Letters to the editor: Sept. 23 edition

Islanders write about vaccination requirements, Chief Krimmert’s vaccination status and more.


Laws, rules and regulations are important

For a civilized society to function we must subscribe to agreed-upon social norms. These may be norms we agree to enthusiastically for any number of reasons, but more importantly, we must ascribe to norms with which we disagree.

Laws, rules, and regulations are just some of the ways these norms take shape. We are now seeing the result of the anti-vaccine effort on those who do not have COVID. Patients who cannot gain admittance to ICU/CCU wards because of COVID patients occupying the units, ERs that are so congested as to be borderline non-functioning, and some hospitals no longer taking labor and delivery patients for lack of staffing.

Because we are a civilized society, we have not required a vaccine to be admitted to a hospital. I just ask that those who have not been vaccinated to figuratively “flip the script“ and put themself or a loved one in the role of needing one of these precious and limited hospital resources.

The longer we allow the virus to circulate and mutate, the longer it will take to eradicate. Additionally, anyone concerned about how the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of health mandates should reference Jacobson v. State of Massachusetts.

— Brad McFall


Chief has always had the community’s interest at heart

Although I am a current commissioner for Vashon Island Fire & Rescue, this letter contains my own personal opinion only and I do not speak on behalf of the board of commissioners.

I am disappointed that The Beachcomber’s Sept. 16 article, “Objection to mandate still clouds fire chief’s future on Vashon,” mistakingly said that Chief Charles Krimmert had signed a letter from 11 firefighters’ unions to Gov. Inslee, objecting to his vaccination mandate.

Let me first say, I am fully vaccinated and believe vaccinations are a critical component in controlling the spread of COVID in conjunction with masking, social distancing, quarantining when sick, cleaning surfaces and taking all recommended precautions to avoid contracting and/or spreading germs.

I also am confident that any patient being treated by any VIRF EMT is in good hands and their safety is of utmost concern. Every EMT (vaccinated or not) is well trained in using appropriate personal protective equipment and will do so, in all cases, when treating a patient. PPE is designed to protect the emergency responder as well as the patient and is the same as used by physicians, surgeons, nurses, and all who provide patient care across the nation.

Although Chief made the (unfortunate — in my opinion) personal choice to not get vaccinated, he never discouraged others from getting the vaccination. In fact, he showed strong leadership in the development and implementation of an incredibly successful campaign to get testing and vaccination sites on Vashon with several volunteer support organizations on the Island. Due in large part to their combined efforts, Vashon consistently has one of the lowest numbers of COVID positive tests as well as one of the highest percentages of vaccinated adults in King County.

We should all be impressed by his dedication and leadership to work hard to accomplish the community goal of eradicating COVID through these efforts, even while quietly choosing to not take the vaccination himself. He is a leader doing his job well, by furthering the organizational mission, contrary to his personal opinion on the vaccination. Chief Krimmert is a man of integrity and has always had the best interest of our community at heart.

Unfortunately, under extreme pressure, he made regrettable comments to The Beachcomber that resulted in a firestorm of reactions from citizens with strong differences of opinion about the COVID vaccination. Chief Krimmert has been totally committed to the success of VIFR and, as our chief, has shed blood, sweat and tears for those successes.

To set the record straight, contrary to the Beachcomber reporting last week that Krimmert was the only chief in King County who signed a letter from 11 local unions to the governor protesting the recent proclamation, Chief Krimmert did not sign that letter. More accurately, he received the letter in a personal email from a friend and he then forwarded the email to himself. In reviewing the email, his auto signature appears at the end of the email, but he did not sign the letter. The Beachcomber has published a correction, hopefully, avoiding any further erosion of trust in Chief Krimmert and/or Vashon Island Fire & Rescue.

— Candy McCullough


How to teach about racism

A letter writer in last week’s Beachcomber was right. She made the case that schools should engage children about racism, and not tell them that it is all in the past. George Will, the long-time conservative Washington Post columnist, would agree. He has been critical of those who want to “airbrush the past,” and laments that it was not until just now, at 80 years of age, that he learned about the Tulsa massacre.

The letter writer went on to say that some community members are opposed to teaching about racism out of a fear that their white children are taught that being white makes them racist or oppressors.

But in laying out her arguments about why the white parents she mentions are off base, the letter writer slipped into implying that membership in a racial group carries with it a kind of collective guilt. She asked how can we simultaneously teach that white children are not responsible for the actions of their ancestors while acknowledging that those ancestors were implicit in some very bad things that still need to be undone?

The answer is not complicated. Of course, the children are not responsible for the bad actions of their ancestors, nor should they get credit for the good actions. And to the extent that anyone in the past, ancestor or not, engaged in oppression that lingers into the present — the children can be taught to help undo the effects. But should collective guilt enter into the way to teach it?

Where the writer’s argument goes astray is in equating “their ancestors” with all white people from the past, and further implying that all white people (ancestors) were complicit in some very bad things. Some were, of course, but were all? Maybe it was just some inartful wording in an otherwise thoughtful and well-intentioned letter meant to elevate the discussion. What should be taught to children is that one’s responsibility to right wrongs comes from one’s basic obligation as a human being, not because of one’s membership in a particular group based on race.

— Robert Thomas