I am just an old and contrary man. I've lived through a few pandemics, but have never seen anything like this. Yes, the virus is virulent and deadly. But our officials' response is worse. It is killing people.

Ask yourself this, if you are presented with the facts and allowed to question the "scientists," would you alter your behavior to protect yourself? That would be your choice based on your own risk level.

But, you see, you do not have a choice. Our leaders know better than you, and must treat you like children. They must punish you, if you disobey them, with fines and possible jail time. You could be killing people. You could be a murderer. They must control you, for your own good, of course.

I am sorry for the illness and death. Yet it continues, despite the parental-type edicts and threats of punishment that have ruined our economy and made people paranoid. Be afraid, be very afraid, is the message.

This is the United States of America, a place of individual freedoms. Give us information, not paranoia. Those at risk, and those who are fearful, will take the recommended precautions. Mask up, stay home, order out. Let the rest of us alone.

ROBERT LIDDYCOAT

Seaside