Wearing a mask does not violate your rights

A remarkably interesting encounter occurred when I was at a grocery store this past weekend.

A man was coughing and going around the store without a mask. Many of the customers told him to put on a mask or leave, and a few of those complaints reached the store manager.

Finally, the man put his hand in his pocket, took out his mask and put it on. The mask had the words, “Mask Worn by Force, Not Fear,” written on it.

That is when the fun began.

I politely asked the man to keep his mask on for the protection of other customers, even if he didn’t care about his own health or safety, as he roamed around the store.

In response, he told me he didn’t want to wear a mask, and said he was being forced to do so.

I said, “You are not forced to go to any store, including this one. You are hereby your own volition and choice.”

He said, “I should not have to wear a mask; it violates my rights.”

At that point, I attempted to explain that if, for instance, 30 people were in the store, then there would be a certain amount of… “free-floating particles” in the air.

This cloud of particles could well have a virus load of all sorts of diseases, albeit most minor.

If all those 30 people wear masks, then those “particles” spread a lot less, and hence, your chances of catching something are a lot less.

It’s disrespectful to the community at large not to wear one. You might be carrying COVID asymptomatically.

The thought did occur to me to wonder if it’s such a bad thing if U.S. President Donald Trump is seemingly killing off his supporters by telling them not to wear masks now after being infected himself; he’s wearing one himself after that many deaths of Americans and positive COVID-19 cases. I asked the man in the store, “Do you wear a seatbelt? Have car insurance? All these things theoretically violate your rights. All legal requirements. Masks protect everyone equally.”

If you fasten your seat belt, stop at a red light, and go to the washroom in private, there is no point not wearing a mask. Cough away from people’s faces, avoid pick your nose at the table, whatever – if you’re in private, sure. But it is hard for individual members of the population to get their heads around new behaviours in the name of common decency.

He called me a “Paki,” and in response, I said, “Would you feel more comfortable wearing that mask if I told you I was HIV positive or that I have coronavirus or if I had the Ebola virus? You probably would gladly wear that mask if those facts were in play.” He stormed off before I could take my anger and explain to him more and box his ears, teaching him his violation of rights.

Mask laws do not even touch the definition of civil rights. There is one hell of a difference between Freedom and Licentiousness.

Freedom allows me to do as I please, with one exception. When my Freedom imposes on the other fellow’s constitutional rights, then my Freedom has descended into Licentiousness.

Licentiousness is someone doing as they damned well please, no matter how many people may become harmed, injured, or killed.

The other citizens have just as much right to live, as do I.

And no action of mine can endanger the health or the life of my fellow residents.

Wearing a mask is a health precaution, designed to slow the transmission of this lethal virus.

Wearing a mask is a health precaution, designed to help keep people healthy.

Wearing a mask is a health precaution, designed to save lives.

Wearing a mask is not a civil rights violation. Wearing a mask is not an infringement of personal liberties.

If I were to refuse to wear a mask, I would be endangering the health and the lives of every citizen with whom I came into contact.

Let me put it, very simply.

I will wear a mask because you have every right to live.

I will wear a mask because I have no right to kill you.

Refusal to put a mask is not a civil rights protest.

Refusal to wear a mask is as close to murdering as one can get without being charged.

COVID-19 is affecting 214 countries and territories around the world. According to the Worldometer’s COVID-19 data, there were 35,784,798 infected cases and 1,049,751 deaths as of Oct. 6.

And these numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths are increasing every minute, every hour.

So, I beg people to wear a mask. Human lives are at stake.

As businesses reopened at Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan, the number of “COVID oblivious” individuals started increasing as social gatherings began again.

We are heading towards a second spike here, and those egotistical idiots who think that they are preserving civil rights by refusing to wear masks are just enhancing the outbreak and killing people off.

Surjit Singh Flora

About the author

Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora

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