Happy Independence Day

A few years ago on this very same night, I was trying to go to sleep and my next-door neighbor across the holler had other ideas – so he shot my roof with fireworks! I listened as at least four mortar shells launched, soared into the sky, exploded, and then their spent shells impacted and rolled down my roof! I do not believe it was intentional but then again one never knows. I had to climb up on the roof in the middle of the night while fireworks exploded all around me – just to be sure the spent noisemakers did not light my house on fire!!

Grrrrr…there he goes again…I may have to have a talk with him…or better yet have the sheriff pay him a visit.

Luckily, my house did not burn down. However, my warmongering pyromaniac neighbor ran out of fireworks and started shooting his guns into the air around 11:30 pm all while cranking ’60-’80s music over his overbuilt car stereo so loud I could hear it inside my house over 1200 feet away – even with a thickly forested buffer between us.

While I totally support celebrating Independence Day – damn, I really hate fireworks. There was a time when I liked them but that was long ago. Now that I’m older and wiser and I have cultivated a reverence for all life, I see fireworks as only a celebration of littering, war, and bloodshed and a garish waste of money and resources that needlessly scare wildlife, pets, people, create unnecessary pollution and cause fires and loads of other issues when used incorrectly.

It is no wonder they are illegal in many places. Grrrrr!!!

I was just about to call the sheriff when he powered it all down and all went quiet.

I can only imagine the scene – his house and yard littered with spent fireworks, shotgun shells, and beer cans, a bare-chested, drunk, passed out male bipedal primate – or possibly female …or both…or an assortment of drooling, inebriated, bipedal primates…I have no idea since I have never seen the house where the fireworks originate or the primates that live within it – reclining in a lawn chair with a smoking shotgun in one flaccid pale white hand, a bud “dumber” can in the other spilling warm beer into a puddle being lapped up by a filthy mongrel of a dog while another stinking drunk canine sleeps upside down – tongue and gonads hanging out – on a moldering couch covered in beer cans, cigarette butts, and empty firework and shotgun shell boxes, in the middle of the driveway while a dollar store likeness of a “murican” flag hangs limp in the clearing smoke.

A sad scene to be sure and a scene that is becoming all too common in some parts of this country. In my opinion, this blatant disregard for public safety, wildlife, and nature has little to do with patriotism and more to do with childish machismo, dangerous patriotism, and inane stupidity. Our brave forefathers would be sad and disgusted at the level at which many of us have fallen.

At least the bozo has good taste in music.

Here are a few ideas for a meaningful, lasting celebration of our independence that can improve our communities, our country, and our connections with each other and with nature:

1. Plant some trees that will provide oxygen, shade, and sequester carbon. You could make it an annual tradition and call them “Freedom Trees” and over time you would have a “Freedom Forest.” If you and your kids planted fruit trees you could produce some of your own “Freedom Fruit” and before long you would have a “Freedom Orchard” – you get the idea 🙂

2 – Plant a vegetable garden to produce some of your own food. You could call it the “Freedom Garden” or as they did in WW2 a “Victory Garden” – whatever you called it, it would be a great way to grow some of your own food and teach your kids where their food comes from and how to be more self-sufficient and therefore, truly free.

3. You could add some solar panels to your roof/property to lessen your reliance on coal and foreign oil and in doing so you would become more energy secure and self-sufficient by farming the sun and producing your own “Freedom Electrons” to power your personal energy needs.

4. You could trade in that old gas guzzler for a new or used electric car. If you only used it to go to work/town and back as a daily driver for even just a few times per week – it will save you loads of money on fuel, oil, and maintenance – especially with fuel prices as high as they are now – oh and you can charge it up with those solar panels I mentioned earlier and have zero fuel costs.

True self-reliance comes when you are not tied to the grocery stores and fuel pumps – which are tied to corporate farms and oil fields of the Gulf of Mexico and the Middle East by several hundred to thousands of miles long supply chains. Operating and protecting these supply chains – especially the petroleum “umbilical cord” without which all gas/diesel vehicles would be useless – costs billions of our hard-earned tax dollars, the lives of our loved ones in the military who work hard and give their lives to protect it, and what about all the toxic, health, earth, life, atmosphere, and future-destroying pollution that comes with every step of the process?

