Individual Freedoms vs. Society’s safety (Pandemic)
In today’s show I’d like to speak to those of us who feel that the “mandatory mask” executive orders being implemented throughout the individual states are impeding on your constitutional rights. However, as in everything I like to put out here, I’d like to make sure I do both sides of the discussion. To that end, we’ll investigate the arguments against, and the discussion in support of wearing a mask as it pertains to the communities here in Alaska. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some places where there are some sticking points (and I’ll cover them too).
All right, let’s get started. The first side of the discussion is the against camp. As many of you have written and told me how “unfair” this is. How can the government force us (the citizens) to wear anything, much less something that has some medical question marks. So, let’s look at many of the different arguments that is against the implementation of these executive orders.
Against: Wearing a fairly restrictive mask creates a situation where the wearer inhales more carbon dioxide (CO2) than normal. This inhalation of additional CO2 reduces the amount of Oxygen (O2) in the lungs, thereby restricting the healing properties of oxygen. OK, good point, and to some extent, it’s true. If the wearer is using an M95 mask (or even a level 3 mask with filtering), there is an increased inhalation of CO2, however, even if I were to wear a fully functional military grade gas mask, the average person wouldn’t recognize the increase of CO2. Yes, the mask will retain some CO2 upon exhalation, it also draws in substantial O2. The human body will make adjustments for the reduction in O2 by increasing its rate of respiration, as well as the depth of each breath. As a “wannabe” athlete, I had just gotten into the phase of training where I wore a performance mask in an attempt to train my lungs for an increased workout. So, yes it does provide some restriction, it doesn’t restrict the wearer’s breathing enough to lose the healing of oxygen in the bloodstream.
Support compromise: Even if you strictly wear your mask when interacting with people outside of your immediate household, the reduction of potential infection is greatly increased. If social distancing can be observed, don’t wear the mask, with the understanding that you could still contract the virus.
Against: It’s against my personal freedom, as a US citizen I have the right to chose whether I will do something or not. This is also true, however, in the past courts have typically ruled in favor of a local government enforcing this type of activity. The greater good they will rule. If you don’t like playing by a community’s rules, then don’t live in that community. It’s really that simple. I am reminded of the COSTCO employee who denied entry to a customer because they didn’t have a mask on. The customer, furious, told said employee that “this is a free country, and that he could chose to wear one or not”, to which the employee replied “you are absolutely right, this is a free country, and you are free to shop at another store where the mask isn’t required, however, this store requires it”. Again, it really is that simple. While your “freedoms” to chose is important, your choice to infect my family members would then affect my decisions. There are many Americans who have some level of compromised immune system, and while this virus may not affect you, it could kill them. In Alaska (according to the CDC website) for 2018, we can see that 26.5% of Alaskans are classified as having ANY disability. If this is a median number, that would mean that there are 87,411,560+ people in the country with some level of disability. So, with the potential of 87 million Americans possibly compromised, there is a reasonable level of certainty that one will interact with them everyday.
Support of: While it’s not against the constitution, during times of increased public health concerns we wore masks, as an example during the influenza pandemic of 1918. The historian John M. Barry writes in his book, “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History” that Americans were advised and in some cases forced to don facial coverings to go outside. However, based on my limited knowledge, they were encouraged to use multiple levels of gauze as their masks. Because of the weave distances of gauze this gave those masks a substantial failure to prevent the spread.. Even the local newspaper “Atlanta Constitution”provided instructions to their readers for creating masks. So, while it might interfere with your photo ops, it really isn’t any interference with your constitutional freedoms.
Against: This brings us to the discussion about the ineffectiveness of cloth masks, or improperly worn masks. Depending on who you quote, even the CDC reports that all masks are not created equal, however, herein lies the rub. For those of you who have never ridden a motorcycle, particularly a dirt bike. Let me enlighten you as to what even a bandanna strapped across the face can do for you. Yes Virginia you can breathe. While it may be dusty air and still dries out your throat, you can breathe… and last time I checked, that was the important part. Riding a street bike in normal traffic, there are those vehicles out there that need some work, or large buses/trucks that spew diesel clouds. Wearing a full face helmet, which has no protection on the underside, and little filtering from the front, reduces the amount of crap that I breathe while riding my bike daily to and from work. So, bandannas and even shirts pulled up (like Sheldon from Big Bang theory) performs some level of protection against airborne particulates. All things being said, while these arguments do have value, there is little that can be argued indefinitely.
Support of: Most of the people I’ve had conversation with about the use of masks to prevent the spread of a virus quote the 1918 Influenza pandemic. However, I think what many people have overlooked when comparing the two events is pretty useless. The textile industry has kept up with the times a little as well. Cotton shirts have a much smaller weave pattern than did the cotton shirts of the early nineteen-teens. This reduced hole size between the threads, and the idea of constant motion, reduces the potential of a droplet getting all the way through to a very small number. In addition, we found the development of microfibers come into existence, which further reduces the potential. So, speaking of the effectiveness of today’s masks, even the ones made at home, we can be comforted in knowing the potential for protection is much higher.
Conspiracy theorists spin their yarn about a government coverup, or conspiracy to attack the American people and their rights. They have every right to be suspicious, and they should be. Ensuring that the government responds to the need of their people is everyone’s responsibility.
With all the myths and rumors hopefully now quashed, and/or under better scrutiny, let’s talk about what makes this so scary for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the germaphobe, but I also really recognize the impact of how this unfolded. On multiple levels, this could have brought the world to its knees. Talk about torpedoing the modern world of commerce, or crushing the medical industry, here was a great example of why every American needs to understand their little bubble.
So, all the sugar-coating aside, let’s discuss biological warfare. I know, I know, another conspiracy. I don’t want to look at it as this pandemic was a biological war, waged between China and the rest of the world, but what if it was? We’ve (American Intelligence sources) have known for quite some time about the Chinese research of the “Corona” family of viruses. On many levels, there has seemed to be ample intelligence about the detailed research the Chinese have done on bats in the area. This research is what led to the release of the COVID-19 virus in early 2020. Now, the rumor (or conspiracy) about COVID-19 being cooked up in a lab there in China has a hint of truth. The actual COVID-19 virus was given the ability to mutate, and adjust to its host (whatever that was, which in this case was human). OK, so now we have a virus capable of spreading because of its ability to connect to the oxygen molecules expelled by exhalation. This virus then connects to a different host. This transmission then infects the new host, who, in turn infects other hosts, the cycle continues. What concerns me is our response. We (as a global community) shut down. We “hunkered down” and “sheltered in place”, essentially crushing a sizable chunk of the service industry, which led to the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression of the late 20s. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I’m not saying this was a Biological attack. But, what if it was?
Talk about the difference between Americans of WW1 & 2. How freedoms today are just assumed, whereas back then they were earned. Americans willing to perform tin drives, tire drives, to support the war effort. Today, people are unwilling to wear a mask in public to protect other Americans.