NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Not everyone sees the pandemic as purely a public health crisis.
Tennessee Stands is an organization that is, “an opportunity for all Tennesseans to band together, take action, and reclaim our liberty,” its website describes. They’re against mandates but say labeling them as anti-vaxxers isn’t accurate.
Gary Humble, founder of Tennessee Stands, believes political agenda masked as a pandemic has infected the country. “People say, ‘well, you know, this, this isn’t political.’ No, no, no. You’re missing it. You’re missing it. Everything is political,” said Humble.
After 18 months of COVID-19 conversations, he questions, what is the truth?
“I think the general sentiment is there’s a significant amount of distrust because of the conflicting information that continues to come out,” he continued, “The shifting goalposts that come from not only the health care industry but also our elected officials.”
Humble doesn’t deny the virus is real, but he isn’t sold on how serious it is, blaming, in part, a lack of universal standards for classifying case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths.
“It’s scary that we were not supposed to question those things. And if you do, you’re demonized; you’re un-American; you’re a hateful, selfish person,” said Humble.
Transparency from all sides about all treatment options is what Humble needs to make an informed decision either for or against the vaccine.
Q: “Would you classify those that feel this way as anti-vaxxers?”
Humble: “No, I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I think vaccines, historically, have done some really good things. Does that mean that every vaccine is the same? Disregard that one vaccine may have been tested for decades, and that one vaccine has been tested for months. Are there long-term effects? I don’t know. Are there long-term emotional effects, especially when you’re slapping a mask on a child that’s five years old? It’s those types of questions that we need to be asking more.”
Humble has filed several lawsuits against Governor Bill Lee and county officials on the grounds that mandates violate one’s constitutional rights.
“Law simply has not addressed the fact that, well, is bodily autonomy a thing?” He asked, “Is our ability to choose what goes inside of our body, is that a basic human right? Is that something worth protecting? I would say emphatically, yes.”
Q: “For you, this issue is less about vaccines and more about civil liberties?”
Q: “How do we work through this, so more people don’t die? What’s our individual responsibility?”
Humble: “We need to stop demonizing one another, so we can actually have the conversations that are necessary.”
While respecting the rights of those who need time, he says, to decide if the vaccine is right for them.