I don't think that way. I remember watching "Perry Mason" as a kid and wondering why it was always "the State vs. Whomever". Later, of course, I learned that crimes are offenses against the State, in the sense of the State being that which represents the rule of law, as well as being moral violations in many cases. There are rules by which we have agreed to abide in order to go about our daily business and live our lives in some order and peace.
We agree on which side of the road we are going drive, and everybody has to abide by that. We even put our steering wheels on the center-line side to help us keep it straight. We should respect the lives, the health and the property of our neighbors. They, in turn, agree to respect ours. If someone violates this compact, we all come down on him. At least that's the way it's supposed to work.
There is a bit of a controversy right now about vaccinations. We have a measles outbreak in certain parts of the country. This is probably a result of all the illegal "children" we allowed into the country recently -- though the regime seems to want to claim everybody caught the measles from Donald Duck.
Some think that parents have the right to make decisions about their child's health. Others think that government must act to protect the majority from the minority by forcing parents to allow their children to be vaccinated.
When I was a kid, it was required by the local school board we be vaccinated for smallpox, polio, whooping cough, diphtheria, and maybe something else. I remember being tested for tuberculosis. Meanwhile, every kid that I knew, including me, suffered a bout of mumps, measles, and chickenpox at some point during the first few years of school. I don't recall any of us dying from any of those. Some did have their tonsils taken out. I don't think I did.
There are people who die or suffer some kind of permanent disability as a result of a childhood disease. That's a sad fact. If I refused to allow my child to be vaccinated, and he or she subsequently died or was disabled or disfigured in some way, I would feel great remorse and guilt. I'd also feel great remorse and guilt if I bought my child a car in which he or she was killed.
It's a dangerous world. I've had many close calls myself. Mortality remains at approximately 100% -- not counting Enoch and Elijah.
Senator Rand Paul says that parents "own" their children, and, thus, immunizations should be voluntary. "Own" may not be the best word to use here, but we all know what Senator Paul means.
"The state doesn't own your children," Paul said in an interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell." "Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom and public health."
Frankly, I am sick of the state coming in and telling parents how to be parents. Bureaucrats have every right to raise their own children -- not mine. If we're talking about negligence or abuse or neglect, then perhaps there needs to be some intervention. As was the case with Adrian Peterson, I think the state goes overboard way too often. There is always going to be a certain amount of risk we have to accept in a free society, a certain amount of error and bad judgment.
I would suggest that it is at least as likely for there to be bad judgment and error on the part of big, nanny-state government as on the part of individuals and families.
The fact is that vaccines are not 100% safe nor are they 100% effective. I would not get a flu vaccination at gun point. They are a waste of time and money. They either give you the flu -- despite what the manufacturers claim, or, more often, they do nothing to protect from the actual virus that is going to attack you.
There are dangers to any vaccine whether for the measles or the flu or anything else. There are dangers in not getting immunized. The question comes down to who is wrong most often and where does the greater risk lie. Most of the time, with regard to childhood immunizations, I would go with the vaccines. Additionally, I think a local government or local health department should be able to enforce a quarantine if there is an outbreak of a dangerous communicable disease of any kind.
In the end, though, responsibility for a child's health and safety lies with the parents. If we, as parents, have lost the ability to love and care for our children more than a politician or some government worker, all is lost.