For a moment just forget all your pre-conceived and/or religiopolitical notions about this idea and just imagine never paying for gas and oil ever again. What would you do with all that money? Imagine quietly making your own clean fuel and energy at home and being able to unplug from the subscription to dependency at the gas pump and the local monopolistic power plant and not needing to feed off of the teat of the twisted, toxic, destructive fossil fuel-based energy system we have created over the last 200 years.

There is a better way and it leads to true energy independence – I know how it feels because I have done it. I have been driving a fully electric car for almost 9 years and I charge it with “homegrown” sunshine so my EV electron fuel costs are around 1 cent per mile! I never stop at gas stations, never worry about tune-ups, exhaust pipes, mufflers, emissions inspections, etc…driving electric is an amazing feeling of freedom and it is a great feeling in every way. If I can do it, so can you.

5. Here is another good idea – what about eating less meat even if only for one day a week.

Aside from the obvious health benefits, eating less meat means less land and resources will be used up for industrial animal farming – “Factory Farms” – and all the problems they create. If you just cannot fathom that move then maybe you can choose to raise and/or ethically hunt and fish for your own meat instead of supporting dirty, unhealthy, industrial animal farms – like gardening, it teaches the next generation where their food comes from, it teaches respect for other life forms, and it teaches self-reliance – aka freedom…and besides, getting outside in nature, be it for hunting, fishing, farming, gardening, planting trees, installing solar, driving your solar-charged EV, or taking a hike in the forest with your kids, family or dog or alone – is just so good for you and your loved ones and it is a great way to celebrate our country’s and maybe your own independence day 🙂

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Be More Like Jesus

I encountered this on social media and it made me think: we should all be more like the real Jesus.

Ever since I first learned about the real Jesus (not the twisted popular “white-washed,” construct many blindly follow today) I have always tried to carry a few of his teachings somewhere deep inside my heart. I always try my best to be kind, loving, merciful, and respectful to all living things – because my momma, Sir David Attenborough, and Jesus taught me so.

Since I am a naturalist and science communicator and I regularly teach folks about our deep, genetic connections to nature and all living things (evolution by natural selection), and cleaner energy and transportation choices (renewable energy and EV’s) – it seems that I very often find myself telling true, evidence-supported, peer-reviewed stories that make people think a lot about a lot of things – and for some bizarre reason these stories often upset/anger people – especially some closed-minded, holier than thou religious people…and those of certain political affiliations. (see, I’ll bet that comment upset some of you – so be it 🙂 )

Most of my friends are like me so they are: unpopular nerds, “weirdos,” geeks, scientists, technophiles, nature and animal lovers, and long-haired, pierced, tattooed, tree-hugging, hippie-type, dirt worshipers, “witches,” atheists, agnostics, and those with different colored skin than I have – as well as those who think and learn differently, and those who identify the way their brain says to – not the way society expects them to.

Oh, and guess what: some of these wonderful “sinners” may or may not partake of certain plant/fungi-based diets/herbs that – for whatever the bizarre reasons – some have chosen not to agree with.
(I’ll bet that comment upset some of you – so be it 🙂)

These wonderful, unique, open-minded, free-thinking, free-spirited, people – myself included – are the types that in days of old would have been arrested and hurriedly burned at the stake, fed to large, drooling, carnivores, or stoned to death by the toxic religiopolitical establishment. In fact, I would much rather hang out with what some of the religious/politically close-minded people of yesterday and today might call “sinners” because these people are:

1. Not usually “sinners” at all, they are just people who are tired of the way things are and they are going against the status quo because they only want freedom from those things and ways that are wrong with the world such as hate, war, prejudice, injustice, the pollution and destruction of nature and wildlife for short-term and/personal profit, and obviously all the greedy religious leaders and politicians.

2. These are some of the nicest, most loving, caring, and compassionate people you will ever meet.

(I’ll bet that comment upset some of you – so be it 🙂)

In fact, it seems I do all these things – the sleeping on boats part as well since I once fell asleep on a top bunk in the crew quarters of the USS North Carolina battleship memorial (pictured below).

