Caryn Marshall Wilder: Masks aren’t denying you of your liberty — they’re for our safety |

Caryn Marshall Wilder: Masks aren’t denying you of your liberty — they’re for our safety

Other Voices
Caryn Marshall Wilder

I was disappointed to read the interview with our former mayor, Reinette Senum. I’ve always been a fan and thought highly of her efforts to keep our city clean and her dedication to being accessible to her constituents. Sadly, my respect for her has been eroding over the last few months as she has become more vocal regarding her positions on the containment of the coronavirus and other subjects.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went out to stimulate our local economy by driving through the Car Hop at the Rood Center. We were impressed by the careful way we were greeted and given a disposable menu (which, usually, we would’ve rather seen reusable menus, but that’s the new normal and we support it). We followed the instructions to stay in our car and wait for a carhop to take our order from whichever of the several vendors on site. Our interactions with them were safely conducted, with all of us wearing masks and the carhops wearing gloves or exchanging money with a plastic tray.

As we waited for our food orders, we saw our former mayor stride across the parking lot, not wearing a mask and smiling as usual. She walked up to an ice cream stand, of whom we had already commented to each other that the proprietors were not wearing masks or gloves. As Reinette chatted with them, a group of four adults walked across the parking lot from the direction of the jail and ordered ice cream. None of them were wearing masks either, but everyone chatted together in close proximity. No one said anything to them about their behavior and they continued walking on through the parking lot toward the Rood Center building. I have to ask what is the point of going to all the trouble of ensuring safety for patrons if other folks can willfully disregard the safeguards?

I’ve heard and read many comments from proud, red, white and blue, flag waving Americans that they don’t believe the virus is as menacing as it’s reported by the “liberal” media. They say it’s no different than past flu epidemics. I don’t recall during flu season seeing doctors and nurses crying on camera, documenting in their cars the horrors of what they’ve been through during their 18 hour shifts as they describe the frustration of watching patients who walked through the door two hours previously, be pronounced deceased two hours later with no family members allowed to say good bye. Do you truly believe that hospitals are making it up when they report that they’ve had to buy huge tents to accommodate the influx of new patients?

In another effort to stimulate our local economy, I went to a local department store recently. As I walked down the aisle toward the housewares department, I heard someone suddenly let loose a series of loud, phlegmy sounding coughs that had me looking all around to avoid being near that person. I saw an elderly woman with no mask on take a used tissue from her pocket and wipe her mouth with it. She replaced the tissue in her pocket and proceeded to touch the items on the rack in front of her. I imagined all that spittle being sucked up into the air conditioning and distributed throughout the store. I left immediately.

A few days later I was looking at power tools in a hardware store when a man in the next aisle suddenly let go a huge sneeze which he tried to contain in his elbow, however, it came out so fast he didn’t quite make it all the way. He looked at me and I looked at him with wide eyes. He had a nice suntan and I wondered if he’d just returned from a Memorial Day weekend trip to Arizona. Again, even though I always wear my mask in public, I had to leave.

The virus is spiking in our county at an alarming rate even as people are insisting on reopening everything because it’s their constitutional right to go shopping and not be forced to wear a mask. I wonder if they would reassess their stance if someone they cared about died from the virus. I hear the word “liberty” thrown around a lot by such people and I have to ask: Does your version of liberty override my right as an American to my life, my liberty, and my pursuit of happiness? When you put your hand over your heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, do you think about the words you’re saying? Do you remember the last line? “With liberty and justice for all”?

No one is trying to deny you your liberty. They’re trying to keep you and everyone else safe. Please, stop being so selfish and put on a mask.

Caryn Marshall Wilder lives in Nevada City.

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