The Daily Kos has reported a bizarre occurrence at a county school board meeting in Chaska, Minnesota, where anti-maskers targeted a mask-wearing dad for supporting a school mask policy. #RatherBeSafeThanSorry.
Parents and community members met Monday night, September 27, to discuss a new public school mask mandate. COVID-19 cases were rising and the board felt it important to take action to protect the kids. The vast majority of attendees showed up not wearing masks.
The decision to wear or not wear masks remains personal, and plenty of people have opted not to do so. Some of the reasons they offer are, quite frankly, don’t make good sense. But in the real world, they don’t have to. (See the things anti-maskers have said during the pandemic.)
But because in-class instruction takes place in closed classrooms, the possibility of spreading COVID is high. For parents who realize that infection can happen, it makes sense that they would want all the students to wear masks. After all, the inconvenience is easily outweighed by the risk of becoming infected. Those who don’t think the virus is a real concern, they might resent mask-wearing being required. But, then, they are not the ones attending class.
As of September 29, “only” 561 children 0-18 years of age have died from COVID-19 (174 aged 0-4, and 387 aged 5-18). Whatever that fatality rate happens to be, the more infections there are the more deaths there will be. It doesn’t require a degree in rocket science to understand that to eliminate deaths, you have to eliminate infections. Masks help prevent the spread of the disease.
Anti-maskers don’t care. One woman at the meeting actually compared the mask policy to Jim Crow laws– a downright disrespectful analogy to say the least.
One father showed up at the meeting wearing a mask. The anti-maskers didn’t like it. It turned out that Jonas Sjoberg’s 10-year old daughter actually attends private school, but he went to the meeting to express a countervailing opinion to those of the anti-maskers he knew would be there. They really didn’t like that.
As soon as he sat down he was verbally accosted by an anti-masker. He took the man’s picture– just in case. That’s when things heated up, with the anti-maskers demanding that he delete the photo. The man whose picture he took then tried to take his phone.
If you send an email to the government you are usually advised that anything you say is open to the general public. If you’re in a public place– like the Capitol Building, for example– your photo can be taken without asking for permission. Private is private– that’s where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy; but public is– well, public. And to top it off, the event was being live-streamed. Everyone watching had seen the man’s face. Again, utterly bizarre.
Antimaskers believe that they are being stripped of their rights by a government set upon stripping them of their right to make personal decisions for themselves. If what they say on antimaskers.com is true, the pro-choice crowd might have some allies in the Roe vs. Wade assault: “We believe what we put in and on our bodies is a personal choice,” anti maskers say, implying that what people do with their bodies (like having an abortion or not) is also a personal choice.
Antimaskers.com says that “it’s not about the virus” — which is good to hear because of all the deaths that occurred between January and August 2020, 48,168 were due to COVID-19, while 13,619 were due to pneumonia and 394 deaths due to influenza. Anyone who says that COVID-19 is no more serious than the ordinary flu is intentionally ignorant about the real facts.
I understand the anger that simmers when you feel that the powers that be have you in citizens’ rights lock-down. But what about seat-belt laws? What about driving while drunk? What makes my right to drive without a seat belt or while drunk any different from not wearing a mask during a pandemic? The government says that doing so endangers both me and other people– which is exactly what it says about spreading COVID-19.
Whenever violent extremist groups like the Proud Boys line up on one side of an issue, one has to question whatever logic is used to justify their stance. Sign-wielding antimaskers claiming that requiring students to wear masks is a form of child abuse do nothing to convince me that the movement is not just plain “anti.”
Ignoring the rights that once made America the envy of the world great seems pretty easy for this crowd. My bet is that they all have a “MAGA” cap lying around somewhere back at home.
Watch the school board meeting at Vimeo.