How you may ask – it is a long story that involves: hanging out with college friends at the beach, missing another boat, a knife fight in a parking garage (that I was not involved in but quickly extracted myself from), sleeping in my car in a vacant lot, a massive coastal thunderstorm, an inquisitive security guard (Barney), a dead eel, some rather heavily amorous teenagers in a dark “alley,” and a battleship with 60-year-old bunks that looked very comfortable to someone who had a very long night but just really needed to get some sleep.

BTW: I am not and would not compare myself to Jesus – but I really do like the old bumper sticker that reads: I like your Christ but not your Christians. Be more like the real Jesus.

Do only good things.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

(I’ll bet all of that upset some of you – so be it and say what you will – my job here is done 🙂

Freedom

A true story.

Several years ago, while visiting Savannah Georgia, USA, I found myself down on the historic waterfront exploring the myriad of boats moored at the docks.  As I browsed the many makes, models, shapes and sizes of watercraft I noticed something unique at the far end of the pier.  It was the largest boat there – an older, wooden, two-masted, schooner-rigged sailing vessel that looked as if it had been outfitted to travel the seas forever.  I quickly forgot about all the other lesser little boats and soon found myself taking in the sea-seasoned beauty of the rustic old wooden ship. 

As I took in all the intricacies of the weathered old craft – that to me looked as if it had been around the world and back again many times over – a man carrying an oddly shaped bundle in a canvas sack walked up and climbed aboard the craft.  He was lean and muscular, possibly in his mid-60’s, had a skin tone of deep-brown sun-weathered leather, a medium length grizzled white beard, and a full head of white-blonde hair – he briefly looked in my direction and I noticed he had piercing jade-green eyes.  He was wearing a faded, threadbare t-shirt with what looked like the Japanese kanji for “Mt. Fuji” printed on it – but it was so faded that it was hard to make it out – faded old khaki shorts, and pink flip flops.  He eyed me again briefly then turned and knocked (what to me sounded like a secret knock) on the door to below decks – it opened to reveal an exotically beautiful younger woman wrapped in a tropical print sarong with bronze skin and a waist-length braid of thick, jet-black hair.  She came topside briefly, picked up the bundle he had been carrying, and disappeared back below.  The old sailor picked up an even older toolbox, stepped back down onto the dock, and began to make a minor repair on one of the boat’s portholes – and I took the liberty to strike up a conversation.   

After chatting for a while I discovered that he and his partner, whom he never named – nor did he say his name and I did not ask – lived aboard the boat with their scruffy old mixed-breed dog he called “Bandar” (Bandar = monkey in Hindi).

He did not say where they were from and I did not ask but from his accent I would say he had been either Australian, Kiwi, or British.  He said they did not have a land-based home and for over two decades they had traveled the planet’s oceans – their boat their only home.

The elements provided their energy – as evidenced by the wind turbine spinning almost silently on the mast and several solar modules (panels) of different ages and designs covering the roof above the wheelhouse and part of the deck area.  He said they relied on the rains and island freshwater springs to provide most of their drinking water and they had built a simple but effective collection system of shade awnings constructed from what looked like old canvas and plastic tarps strung up over parts of the deck amidships.  These tarps funneled water into a series of bamboo and plastic gutters, tubes, and pipes that lead to water storage tanks below deck.  When water started to get low and they were far from land they also had a homebuilt solar distillation system that would provide them with just enough fresh water to survive until they were able to locate more.

When I asked if the boat had a secondary power source the old sailor said “I rely on the wind mostly but when the wind dies I just drop anchor until the winds return, or if in the deep – I just drift with the current and work on projects that need my attention until the wind returns.  If close to port or if conditions are so bad that I need to drop sails to save them – or if the need be great enough to move faster than nature wants me to move – I will use the motor.  It’s not petrol – the boat’s electric.  The ancient old petrol engine threw a rod about a decade ago when I was about a week out of Darwin.  I made it safe in to port and then, after finding out how much it was going to cost to replace the old petrol monster – I just tore it all out and sank it in the shallows where it is now a home for the fishes.”  He went on to say that he replaced the old engine with a salvaged electric motor from a fork truck.  He mated the motor with the transmission of an old lorry (truck), bolted it to the boat’s propeller shaft, dropped in several fork truck batteries in place of the old fuel tank and some ballast, and connected it all to the solar panels and wind turbine.  He said “it works perfectly, is far less of a hassle than the old petrol engine ever was, doesn’t stink or leak, is silent, simple, easy to maintain, and also provides electricity for all of the boats navigation/radio/lighting/galley systems – and the best thing is that unlike petrol – it does not promote or support war and environmental pollution and destruction and therefore it is free from the subscription to dependency that is attached to all things powered by godawful petrol.”  (I did not get around to asking him how often he had to replace his batteries or how he afforded to do it since batteries are very expensive but I’ll bet he had that one figured out as well.)   

