Monday, August 3, 2020


Moab, UT

82.9 F

    Why I wear the mask

    Something in the Desert

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    Men donned wooden masks and numerous layers of sweatshirts and ponchos then proceeded to hit each other with whips as they danced around the town square.
    Doug McMurdo
    Doug McMurdo
    Editor Doug McMurdo reports on news out of the Moab City Center, tourism, courts, change of government and more.

    I wear the mask when I’m at the market or somewhere else where I can’t hope to maintain social distancing guidelines. I don’t like wearing the mask. It impedes my breathing, especially after I eat anything with garlic. It looks silly and, truth be told, I don’t know if it is an effective virus blocker.

    I have never had a problem looking anyone in the eye while wearing the mask and I have not had anyone give me grief for wearing one.

    In return, I have not hassled anyone for not wearing one, but make no mistake: I will avoid you as if you were firing an AK-47 in my direction.

    I wear the mask because people who know about viruses and community spread and pandemic response protocols are far more trustworthy than any politician telling you something different.

    Those people tell me the mask probably won’t protect me, but it could protect those who come in close proximity to me should I have it and not know it. I wear it for you and your loved ones. Not for me and mine. Clearly, people who don’t know they have the disease can and do spread it to others. Some lowlifes do know they have the symptoms of the disease and still mingle like demented Typhoid Mary’s.

    A man wears a mask during the 1918 flu pandemic
    An Australian man wearing a mask during the 1918 flu pandemic. Australians were required to wear a mask whenever they were outdoors. He added the skull and crossbones as a joke. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

    I wear the mask out of respect for the employees who wear the mask whether they want to or not. I wear the mask because I’m a team player.

    I do not feel like my freedom has been diminished and I know what it feels like to have a freedom taken away. I’m still upset they banned Lawn Darts.

    I know what tyranny is and this isn’t it. Tyranny is brutal oppression by the government. It is neither brutal nor oppressive to ask people to be responsible and do their part to mitigate the damage a deadly virus can do. The issue is public health, not political strategy.

    There is abundant precedence that gives government the right to enact measures designed to stop infectious disease from decimating communities. The year 1918 wasn’t that long ago. There are people alive today who were alive then. The Spanish Flu killed between 50 million and 100 million worldwide.

    Anyone who was sick in Moab was under strict quarantine. Social distancing was not recommended. It was enforced. Deputies stationed on the road through Moab forced travelers who lived somewhere else to turn around.

    There were no demonstrations about freedom. No armed men geared up for combat terrorized lawmakers. Nobody wrote, “Your health is not more important than my liberty,” or “Muzzles are for dogs and slaves. I’m a free human being,” on protest signs.

    By the way, that dictatorial government that wants to enslave you and make you wear a mask is losing millions and millions of tax dollars – and that’s just in Grand County.

    The virus as of this writing has claimed 99,500 lives in America. That isn’t a number anyone can appreciate. I suppose only those who knew and loved one of those 99,500 people understands.

    The virus also has killed the U.S. economy – or at least knocked it out with a vicious right cross. Being the kind of guy who chooses to wear a mask, I have a lot of compassion and concern for the hundreds of Grand County residents who have lost their jobs and I have the same response for the owners of those businesses, whether they are strictly local or part of a global corporation. I feel for the tens of millions who have lost their jobs in our country and the world.

    Two thoughts come to mind, however. One: Let’s all admit to ourselves, even silently, that the so-called strongest ever U.S. economy should have been able to weather the COVID-19 storm. Had we acted sooner, maybe we could have stopped the virus before it gained 10,000 footholds in the Lower 48.

    We have the most cases in the world, by far; 1.7 million, and we represent less than 5 percent of the global population.

    The number is about 370,000 in Brazil, which also had a haphazard and slow response; good enough for second place. Losers.

    Here’s my number one reason for wearing a mask: Reopening Moab and everywhere else was a political decision, not one based on science. This isn’t over. This isn’t close to being over. Forget the second wave that was supposed to come with reopening America. We’re about halfway through the first wave if the experts are to be believed, and the second one will be deadlier than the first.

    To quote Bette Davis in “All About Eve:” “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

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