Scrolling Headlines:

Candlelight vigil held to mourn deaths of victims of police violence -

September 27, 2016

UMass hosts William A. Douglass for lecture and chair in Basque cultural studies -

September 27, 2016

Amherst Select Board discusses imposing fines on those who violate water usage ban -

September 27, 2016

UMass tennis opens season on high note with performance at Brown Invitational -

September 27, 2016

UMass women’s soccer using long break to prepare for Atlantic 10 play -

September 27, 2016

Notebook: Ford ‘takes step forward,’ Williams appears on SportsCenter -

September 27, 2016

UMass cross country and track and field coach Ken O’Brien hits half century mark with program -

September 27, 2016

A-10 soccer notebook: Duquesne shuts out Robert Morris 1-0 to win fourth straight -

September 27, 2016

The blue light situation: When is enough, enough? -

September 27, 2016

Survivor; awesome yet evil -

September 27, 2016

A ‘Mirror’ into Clinton’s campaign -

September 27, 2016

UMass a cappella groups S#arp Attitude and The Hexachord’s on ‘Sing It On’ television series -

September 27, 2016

‘Through the Photographer’s Eyes’ exhibit highlights photojournalism in today’s media -

September 27, 2016

Designer collaborations steal the show at New York Fashion Week SS17 -

September 27, 2016

Massachusetts drought heavily impacts local agriculture -

September 26, 2016

UMass Soccer earns second win of season in 3-2 victory over Hartford -

September 26, 2016

‘Morris from America’ explores teen angst and the struggles of growing up -

September 26, 2016

‘Hell or High Water’ an intense, morally ambiguous modern Western -

September 26, 2016

Read: You won’t regret it -

September 26, 2016

UMass field hockey hangs tough, falls to No. 18 Stanford -

September 26, 2016

Massachusetts Senate Bill 2028 is kosher

It would be easier if those who wish to die from swine flu would simply infect themselves now and save me the trouble of having to read through their hysterical ravings over Massachusetts Senate Bill 2028. Ironically, I imagine that a die off on such a scale would make it easier to repeal the Patriot Act. I fully support temporarily suspending civil liberties when our well-being is threatened by a palpable threat like libertarian flu carriers.

S2028 essentially grants local health authorities broad authority in containing threats to public health, whether they are anthrax terrorist attacks or H1N1. The bill’s provisions would come into effect should the governor declare a state of emergency. The bill must pass approval by the House before becoming law.

Section 2 of the bill lists several powers granted to health authorities. I mostly agree with these powers such as the power to enforce quarantine, to prohibit public gatherings, to redistribute medical supplies, to decontaminate material by destruction and to require people with medical expertise to assist in these actions. The power to search premises without a warrant is somewhat shady, though keep in mind that the bill was written to accommodate possible terrorist attacks shortly after September 11, 2001. I don’t think that the bill should muddle terrorism with natural threats to public health unless the emergency response would be substantially similar.

The death panel interpretation of this bill probably stems from Section 2B, paragraph b, subparagraphs 8 and 9. I will quote the subparagraphs in full, and I encourage you to find and skim the full text of the bill via Google search. Remember the bill originates from the Massachusetts Senate.

The bill permits local public health authorities “(8) to procure, take immediate possession from any source, store, or distribute any anti-toxins, serums, vaccines, immunizing agents, antibiotics, and other pharmaceutical agents or medical supplies located within the commonwealth as may be necessary to respond to the emergency” and “(9) to require in-state health care providers to assist in the performance of vaccination, treatment, examination or testing of any individual as a condition of licensure, authorization, or the ability to continue to function as a health care provider in the commonwealth.”

I had to lube up the Matterhorn to find a slope so sheer and slippery to reach the conclusion that this bill provides the foundation of a medical police state. Well, subparagraph 8 is concerned with redistributing medical property. That sounds like Communist China to me, except with more concern for the value of human life.

Subparagraph 9 demands that health care providers assist with the crisis or lose their licenses. The bill defines a health care provider as “any person or entity that provides health care services including… health plans…” along with actual medical doctors. HMOs forced to give emergency care for the betterment of society? I think I can see the hand of Obama in this bill, a hand dripping with our precious bodily fluids.

The only problem I have is that the bill charges a fine of $1,000 per day for anyone who resists the provisions of the bill. I’d like to throw them in with the sick instead, but they might start haranguing the real victims with talk of liberty. It is silly to levy a mere fine when people could die from negligence on the part of WorldNetDaily readers. Throw them in quarantine and deal with the lawsuits later, if they survive.

After a life of surviving bicycle accidents without helmets and car accidents without seat belts, the mind of the average libertarian is reduced to a barely sapient paste. Occasionally two neurons make a connection as the goop sloshes around the cranial cavity. Their goal: end what remains of their pathetic lives by engaging in more highly-principled, irresponsible acts. Refusing voluntary, free vaccinations for themselves and their children are popular methods of killing themselves off.

Very well, let them remove themselves from this life. But I’d rather have an armed National Guardsmen between me and the zombies should a particularly virulent plague break out. I don’t think swine flu will become the Black Death, but it makes me feel safer to know that there are contingencies should it happen. And on further reflection, the self-destructive tendencies of those who would circumvent quarantine also reassures me. Let them have their nation-wide swine tea parties. Perhaps we should give them liberty so that they can give themselves death.

Chris Amorosi is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at camorosi@student.umass.edu.

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