He said that Dolphins, whales, turtles, and the occasional other sailor were their neighbors. Fish, clams, crabs, shrimp, oysters, conchs, birds and bird eggs, coconuts, taro, yucca, agave, mango, oranges, limes and other citrus fruits, papaya, bananas, breadfruit, and other island fruits provided most of their food.

He said he occasionally made use of ports all around the planet to acquire certain things that he could not easily find at sea such as some “land fruits,” veggies, and parts for his boat.  He stated that he did not usually need or like to stop in port – while stopping did sometimes make life easier and more convenient, it was also dangerous…he did not say why and I did not ask.

While in port he would service other people’s boats in return for the cash needed to buy the supplies/parts he needed to stock up for a while – then he would set sail and move on. 

Then he said “Money is one of the most evil and destructive things ever invented and it pains me deeply that I am occasionally forced to make use of it to get what I need – I would rather fish, forage, scrounge, or barter to survive – but sometimes that is just not what works out.”

I asked him what the other evil things were and he thought a moment and said “greed, selfishness, the childish need for power and control of others, division, slavery, war, people breeding without thought for the future or for the new life they are bringing into existence, the infantile, fearful, self-centered idea of white supremacy, twisted religions that denounce the earth and claim to be the way to salvation for those that follow them – at the cost of everyone and everything else that does not.  And above all else the disrespect and disregard for other living beings and for the living earth that freely gives us all our very lives.”

I sat in silence while he worked, thinking about his words.  While I first found his views on society somewhat shocking, I also found them very refreshingly obvious but often not observed by those who are so caught up in them on a daily basis.  His insight had the wisdom of the truly awake and thinking outsider looking in from beyond the wall of society at the bizarre and troublesome puzzle we have created for ourselves, the full puzzle we cannot usually see because we are stuck on the inside of this matrix of society – forever bound up as slaves to this dangerous and divisive illusion of freedom that we are fed from birth.   

He worked for a while in silence then put away his tools, reached aboard his boat and grabbed the same canvas sack his partner had taken below earlier – only now its contents had been reduced by about ½ – and started walking down the dock, I followed at a respectful distance, interested in where he was headed.  He went to the dock master’s office and proceeded to pay him for his time moored at the dock.  From my perspective it looked like he paid him in tropical fruit, a silk garment of some kind, and what appeared to be a small flask of a clear fermented beverage – all this made me smile – they obviously knew each other and had a friendly barter agreement.  I would bet that somewhere below decks of his boat the man had a very detailed log/map listing all of the ports and individuals who would accept nontraditional payment for docking fees as well as all the tiny uninhabited tropical islands with safe anchorages, fruit, good fishing, and fresh water.

He shook hands with the dock master, said a few parting words, turned, and started walking the dock back toward his boat.  I asked him how he had made it all work for so long and he said “Because I was done. Done with the garbage. Done with the hatred. Done with the killing. Done with the greed. Done with the lies. Done with the illusion.  I had no other choice.”

I did not ask him what he meant by that last part.

He then continued “The sea and small islands provide me with almost all I need to survive and what the sea does not provide I will often find washed up on beaches and in the horrible floating garbage patches of your modern civilization – I make use of the cast-off flotsam and jetsam from your society to help me continue. People like Frank (the dock master I think) also help me when the need arises – but that is not often.”  He said he was saddened deeply that so many people chose to pollute the planet without a care at all for nature or for future generations but he was also grateful that some of the cast off refuse was still so very useful – and free. He made use of many of these items turning them into everything – from the earlier mentioned rainwater collection system, to fishing tools, kitchen utensils, and even the solar still for making fresh water and seasoning salt from salt water.

