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Increasingly, it appears [Coronavirus] vaccines and auctioneers don’t mix. “It’s my body …” or “It’s a hoax …” or “There’s a 99% chance of recovery …” or “I have natural (or acquired) immunity …” I’ve even heard that “any vaccine mandate” is unconstitutional.

Even more concerning, there appears to be auctioneers who are indeed vaccinated but don’t want anyone to know and/or are telling people they aren’t, and somewhat shockingly there are auctioneers who aren’t vaccinated while telling people they are.

Has our country ever had this kind of issue before? It has and it went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905). The case involved a required smallpox vaccine in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Court ruled that the mandate was constitutional and a particularly memorable quote from Associate Justice Harlan is here:

Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own, whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others.

Justice John Marshall Harlan

If you read that quote quickly, you may want to read it again. “Real liberty for all could NOT (conspicuously noted by me) exist …” You see, you have rights to freedom and liberty but what if you infringe on my rights to freedom and liberty? So I can infringe on your rights to freedom and liberty? See how this works?

For those who say “It’s my body …” it’s not just your body unless you live in isolation. Once you interact with anyone else, and you have a communicable (contagious) disease, it’s clearly no longer just about you.

It’s a hoax? There seems to be overwhelming evidence it isn’t with over 660,000 deaths (as of 09/14/21) in the United States alone. Some of your fellow auctioneers have died because they contracted the virus. Some of most vocal hoax “peddlers” in the media have died because they contracted the virus.

There’s a 99% chance of recovery? There appears to be a 97%-99% chance of not dying from Coronavirus, but what does “recovery” mean? Do you have lingering symptoms and/or difficulty breathing or otherwise are you living a normal life? Jacksonville Jaguars running back Ryquell Armstead is missing an entire season due to “significant respiratory issues.”

You’ve had the virus and recovered, so you are now immune? How long does that immunity last? Have you been recently (and/or periodically) tested? Did you know a vaccine can greatly increase your immunity even if you’ve already had the virus? Oh, that’s right — you don’t want “too much protection.”

It’s unconstitutional? This seems unlikely, given the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled on a very similar case likely providing precedent. Could the current Supreme Court rule differently? Sure, but on what basis? Will they rule you can infringe on my freedom and liberty without due process and I’m not entitled to equal protection?

I remember years ago many auctioneers reporting that we (as auctioneers) should be pillars in our community. We should set good examples and be seen as reliable and trustworthy. What has happened? Now we spread conspiracy theories, defy any and all government authority, and risk the lives of our sellers, bidders, family, friends and neighbors citing our freedom and liberty?

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services, and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Western College of Auctioneering. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.