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I will continue to watch my space when I am out, I will continue to stay home more

In regards – to Rick Steber's opinion, to the Round Up Committee, to furloughing county employees.

I am proud of the Round Up Committee. They set a great example for the rest of us. Their celebratory year got a rude slap, but they handled it honorably when they made the difficult choice not to hold the Crooked River Round Up this year. I will miss it. I will miss watching slack. I will miss seeing the stock in the rodeo pens. I am a fan and while I am sorry it will not be held this year, the committee deserves applause for canceling the event to support efforts to control this very nasty virus. More than that, they deserve a trophy.

On the other hand, I am astounded when generous, caring people speak as though they were thoughtless, selfish folks. When exercising one's liberty has the potential to, inadvertent though it may be, cause grievous harm or death toward others – the more polite expression is "cowboy up."

I realize that people want to believe they're invincible – especially immune from the microscopic organism running rampant now. I understand that space well. If exercising your "liberty" put only you at risk that would be one thing. Even that would not be right because should you become ill, your illness would unnecessarily tax the health care system. However, your out and about, your group meetings, that liberty has the potential to carry significant impact. You may, through exercising your liberties in defiance of good practice, become an asymptomatic carrier and, as such, expose and likely infect, many other people.

Although I enjoy my home and have plenty to do at home, I, too, miss getting out. I miss our shops, I miss casually stopping by the grocers. (Ray's is doing a great job BTW). I have been so off track that I succumbed to ironing some shirts yesterday evening. So, yes, it can be hard. Too, I miss eating out. I worry about people's income; I worry about the health risk those who continue to serve us face to face. I miss seeing my friends but I'd rather they not be dead. If limiting my trips, wearing a mask when in a store, even just might help that, I'll do it.

If we could trust one another to behave, to respect people's distance, that would be assuring. My experience at Bi-Mart says that we can't. The last time I was in, people were treating the store as a social hangout. Groups were chatting well within 6 feet of one another. They were blocking aisles. They were paying no attention to others trying to shop. The staff was not protected. Social distance was not enforced, the disinfectant container was empty.

Frankly, I am not very good at taking direction. Therefore in part, I understand the frustration expressed by Mr. Steber and his supporters. However, I will continue to watch my space when I am out, I will continue to stay home more. For the greater good, to avoid causing harm to others, we can use restraint. We can do our best for the sake of friends, neighbors, and yes, country. We can be generous of spirit, we can endure staying home, restrict our trips.

Your liberties end when they endanger my life. That has been and should be. For instance, I cannot lawfully be shooting over your property. You cannot drive over the crosswalk when I am walking across it. Our smoking has been restricted because it harms others. When the safety of others requires that you do something you don't want to do – do it anyway.

On another matter, most recently I was saddened to read the commissioners chose to furlough library and fairgrounds staff as well as attorney staff. This would have gone over easier with me had the commissioners announced that they were taking a pay cut to help the budget situation. Why not fellows? If you did and didn't take credit for doing it, I apologize. If you didn't, why not? Are you proposing a ballot measure to gain funding for these services? Did I miss the appeal asking your constituents for their suggestions?

Audra Oliver is a Prineville resident. She can be reached at 541-447-1624.


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