As we walked back to his boat this most intriguing man then said one of the most interesting things that has stuck with me ever since.  When I asked him where he was from he said; “I do not have a state or nation that I call home. I have cast off all connections to my previous citizenship – from when I was a slave to the system.”  He never did say the country he was originally from – and I could see that it was a sore spot so I did not go there.  “My boat and the oceans are my home.  I am not connected or beholden to any nation, governing, or supportive system other than the governing systems of nature and the vast ocean of the cosmos.”  He then said “My heart hurts for the people caught up in the petty bickering between friends, between families, between nations, over childish soul and society destroying politics, evil money, cultish culture-dividing and soul-destroying religions, I weep for those lost in the horribly wasteful wars, insane terrorist acts, and loss of life all in the name of blind patriotism and body and soul-killing toxically divisive religions, the endless quest for oil, gold, and other material things, the tribal division, the skin deep hate, the denial of observable facts, the carelessness and callousness and frightening blind devotion to flag, nationality, and so many archaic faith-based systems.”  He then quoted Albert Einstein saying “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind!” 

Interestingly, in all his commentary about the state of things – his words were never bitter, mean or hateful – only a peaceful commentary on the sad status of the world that by choice he had distanced himself from as much as possible…and in some ways that he seemed to be running away from.  I got the feeling that if he had the means he would leave this planet entirely and wander the cosmos – a nomadic drifter, searching for nothing and learning everything.  I silently wondered what it was that had driven him to leave his home country and culture.  The answer I am sure could be found somewhere in his commentary but out of respect for his journey, his privacy, and his freedom to truly be himself – I did not ask.

He then became really quiet and walked to his boat, when he reached the gangplank he stopped, turned to me and said “The only way to be truly free is to completely and forever let go of the illusions of freedom that your parents, your government, your society, your education, your religion – whatever illusions have been programmed into your mind by your culture and society that holds you like a slave in its grasp – and become your own person.  That is what I did after…”

He abruptly stopped speaking, looked out to sea for a long moment and said – “Cast off the imaginary anchors and chains of the illusion of freedom and only then will you be really and truly free and only then will your eyes be opened to the true nature of things.”

With that he turned away from me, walked up to the ramp onto his ancient schooner and made ready to depart. Silently I watched as he was joined by the scruffy Bandar and his beautiful partner and together they pulled in the gangplank and moorings, used a long pole to push the boat outward from the end of the dock into the current of the outgoing tide, deployed a single sail – the soft mid-morning breeze slowly filling it out pushing old boat, its human and canine passengers and their entire free-floating world silently through the waters of the inter-coastal waterway and out into the Atlantic Ocean where they deployed the rest of their sails – and then within a few moments – they were gone.

No illusions, no limitations, no flag, faith, or nation – only mysterious residents of planet earth who were truly one with nature and well and truly free.

Free your mind and find true freedom.

Happy Independence Day


It is July 4th.

As I write this post it sounds like my neighbors across the cove to the south and down the mountain to the north are are launching an all-out war on everything and I am caught in the crossfire – and fireworks are supposedly illegal in my state…

About 5 years ago those same neighbors launched fireworks that dropped on my rooftop. I had to climb up on the roof around midnight to be se sure the rocket remains were not smoldering – and it was in the middle of a drought!

I’m all about celebrating Independence Day but I have never understood how blowing things up is anything more than intentional littering/air/noise pollution, a waste of resources, creates a huge fire hazard, and puts unreasonable unneeded stresses on wildlife, pets, and people/veterans with PTSD/sensitivities to sound.

Here are a few ideas for a meaningful, lasting, celebration of independence that can improve our neighborhood relations, our communities, our country, and our connections with each other and with nature:

Plant some trees that will provide oxygen, shade, and sequester carbon. You could make it an annual tradition and call them “Freedom Trees” and over time you would have a “Freedom Forest.” If you and your kids planted fruit trees you could produce some of your own “Freedom Fruit” and before long you would have a “Freedom Orchard” – you get the idea 🙂

Plant a vegetable garden to produce some of your own food. You could call it the “Freedom Garden” or as they did in WW2 a “Victory Garden” – whatever you called it, it would be a great way to grow some of your own food and teach your kids where their food comes from and how to be more self-sufficient and therefore, truly free.

