Day 91: The freedom fetish

Anything taken to the extreme carries the risk of danger, including freedom. Most sensible people recognize the need for guardrails to balance freedom with fairness. That's why, for example, we have laws requiring people to wear seat belts. As a society, we've determined it's not fair for the general public and insurance customers to pay the hospital bills of someone who decides he doesn't want to buckle up.

In the case of the Trump Pandemic, the freedom fetishists are up in arms about mask-wearing. The folks at ReOpen NC are calling on people to burn masks to show the mean old governor that he's not the boss of them. Even if it means they're spreading the plague.

Dan Forest, the man who wants to be governor of North Carolina, is closely aligned with the ReOpen cult. If he were in charge, he'd say, "People want to be free. If a few thousand have to die because we don't wear masks, so be it. We must be free to make our own decisions."

The way I see it, North Carolina could be moving much more quickly toward reopening if people like Dan Forest hadn't been bitching and whining about early restrictions. Entire countries have cracked this nut by taking swift and decisive action. But not us. We're prolonging the first wave, with no end in sight.

So to cult members everywhere, I ask that you please shut up and wear your damn masks when you're out in public. It's not going to kill you, but it could very well kill someone else.

And to Dan Forest, what the hell is wrong with you? I haven't seen one picture of you wearing a mask. Not one.

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These people are nuts

There was a young woman partying on Glenwood avenue the other night, not wearing a mask (of course), who claimed her grandfather died from Coronavirus. And yet she still had the nerve to say, "Well, if I get it I get it," or something equally idiotic.

Narcissism is rampant.

Freedom comes with responsibility

What the "freedom" fetishists always fail to talk about is that every freedom comes with responsibilities.

You can't have freedom of the press without laws that protect individuals from libel or slander or restrictions on speech that can result in direct and immediate public harm, like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater.

Your freedom, whether it's the ability to own or operate a gun, conduct business, or travel freely stops at the point where it harms others.

Refusing to wear a mask during a pandemic and acting like a common Typhoid Mary or CoronaKaren puts others around you in immediate danger.

Of course, BubbaForestGump and the other right-wing extremists simply dismiss the pandemic as "harmless" or some kind of hoax.

Unfortunately, they will learn the hard way, the same way "freedom" loving mask burners during the 1918 flu pandemic.

Some numbers to consider:

-Deaths in the US, 1918 Flu Pandemic: At least 675,000, probably higher.
-Deaths in the US, WWII: 416,800 (military only)
-WWI US deaths: 116,500
-US Civil War deaths (US and Confederate): 755,000
-Deaths of US forces in Vietnam War: 58,200
-Deaths in the US from COVID-19 (so far): 119,000

Do we have to reach death levels approaching the 1918 pandemic or the Civil War for these "freedom fighters" to act responsibly?