You’re not being tyrannized, just dramatic

| Managing Editor

I recently saw a TikTok video of an unnamed woman who was prohibited from entering a store due to her lack of a mask. The woman even went as far as to call 911, claiming that as per the 1964 Civil Right Act, she was being discriminated against.

To date, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed 231,665 American lives, 1,208,654 globally. Over one million people have died as the result of this pandemic.

Yet despite the astounding death toll, despite the many people who now have an empty seat at their dinner tables, despite those who have lost their homes as the virus has made them financially unstable, there are still those like the woman in the TikTok video who abhor the thought of wearing a mask.

Why? Because the mask is viewed as ‘tyranny.’ Read: that little piece of cloth that you could probably find at Walmart and only have to wear for some out of 24 hours in a day, is viewed as a symbol of the government trying to control us.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that mask mandates are equivalent to governmental oppression. Let’s say that masks are a big foot-in-the-door gesture to ultimate government control. If that’s the case, the government is doing a terrible job, as the supposed tyranny is hardly recognizable. Currently, there are only 34 states that have statewide masks mandates, meaning that 16 states still do not have any formalized, statewide mask requirement. And for the states that do have statewide mandates, those mandates have caveats to them; a lot of these states only require wearing masks in public places when social distancing isn’t feasible or in public, indoor spaces. Essentially, even in the states where statewide mask mandates are in place, citizens only have to wear a mask under certain circumstances.

In the states without a statewide mandate, a lot of the decisions surrounding masks have been left up to respective counties. Some of these counties have put mask mandates into effect, while others have done nothing. For example, St. Charles County—one of the neighboring counties of St. Louis County—hasn’t created a mask mandate. St. Charles county officials have made light suggestions that people should wear masks, but nothing more. Meanwhile, St. Louis County has had a mask mandate in place for months, but how much is it really even being enforced?

I’ve seen people publicly wander around St. Louis without masks. What I haven’t seen is anyone coming around and fining or scolding people for their lack of a face covering. In fact, a lot of law enforcement officers have vocally declared that they will not enforce mask mandates.

So, to clarify: a decent amount of states do not currently have statewide mandates. For the states that do, people are ignoring the government mask mandates. In the event that people ignore the mask mandates, the government isn’t really doing anything to enforce them. Yep, sounds like tyranny to me.

What this all boils down to is really simple: the government isn’t coming for your rights, at least not through mask mandates. And to claim that mask mandates are tyrannical, despite not even being enforced by the same government that’s imposing the said “tyranny,” invalidates the argument of mask oppression.

As someone who wears a mask whenever they leave home, I get it. They’re annoying to wear, frustrating to keep up with at times, and overall something that we’re just not used to. But they can help slow the spread of a virus that currently has nothing else to stop it.

These words shouldn’t have to be uttered yet again. But please, if you care not for your own safety, at least care for the safety of others. Wear a mask.

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