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LETTER: Making masks mandatory

Editor: I wear a mask to protect you, will you not wear a mask to protect me? No. It offends you to have to wear a mask during a global public health emergency. I get it. I can see how you feel that way. The pandemic is inconvenient.

Editor: 

I wear a mask to protect you, will you not wear a mask to protect me?

No. It offends you to have to wear a mask during a global public health emergency. 

I get it. I can see how you feel that way. The pandemic is inconvenient. It seems to have stalled everything and that is frustrating.

It is easy to think that because of COVID, nothing is happening. But as we enter into the cold and the darkness, maybe it’s time to think in broader terms.

While it may not appear so at the moment, something is happening. Something big. Forget all the other threats humanity faces for the moment; forget all that is backing up behind the COVID dam.

The virus isn’t just killing us and pushing our health systems past their limits, it is killing our economies and damaging our political structures and institutions. Unchecked, one way or another, the virus could take us out, not just some of us, but enough of us to make a difference to the future. 

Care to talk about a transformational moment in the course of human history? We are living in one. And how are we handling it?

“Don’t tell me I have to wear a mask. You are impinging on my individual rights, my freedoms.”

Nice to have rights; but rights come with responsibilities. If we don’t handle this pandemic right, a lot more of us are going to die.

Look around you. Take note of who your friends are and which of your family members you are among. Imagine next what it would be like to lose half of them.

Now, take a break from your selfish protest against wearing a mask and contemplate which of your family and friends you would least like to infect; name the ones you would spare and which you would condemn to death. 

I asked a judge about whether or not killing someone without malice or aforethought, or in circumstances that did not amount to murder, was a crime. “Yes,” the judge said, “it’s called manslaughter.”

When you walk into a shop or a restaurant without wearing a mask and belligerently proclaim “I am OK,” should I believe you? Or should I fear and perhaps despise you because I know that you could, through your arrogance, ignorance and willful blindness, actually kill me.

R.W. Sandford,

Canmore