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Dear Editor,

In response to last week’s Letter to the Editor regarding the “Attack on our rights,” I would offer that no rights are absolute, and restrictions on individual rights have been found to be lawful in peacetime, war and again during this pandemic.

Restrictions on individual rights have been held to be lawful as evident in many court decisions relating to a variety of issues including freedom of speech, freedom to peaceably assemble and the right to bear arms.

In the case of the governor’s restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, courts have previously ruled (and continue to rule) that authorities may prevent or stop gatherings that clearly pose threats to public health and safety. In doing so, they have effectively ruled that individual freedom does end where other people’s health concerns begin. Saying otherwise doesn’t make it so.

While we all may not agree with the various restrictions implemented, the 196 reported COVID-19 infections in Stanwood and Camano Island since Dec. 1 show that this is a continued threat to the health and safety of our community. I would implore everyone that we continue to reduce the potential impact on our families, friends and neighbors by wearing masks, practicing social distancing and limiting gatherings.

Bob Sehlke

Stanwood

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