Hundreds of people march along Yale Road near Hodgins Avenue during the Fraser Valley Freedom Rally on Saturday, April 3, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Hundreds of people march along Yale Road near Hodgins Avenue during the Fraser Valley Freedom Rally on Saturday, April 3, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

OPINION: Freedom, yes, but don’t forget about responsibility

‘Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being’

On Monday morning a young man came in to our office demanding to speak to me.

He was asked to put on a mask as per our pandemic protocols, he said he didn’t have one, so he was told to go outside.

Despite the fact that he was someone I would later learn was seen intentionally refusing to wear a mask around a local store, in the case of our office, he agreed and went outside waiting for me.

He was angry, claimed I was mocking some of “his friends” calling them COVIDiots and “children.” His reference was to my column in the April 9 edition of The Progress about the anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers who marched through Chilliwack on April 3.

READ MORE: OPINION: Have COVIDiots fallen prey to conspiracy theories or are they just selfish?

I told him it would be great if he wrote a letter to the editor, which I would run, and civil discourse could continue. He refused and then said: “Some of my friends are gong to come down here and take care of you.” (I admit I got mad right back at him after this threat.)

I’m not sure he had any actual angry friends to speak of, but it was a threat just the same. But to give him the benefit of the doubt in this whole situation, after our publisher went out to talk to him, he actually apologized to me.

I was shocked. I told him that I understood his frustration, nerves are frayed. People want “normal.”

But after parting ways (and locking our door the rest of this week given the threat of violence) it occurred to me that while he calmed down, he didn’t accept that there is no conspiracy to ruin businesses or kill people with vaccines or suppress freedoms.

Organizers of the march in Chilliwack on April 3 called it the “Fraser Valley Freedom Rally.” Similar rallies have been held elsewhere in B.C. and across North America, usually mentioning “freedom” because, well, who could be against freedom?

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Hundreds rally through Chilliwack in defiance of COVID-19 restrictions

As frontline healthcare workers do their best to protect us from this global pandemic day after day after day, this notion of suppression of freedom comes from those who refuse to wear masks, refuse to accept public health measures, and think scientists and epidemiologists have it all wrong.

Freedom is important, agreed, but freedom can not be unlimited as long as we want to live in societies.

This is an important philosophical issue in political and social thought, and is being rammed to the forefront as we balance individual rights and the collective good.

What are our personal freedoms as human beings? In a democracy? And specifically in Canada’s democracy?

And what are our responsibilities as citizens?

American activist and former First Lady of the United States Eleanor Roosevelt is often quoted on this subject: “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”

Earlier in the same day the angry anti-masker visited me, I had a phone message about a different story. This was about Fraser Health declaring the third outbreak at Sunset Manor, a 30-bed assisted living facility owned and operated by the Netherlands Reformed Congregation, a church which has a history with low vaccinations rates for religious reasons.

A relative of one resident was upset that staff were refusing vaccinations, and we covered this situation.

The phone message directed to me started calm enough but the male became enraged that we would report on this, ending with “My body, my choice.” and then “Go f— yourself!”

Your body, your choice, I agree. But with that freedom comes the responsibility of living among others.

There are those who refuse to listen to public health measures because they supposedly infringe on their personal freedoms.

But as Roosevelt put it, for those unwilling to grow up, it’s a frightening prospect for the rest of us.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


A protester holds a sign on Yale Road near Hodgins Avenue during the Fraser Valley Freedom Rally on Saturday, April 3, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

A protester holds a sign on Yale Road near Hodgins Avenue during the Fraser Valley Freedom Rally on Saturday, April 3, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Just Posted

People take part in the Father’s Day Walk Run for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC in Chilliwack on June 21, 2015. This year’s event will still go ahead, but will not be an organized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Progress file)
Awareness, funds for prostate cancer still needed in pandemic, says Chilliwack man

People to walk/run their own route for Father’s Day fundraiser event for prostate cancer

Jonathan Prest had to climb way up to the top of a dead red cedar tree to rescue a terrified cat, but he made it up and down successfully. (Facebook photos)
Rosedale tree cutter rescues cat stuck 100 feet up a dead and dried-out cedar

Jonathan Prest put himself in extreme peril to get a terrified cat out of a dangerous situation

RCMP Supt. Bryon Massie, officer in charge UFVRD, and Sgt. Mike Sargent of Agassiz Community Policing holding awards from the recent ‘Recognizing Excellence’ ceremony. (RCMP)
Salute to local officers during National Police Week in the Fraser Valley

Exceptional performances and selfless acts noted during the ‘Recognizing Excellence’ awards

Screenshot from the Chilliwack Board of Education meeting held via Zoom on May 11, 2021. (Zoom)
OPINION: Enough is enough with regressive Chilliwack school trustees

No more: Heather Maahs, Darrell Furgason, Barry Neufeld need to do what they’ve been ordered to do

A lumber planer has been installed at the former Metric Modular site as PowerWood works on moving from Surrey to Agassiz. Established in 1995, the red cedar product manufacturer will have plenty of room to grow in Agassiz, said co-owner Jake Power. (Adam Louis/Observer)
Surrey cedar processor PowerWood moving to Agassiz

The company ships red cedar projects all over the world

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

Police are asking the public for help identifying a suspect who allegedly hurled anti-Asian slurs at a family in a Richmond drive-through on May 1. (Benjamin Wong/Screen grab)
Suspect at large in racist tirade at Richmond drive-thru, says RCMP

The Caucasian man was recorded May 1 yelling anti-Asian slurs at a Richmond family in the lineup

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth debates the province’s latest measure to control crime, March 10, 2021. The legislation allows police to impound vehicles used to transport weapons and further restricts sale of vehicle and body armour. (B.C. legislature video)
B.C. seeking ways to ‘name and shame’ gangsters, minister says

Mike Farnworth appeals to family members to talk to police

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Italian-Canadian prisoners at the Kananaskis prisoner of war camp in Alberta. (University of Calgary/Contributed)
Italian moved to Okanagan with hope; he ended up being sent to a WWII internment camp

Raymond Lenzi shares his grandfather’s story ahead of Canada’s planned formal apology to Italian-Canadians

Police and fire crews were in the 18500-block of 18 Avenue around 9 p.m. Thursday (May 13, 2021). (Curtis Kreklau photo)
PHOTOS: Police investigating South Surrey vehicle fire

Unclear if blaze in the 18500-block of 18 Avenue related to Burnaby shootings: RCMP

Then-minister Rich Coleman, escorted by Victoria Police, makes his way to the east wing amid a protest blocking the legislature entrances before the throne speech in Victoria, B.C., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. money laundering inquiry testimony ends today with reappearance of Rich Coleman

Responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, Coleman been recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month

Most Read