A report from NBC News has some sobering information:
The report by Janelle Griffith begins with the story of a police officer who died before vaccines were available.
Erin Tokley was planning to get his first dose on March 11, his wife said. But he never made it.
Tokley, a 24-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, died of Covid-19 on March 3. His funeral was held eight days later — the same day he had planned to get the first dose.
Tragic but understandable. He was more than willing to get the vaccine, but Covid-19 got him first. What’s less understandable is what follows:
Octavia Tokley said the pain she feels from the death of her husband, with whom she has a 5-year-old daughter, Amethyst, has been compounded by vaccine hesitancy and outright refusal, including among those who work in law enforcement and the unions that represent them.
Vaccines have been available for months now. If there were going to be any immediate complications from getting vaccinated, they would have shown up by now, as millions have now gotten vaccinated. For those still worried about long-term health effects, perhaps they should reconsider police work. In any case:
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said in a recent midyear report that Covid-19 is the leading cause of death for officers nationwide. According to the nonprofit, from Jan. 1 to June 30, 71 officers died of Covid-related causes, more than firearm and traffic-related incidents combined. The number has continued climbing since the report was released, with 133 officers having died of Covid to date this year, the nonprofit said.
Last year, more law enforcement officers died of Covid-19 than any other cause, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Even as Covid-19 surpasses other causes of death for law enforcement officers, many police unions, including in Chicago, New York and Seattle, have fiercely opposed vaccine mandates.
There’s more than a little irony in the fact that people who routinely demand civilians comply with their orders — or else — refuse to accept vaccine mandates.
“We absolutely have to have a vaccine mandate,” she said. [Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot ] “It’s for the safety of all involved, particularly members of the public who are interacting with city employees on a daily basis.”
The same day, John Catanzara, the president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, which represents the city’s rank-and-file officers, made it clear that he did not intend to comply.
“It cannot be mandated,” he told the Chicago Sun Times. “It’s that simple.”
“Our members don’t want to be mandated to do anything like that,” said Catanzara, who did not return multiple phone and email requests for an interview this week.
The battle brewing in Chicago is playing out in cities and towns across the country. Police unions in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Seattle; and Syracuse, New York, have pushed back against vaccination requirements, as has the union representing state police in Massachusetts.
Why the refusal? Catanzara recites a familiar list of lies about the vaccines:
“This vaccine has no studies for long-term side effects or consequences,” he told the Sun Times. “None. To mandate anybody to get that vaccine, without that data as a baseline, amongst other issues, is a ‘hell no’ for us.”
To repeat: If there were going to be any immediate complications from getting vaccinated, they would have shown up by now, as millions have now gotten vaccinated. For those still worried about long-term health effects, perhaps they should reconsider police work.
To put it another way, those citing hypothetical and unproven fears about the vaccines are ignoring the proven reality:
The virus can have immediate health consequences for those who catch it — i.e. death — and documented long-term consequences for those who survive it but do not fully recover. For those who get infected but have no symptoms, they still have the danger of spreading it to others, including their fellow officers and their own friends and family — and the public with whom they come in contact.
A motto adopted by many police departments is: “To protect and serve”. Vaccine refusal does neither.
There’s a certain amount of calculated hysteria about the threat to Law’N’order from BLM and Antifa. If Blue lives do matter, they should stop absorbing dangerous nonsense from the Right. It’s killing more of them than any imagined threat from the Left. It’s not good for the rest of us either.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.