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Thursday, June 30, 2022
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HomeOpinionColumnHe was a die-hard anti-vaxxer and that’s exactly how it ended

He was a die-hard anti-vaxxer and that’s exactly how it ended

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

He was an intelligent, naturally curious man who read hundreds of books in his 81 years. He excelled in a highly classified, technical job in the Navy that required him to take classes at MIT.

He had two years of college and worked with complex manufacturing equipment, ran his own business in heating and air conditioning, and finished his work career making sure a public school district operated and maintained its utility systems in a safe and efficient manner.

He encouraged and enabled his children to benefit from advanced education to prepare themselves for happy, productive lives. He was never reluctant to speak out on behalf of veterans because of his own military service.

He had the skills to convert a tired old school bus into a camper that he used for hunting and fishing trips and shared with his children and other family members. 

He loved guns and proudly supported groups and politicians who swore to protect his Second Amendment right to bear arms. 

He had caps and bumper stickers and window signs that declared his personal commitment to “Make America Great Again” and he said he believed everything he saw on Fox News.

He acknowledged the scientific successes of disease prevention and mitigation through vaccination but somehow convinced himself that Covid vaccines were different. 

He was sure the vaccines, face masks, and social distancing of the coronavirus pandemic were tools of a left wing conspiracy, organized by dangerous folks in government who wanted to take away his personal rights. 

He steadfastly refused to consider the pleadings of his children and his siblings that he and his current wife, now physically disabled, should protect themselves with vaccinations.

He consistently held his ground, saying he was not becoming a participant in such a hoax. When asked if he was willing to bet his life on that position, he usually smiled and changed the subject.

Late on the first day of 2022, he died in a hospital ICU after seven hard days of struggling on a ventilator as Covid ravaged his body. 

Why would an otherwise intelligent person make such a choice? That question will haunt me forever because he was my older brother and I loved him dearly. 

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com

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