Unmasked Bandits

I am frustrated at the apparent willful ignorance of so many people – people I thought were smart – acting like it is all a hoax, ignoring the science, promoting and sharing lame-ass conspiracy theories that have the potential to harm – or end – those who choose to believe, follow, and promote them.

In recent weeks the infection numbers have been rapidly growing and are higher than ever before. Yet – in many areas the restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, bleachers, beaches, party venues, churches, and streets are packed with people – many maskless and in very close proximity.

In the USA the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are fast approaching as is winter. I have a great concern that many will ignore the recommendations of the experts and will chose to gather inside with family and friends to celebrate these traditional holidays. I fear that if this happens the infection rate will climb even higher and many more innocent people will suffer and die all because people chose to put their own wants over the needs of everyone around them. They will chose to willfully and deliberately ignore the recommendations of science as if they actually believe they will somehow be magically protected by their deity of choice.

Life does not work that way no matter how much you want it to.

Nature does not care about you.

You must care about yourself and those around you.

In grocery and hardware stores I have seen everyone from toxicically masculine macho men to young parents with their kids – all unmasked – closely mingling with others and acting as if nothing is wrong.

I have spoken to mask-wearing front-line workers in these stores and asked them how they deal with these maskless bandits stealing the health and lives of others. They say at first they were told by their superiors to enforce the mask mandate – but then, after extreme push backs and verbal attacks from these maskless partons – they were told to just let them in the door and stop enforcing the rule. Why? Are the store owners afraid of losing profits? Are they afraid of confrontation or litigation? Whatever the reason it just boggles the mind that a store owner would choose possible contagion over doing what is right – tossing the whining, tantrum-throwing, maskless bandits out on the street and telling them to not come back in their store until they are following the rules set by the store owner, the authorities, and by science.

When I visit any store/shop I always wear a mask. In fact, as I have an elderly mother and other family members who are more at risk, and as I am a school teacher – I must limit my chance of bringing an unwanted hitchhiking virus back to my students/coworkers and loved ones. So, when I enter places where I have noted low mask use – such as WalMart and Hardware stores – I opt to wear a 3M N100 full face mask custom fitted with an exhale filter. Yes, I get many odd looks from the maskless bandits but I do not care.

They look at me as if I’m some kind of fearful nutjob.

The reality is that I am not living in fear – I am living with facts.

I look back wondering what is the matter with them – are they really so blind to facts, do they really have no care in their hearts for themselves or their fellow human beings, could they be some of the blind followers of any number of the anti-science, bible waving, greedy ego-maniacs in politics, religion, and on the internet who think it is all a hoax and/or a way for the government to impart control on the population and/or are just using the pandemic as a way to profit off the fear and uncertainty of their followers? Are they all getting some kind of mental fix from this game of Russian roulette they are playing with their lives and with the lives of countless others?

I do not know the answers. What I do know is that I have given up trying to educate those people because no amount of knowledge I share will make them change their minds and listen to reason. It is almost as if they are part of a dangerous anti-science, masochistic, pseudo-religious, cult of toxic self-centeredness.

Sadly sometimes, we thinking types just have to toss up our hands and walk away.

We must continue to protect ourselves by staying as far away as possible from the maskeless bandits.

We must not give up or give in and we must continue to follow the knowledge and recommendations of the science from the experts.

We must do all these things as well as just curl up in the safety of our caves and just sit back and let natural selection run its course.

We are our own limiting factor.

Do not choose to be a maskless bandit.

Wear your mask.

Improvise, adapt, overcome, evolve, survive.

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