Author: Frank Woods
Originally posted on Facebook on Feb. 14, 2022
Context: In late October 2021, all NYC personnel, to include the NYPD, were thusly notified: Come November 1st, 2021, any member of service not vaccinated for COVID-19 in accordance with the directive of the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as per then Mayor Bill De Blasio, would be placed on an unpaid leave of absence. In January 2022, it was so declared: Anyone on unpaid leave pursuant to noncompliance with the vaccine mandate would be terminated from service if they did not produce proof of vaccination by 2359 hours, February 11, 2022. In September 2022, this directive was declared invalid by the New York State Supreme Court; All personnel placed on unpaid leave or terminated pursuant to noncompliance were to be reinstated or returned to work, and were entitled to back pay. New York City is currently appealing this ruling in the courts.
I’ve been mulling this over for the last 75 hours wondering if I should share my thoughts with the rest of you. After talking with some people I regularly turn to for guidance, I decided it was better that I did.
This does not apply to those who made a personal decision before it mattered, opinions thereof notwithstanding. HOWEVER, for some of you, these words will not be received lightly regardless of your decision. For the rest of you, make of it what you will.
I was reinstated at work today. 105 days later.
In the beginning, the unions and the lawyers said, “They can’t fire you for not getting vaccinated.”
Some colleagues said, “They absolutely can fire you, they will do it after 30 days.” That didn’t happen, and I told them it wouldn’t. But it was off-putting how quickly they caved into the idea. Like their spines had just evaporated. The principle of how wrong the whole thing was didn’t seem to even register. They lacked any hint of that classic American defiance in their demeanor ❌✊🏻🇺🇲❌
These were the same people that said the mask wearing and social distancing enforcement they were tasked with at the beginning of the pandemic were unconstitutional and they’d have no part in enforcing it. They put their foot down and decided “No,” when it wasn’t their job on the line.
The unions said there were thousands of us that had refused to vaccinate. There ended up being less than 50. The rest either caved at the last minute and got the jab or put in an exception request. They did what they had to do to stay at work. The Leave Without Pay scare tactic worked on them.
Then after three months, the job said if you don’t get vaccinated by Feb 11, we’ll fire you. And the unions and the lawyers just shrugged 🤷🏻♂️ And I wasn’t prepared for that. After all, the verdict for the union’s court case challenging the vaccination mandate and whether or not the city even had the authority to impose it hasn’t even been passed down yet as of this writing.
Looking back, I thought there’d be more of us and that it would have ended sooner, so I didn’t plan for a “cut my losses and walk” eventuality. Strategically, I was wrong for that. In retrospect I have determined that, with the clarity this situation provided, my financial priorities would be radically different once I started collecting my paycheck again.
When Mora’s funeral was on the news, it was astonishing to see how many thousands of cops showed up for that. I’ve been to funerals for cops shot in the line of duty, I’ve never seen THAT many cops at a LODD funeral before. Two thoughts came to mind:
1.) Who’s working and covering patrol if all those cops are there?
2.) …damn, they’re all voluntarily vaccinated or got waivers, otherwise they wouldn’t be there.
I used to say people were ridiculous to allege that the majority of cops would participate in gun grabs or side with increasingly draconian politicians and the enforcement of their laws or agenda otherwise. But that funeral procession made me realize, maybe I was wrong about that.
If you threaten their jobs, odds are lots of cops will fall in and comply real fast, and they’ll tell others to fall in and do the same. It’s a disgusting thought, but this vaccination mandate coercion exercise proved it in practice. That some so easily threw their hands up in surrender and acceptance and took a “just go with it” mentality wasn’t as much reassuring of that observation as it was foreboding of the implications.
And really, who am I to criticize them? At the very last minute, hours before the deadline, I chose to save my job when it was threatened. I’m no better than they are. My blood is now stained. And I hate myself for that.
It’s worth noting and fair to say, that the vax decision only affected us as individuals unto ourselves (as was always the case: our being vaccinated doesn’t help anyone else, let alone us; it doesn’t even work), whereas gun grabbing affects other people and their rights and livelihood.
In that respect, we can only speak for ourselves. That which stains our blood pales in comparison to that which stains our souls, and I like (liked?) to think the majority of us know the difference innately.
For those wondering: I took no part in anything of the sort.
But if you have to be okay with compromising yourself before you’re okay with compromising others, how many in that funeral procession could we guarantee wouldn’t keep moving along the process of that slippery slope if it meant their livelihood? The coercion already worked once.
There is also something to be said for the difference between giving up and tactical retreat, and given the circumstances in my case, it more closely resembles the latter, based on those whose counsel I’ve sought out on the matter. It doesn’t make me any less upset over the whole thing, but it is a valid point regardless.
I used to say, “My paycheck, my benefits, my self respect: they are all I have left on the job, and the job can’t have them.” These last 105 days, the job took all three. My blood is now stained; But my soul belongs to me. I have seen the Emperor, and he wears no clothes.
I swore an oath unto others. I will not forget how this feels. I will never be coerced into violating my oath the way I was coerced into violating myself.
Be that as it may, I envy those that had the means to live the lie of compliance, over having no other option than to live the lie of being free men.
Stay in this L.A.N.E.
Join the discussion on this and related topics: