cope by giving us the best information you have and, of course, by getting that hand sanitizer out on the shelves.
Last week's story "Syringe Benefits" misidentified one of the four components that comprise the mRNA of the coronavirus. They are adenine, guanine, cytosine and uracil. University of Vermont researcher Sean Diehl also clarified that its string of nucleotides is 29,289 letters long.