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Culture

State trooper's sign-off after refusing vaccine sounds reasonable, except for one major flaw

State trooper's sign-off after refusing vaccine sounds reasonable, except for one major flaw

Washington State Patrol officer gives final sign-off at state vaccine mandate deadline.

In Washington state, the vaccine mandate deadline—after which state employees who declined to get vaccinated for COVID-19 would be let go—arrived on October 18. There have been some high-profile holdouts in the state with the mandate, including the Washington State University (WSU) football head coach who was ousted this week from his $3.1 million-a-year position over his refusal to get the vaccine. And though many have gone ahead and gotten the shots, a handful of state employees have stood their ground on principle, choosing to give up their careers rather than comply with a government mandate in a public health emergency.

One of those employees is this Washington State Patrol officer who shared a video of his final sign-off on the mandate deadline. What I find interesting about this particular video is that he's so calm and reasonable sounding. He's not spouting conspiracy theories. He's not cussing out the governor. He's not ranting about tyranny. He's simply stating that he's taking "a moral stand for medical freedom and personal choice" and sharing words of thanks and encouragement to his fellow officers. His seemingly sane sincerity is almost enough to make me sympathetic.

And yet, ironically, everything he says makes it clear that his refusal of the vaccine makes zero sense.



The fatal flaw in this video is how the officer repeatedly talks about staying safe and coming home at the end of the day. He talks about how relieved his wife and kids are at the end of each shift. He makes it clear that an officer's job is dangerous and he tells his fellow officers to "stay safe" and "take care of one another."

Here's the thing. The single greatest danger to police officers' safety is COVID-19. That's not a guess or assumption, it's math.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, COVID-19 was the No. 1 cause of death for police officers in the United States in 2020, and so far in 2021 as well. And it's not just No. 1 by a little bit. In fact, five times more officers have been killed by COVID-19 than by gunfire in the past two years. In Washington state specifically, half of the law enforcement officers who have died this year were killed by COVID-19. In 2020, it was more than half.

COVID-19 vaccines reduce the chance of getting and transmitting COVID-19 and greatly reduce the chance of death from the virus. So if this officer is truly as concerned about safety as he sounds, he'd get the vaccine. If he's as concerned about his fellow officers as he sounds, he'd get the vaccine. If he wants officers to take care of one another, as he says, he'd get the vaccine—and he'd encourage others to do the same. If he cares about protecting and serving the people of Washington, he'd get the vaccine.

He talks about the number of officers and sergeants who will no longer be serving as of this week, due to their refusal to get vaccinated. But what about the officers no longer serving because they were taken by COVID-19? Many of those officers didn't have a choice to get vaccinated because they died before vaccines were available. How would they feel about their fellow officers refusing to do the one simple thing that could have saved them from dying in the line of duty?

Police officers are required to do risky things in their job. Driving around in a patrol car carries a risk. Being armed with a gun carries a risk. Obviously, chasing down criminals carries a risk. Does getting vaccinated for COVID-19 carry a risk? Yes. But it's a tiny one, and remaining unvaccinated is a far, far riskier choice for you and your colleagues and the people you swore to protect and serve.

The officer said he was taking a stand for medical choice, but he's doing so without acknowledging 1) the public health emergency/global pandemic that prompted the need for the vaccine he's refusing, and 2) the fact that caring about safety makes getting vaccinated the only logical choice.

But a choice it is. Losing your job over vaccine refusal during a public health crisis that has killed 700,000 Americans is a choice. And it's one that doesn't make any sense when the purpose of your job is to protect and serve the public.

Sir, I get the "medical freedom" argument, but you are refusing to take one small risk to minimize a known danger that has killed more of your fellow officers than every other line-of-duty cause of death combined in the past two years. Just seems like an odd hill to choose to die on.

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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After the athlete retires they are likely to earn a lot less money, and if they don’t adjust their spending, they’re in for some serious trouble.

In a candid interview with NFL Hall of Famer and TV personality Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco (legally Chad Johnson) revealed that he saved 80 to 83% of the $48 million he made in the NFL by faking his lavish lifestyle because it made no sense to him.

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The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Giving birth is hard and healing afterward can feel dang near impossible, especially given that most states in the U.S. only offer six weeks of maternity leave and it's typically unpaid. But did you know that not everyone has that experience?

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Now people are being asked to tip just about any time they encounter a point-of-sale system. There is a big difference between tipping a server who lugged around hot plates of food for an hour-long meal and someone who simply handed you an ice cream cone.

"We're living in an era of inflation, but on top of that, we've got tipping everywhere—tipflation. I take it a step further and call it a tipping invasion. Because that's really what I think it is," etiquette expert Thomas Farley (aka Mister Manners) told CBS 8.

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One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

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