Letter to the Editor

As a local resident of the Atherton Tablelands area, I’ve watched with intrigue (and some disappointment), the behaviors of many, following the recent decision of the QLD State Government to introduce “mask mandates” for all indoor venues from Dec 17. Since that date, I’ve witnessed the most divisive behavior I have ever seen within any local community (I’ve lived in many), and it saddens me to watch just how effective fear and propaganda is, when used as a weapon against a VULNERABLE population.

This isn’t about the mask mandates per se. Anyone with half a brain can deduce that wearing a face mask is not going to make a blind bit of difference when it comes to protecting yourself from a microscopic virus; it’s been proven in more than a dozen peer-reviewed scientific journals that masks are ineffective at stopping a virus particle from entering the nasal or pharyngeal cavity. One just has to do a little research. This is ultimately about coaxing the citizenry to comply. Nothing more. That’s it.

But, we’re told by the governments (the people we elect, right?) that we all have to wear one of these little things on our faces in the completely false idea that it will make us all safer. It reminds me of waiting at a pedestrian crossing (controlled by traffic lights), endlessly pressing the ‘button’ in the misguided assumption that the lights will change faster. I always felt that having that ‘button’ was really just some social panacea to make me believe that I have some say in the way things operate (i.e. zero!).

Now, getting back to the mask thing, and some behaviours I want to call out. On a recent trip to Ravenshoe QLD, I was walking along the footpath (an area in which masks are not required to be worn by ‘mandate’ (not law – more on this later)), when a surly woman exited a grocery store in front of me. Yes, she had her mask on, but very loosely fitted. Enough said. However, she made the dreadful, dreadful mistake of challenging me for not wearing a mask of my own while out in the open. I made sure that my voice carried to within earshot of everyone in the crowded grocery store when I made my reply:

“You seem to be completely unaware of the Constitution of Australia”, I told her. “Which you, as a citizen of this country have to abide by the same as everybody else. Under the Constitution, you don’t have the right to tell me what I should or should not do. Nor do the shopkeepers. Nor, in fact, do the police. A mandate is not a law, and you ought to know the difference. What legal standing do you have to tell me what to do?”

[For the readership, a ‘mandate’ is not a law. A ‘mandate’ is considered a “request to comply”. If you comply, you’re absolving your rights as a citizen. If you do not comply, you are breaking no laws, provided you are breaking no other laws. 🙂 ]

Slightly less confident, but with the same degree of belligerence, she said to me that “the locals would prefer it If I wore a face mask everywhere”. I could have gone several ways with this conversation; the first thought in my head was to retort with an inflammatory insult: “Well, considering how ugly everyone is around here, I can see why…” But that would have diminished the impact of what was, after all, a great opportunity to ‘grandstand’ a message in front of the packed grocery store. My actual response was, quite simply this:

“Who the hell are you to speak for what “the locals” want? I’m a local, and you certainly don’t speak for me. If you want to wear a mask wherever you go, that’s YOUR choice. Just as it is my choice to exercise my own freedom while we still have it, to not participate willingly in my own enslavement. People like you would have us give up our freedoms for your version of safety. Where is that going to end? Cars are dangerous. Should we stop driving them? Planes are dangerous – they can crash into the WTC. Should we stop intercontinental travel? Did we? The people in this town are probably scared enough already – they don’t need you and your evangelistic bullshit trying to chest-thump others and rev us all up into fear.”

I gestured to the grocery store from which she had exited (many of its occupants were already looking at me in stunned amazement). “I’ll bet that more than half of the people in that store think that this whole mask thing is utter bullshit, they’re just too frightened to say it. They also probably think that you’re a raving lunatic and yet they wouldn’t tell you because they’re considerate people who mind their own business. So how about you just f*** on the right side of ’off’ and stop trying to terrorise people with your lunacy? Go and do something useful, like water your goldfish or something. Take another jab while you’re at it.”

She scurried off, to the applause of at least a dozen people in the store. At that point, I felt like it was a good time to leave and head back to Atherton. Locals? Pffff! And all the while I thought we were defending a nation of 7.96 million square kilometres from a foreign takeover. Go figure. Yeah, let’s all worry about who doesn’t live in your immediate suburb – that’s really going to bring this nation together now, isn’t it?

from Jack