You could add some solar panels to your roof/property to lessen your reliance on dirty energy (fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas) and in doing so you would become more energy secure and self-sufficient by farming the sun and producing your own “Freedom Electrons” to power your personal energy needs.

You could trade in that old gas guzzler for a new or used electric vehicle (EV). Even if you only used it to go to work/town and back as a daily driver for even just a few times per week – it will save you loads of money on fuel, oil, maintenance – oh and you can charge it up with those solar panels I mentioned earlier and have zero fuel costs.


True freedom and self-reliance come when you are not tied to the grocery stores and fuel pumps – which are tied to corporate farms and oil fields of the Gulf of Mexico and the Middle East by several hundred to thousands of miles long supply chains and dirty politics. Operating and protecting these supply chains – especially the petroleum “umbilical cord” without which all gas/diesel vehicles would be useless – costs billions of our hard-earned tax dollars, the lives of our loved ones in the military who work hard and give their lives to protect it, and what about the toxic, health, earth, life and future-destroying pollution that comes with every single step of the process?


For a moment why not just try and forget all your preconceived notions about this idea and imagine never paying for gas/oil/tune-ups and all those random bits that legacy automobiles often need repair or replacement – ever again.

Wow. What a grand concept. What would you do with all that money?


Imagine quietly making your own clean fuel/energy at home and being able to unplug from the subscription to dependency at the gas pump and the local monopolistic power plant and not needing to feed off of the oily teat of the twisted, toxic, corrupt, destructive energy system we have created over the last ~200 years…all while accepting/believing without question that it is the only option…


There is a better way to source our energy and get from point A to point B and it leads to true energy independence – I know how good it feels because I have done it.

My 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV – the “Mighty Bolt”

I have been driving a fully electric car for almost 8 years – my first EV was a 2012 Nissan LEAF – and I charge it with “homegrown” solar-produced electricity so my fuel costs are only around 1 cent per mile! I never stop at gas stations, never worry about tune-ups, exhaust pipes, mufflers, catalytic converters, belts, hoses, fluids, filters, transmissions, etc…driving electric is free from all these things and it is an amazing feeling of freedom and it is a great feeling in every way. If I can do it, so can you.

Here are a few fun freedom facts:

Yesterday my wife and I took a close to 300-mile road trip. We needed to stop for fuel and were happy to discover that the Electrify America fueling stations we chose to use – were all offering free fuel to all patrons in honor of Independence Day!

Charging costs for the entire journey – $0.00!

During our sojourn, we met many other holiday travelers who were stopping for fuel as well.

They were voyaging in many different makes of vehicle but they all shared two things in common: they were all powered by electricity and none of their owners had to pay for fuel for this entire holiday weekend!


We also passed by a Tesla Supercharger station where several Teslas were charging up. I heard through the EV grapevine that some Tesla Supercharger stations were also offering free charging in honor of Independence Day.

So cool.


Thank you Electrify America, Tesla, and the USA for making all this possible.
This is energy freedom and energy security.

On the road in the Bolt EV

High above the solar array my students, volunteers, supporters and I built at my science and nature center classroom.

July 4th is my classroom’s “Energy Independence Day” – it is the anniversary of that wonderful day in 2019 when we energized our classroom solar array and achieved Energy Independence from fossil fuel-produced electricity!

Here is another good idea – what about eating less meat even if only for one day a week.
Aside from the obvious health benefits, eating less meat means less land/water/energy resources will be used up for industrial animal farming – “Factory Farms” – and all the problems they create. If you just cannot fathom that move then maybe you can just raise or ethically hunt and fish for your own meat instead of supporting dirty, unhealthy, industrial animal farms. Like gardening, it teaches the next generation where their energy and food comes from, respect for other life forms, and self-reliance – aka freedom.

Besides all of the obvious benefits I have suggested above – getting outside in nature, be it for farming, gardening, hunting, fishing, planting trees, installing solar, driving your solar-charged EV, or taking a hike in the forest with your kids, family, or dog – is just so good for you and your loved ones and it is a great way to celebrate our country’s and maybe your own independence day 🙂

Learn more about my 501c3 at: http://www.earthshinenature.com

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.