A surely unforeseen consequence of these long, dark days of the pandemic has been the tearing apart of what the concept of "freedom" actually means.
At its highest, freedom is about breaking away from tyranny.
In the US, through the enormous slaughter of the American Civil War, freedom represented the emancipation of four million slaves.
IN OTHER NEWS:
In the more recent past it has been the dismantling of communism in the old Soviet Bloc.
Neither though demonstrates any kind of utopian deliverance - the thousands of black Americans who have died at the hands of police give us a troubling insight into a still deeply fractured society.
In Russia, the enormous wealth of the Oligarchs might suggest capitalism has won the day, but certainly not underpinned by any notion of a genuine, transparent democracy.
What has been troubling about "freedom" during the COVID-19 pandemic has been the word's hijacking by those who ignore - often with a foolish arrogance - the crucial part of this democratic equation.
And that is, with freedom comes responsibility.
We must be able to express our views without fear of persecution.
But those recent anti-vaccination, anti-lockdown rallies in Melbourne showed people thinking they had the right to do what they wanted while trampling over the rights of others to do the same.
We have prided ourselves on the decency with which we here on the Border have handled the unique, unrelenting demands of the pandemic.
Lockdowns and business shutdowns, the checkpoints on either side of the Murray River at various times - we have done what we have needed to do.
And yet we have reports of malicious abuse hurled at Albury business owners doing the right thing as they open-up under NSW government rules.
For now, you simply must be fully vaccinated if you want to go buy some clothes, or have breakfast out at a cafe.
Sadly, attacks might have been expected, given the recent pandemic ugliness, but that does not lessen the obscenity of such behaviour.
It is the ultimate disrespect to a united community from those who have confused the word "freedom" with individual "rights".
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.