Mask mandate reveals anti-mask protests

Toby Shedd, Class of 2022

To all those without masks, both in our school and outside: why? I ask you as your classmate, your peer, your neighbor, why not wear a mask? The benefits outweigh any annoyance, and although, like me, you might not like it,  when you wear a mask you’re saving lives. 

I understand that in cases of extreme asthma and other respiratory issues, it may be difficult to breathe with a mask on, but that only excuses the smallest percentage of our population. My issue comes with both the people you know, and those you don’t, who go into stores without a mask because they’ll only be inside for a second, and with people who don’t wear a mask because they don’t think they do enough to prevent COVID-19, and the most extreme of all, anti maskers. 

It astounds me to see people like your best friend and their family, or the cute elderly couple next door, simply forgetting their decency and compassion to go out and protest against a mandated device specifically made to protect loved ones and save lives. 

How can we as a society have produced people so seemingly devoid of love, or at the least, compassion for their fellow man, to go against the one object that could protect us against this deadly virus? Do they not consider the repercussions of their actions or consider what they may have learned is incorrect? Have we failed to educate ourselves on the benefits of masks? 

Misinformation runs rampant right now, with social media being the catalyst for much of it. It is this misinformation that has created the toxicity we face today, whether it comes in the form of anti-vaxxers, mask protests or the violence those who are trying to protect themselves are met with. 

A perfect example of said violence is in the protests that have been occurring both in the community and on our school grounds. As I observed these protests, I noticed constant heckling of people wearing masks, white power signs and unsurprisingly, a lack of masks entirely. We need to be better. There is no excuse for this childish, immature behavior. 

Educate yourselves, and at the very least, accept that what you may have read is incorrect. That’s how we as a people grow, both technologically and socially. Please, just mask up, for your grandma with pneumonia, for your girlfriend with asthma, and for yourself. Just do it.