2020, Social Issues

The most offensive 4 letter word of 2020 – M A S K

Mask. I’m not sure that any other word at this time can elicit such a passionate guttural response from people when it’s mentioned. Where to even begin?  I have worked in the surgery department for most of my life.  For over 20 years I have been around masks in one way or another. In surgery we are trained and have continuing education on all sorts of masks. Surgical masks, laser plume masks, N95s, PAPRs, etc. I am so old that I remember back when cloth masks were used in the operating room.

I remember the backlash that happened with the staff when we were told that we were no longer going to be allowed to wear cloth masks.  We liked our masks, and OR staff are somewhat resistant to change. But we were taught that studies showed that the cloth ones did not actually prevent droplets from falling into the surgical field (ie: your guts) like we thought they did.

This was back before the internet was what it is now.  (I know I’m dating myself here)  I tried to do a search to bring up the studies that were done back then, and had little success.  Every single thing I could find related to masking is more recent, as though cloth masks were never a thing.  Trust me, they were, but they are so outdated that they weren’t even a consideration anymore before 2020. In order for a study or mask article to be free of bias, I recommend finding one that is dated before the end of 2019.

It looks like studies must be done to determine the effectiveness of cloth face coverings doesn’t it?  Do you really think no-one has ever thought of cloth masks before?  Nobody has ever looked into them?  You are being played and manipulated.

Have you noticed that they don’t call them masks in many official places?  They refer to them as “face coverings,” and at least I can agree with that term. The word mask is being used too generally when there are really very intricate differences in them. The purposeful muddiness of this word is the cause for a lot of mistrust and arguments.

Types of face coverings

cloth masks: these are junk. Unless you are following some sort of thread count and multiple layer design with a filter, complete junk. And most people are wearing single layer cloth masks or gaiters. Thin, stretchy, comfortable neck gaiters are the worst of these.

blue over the counter masks: I guarantee you the hospitals don’t get their stock from Costco or Walmart. If they are really worried about healthcare facilities having enough stock, do you think they are selling the high quality surgical grade masks to you? I have read the boxes on some of these and they clearly state they don’t offer protection from, well, anything. I would assume these are cheap knockoffs made to look like surgical masks, and not trust it to protect someone I love.

surgical quality masks: These are actually designed to protect droplets from flying around. We use these in surgery to keep our droplets out of you, and your body fluids out of us. However! They MUST be changed at regular intervals because over time their effectiveness wears off. That means they no longer stop droplets. The moisture from simple normal breathing compromises the integrity of them over time. So when people use these for an entire day, a week, or more, they are not working anymore.

N95: the best protection for you and for me. But they are supposed to only be for healthcare professionals. Seems like if they are what healthcare professionals need, they should be what we all need if they really want to protect us, and care about our health right?

One more detail, not even surgical grade masks can stop a virus particle all on its own. My descriptions here assume that every single virus particle is attached to a droplet because that is what we are being told. Although I’m not entirely convinced of that either.

Deadly droplets or not?

Another interesting point to consider is disposal. When we take off contaminated masks in surgery, we follow a careful procedure to remove them, and have special places to dispose of them. Supposedly your mask is stopping my deadly droplets from getting into your respiratory tract. That means they are caught up in the fabric of your mask. Instead of being taught by the health officials how to carefully remove them and having hazardous waste bins everywhere, people pull them off with bare hands and stuff the dirty masks into their pockets for later. I have even seen people driving around with them on their rearview mirror like an air freshener.

“My mask protects you and your mask protects me.” This is a flat out lie. Either your mask protects you or it doesn’t. If you have a cloth mask it does not protect you OR me. If you have a knockoff blue mask, it does not. If you have a surgical grade mask, it protects both of us slightly. One or the other of us does not change the effectiveness of it by much. But viruses can still get around it if they skate out on a smaller particle. If you have an N95 you are actually in a pretty good place, and don’t need to worry about others masking status. The idea that all masks work is pure propaganda.

Someone asked me how I can see mask wearing as political and have no empathy for others. It IS political. When we are being asked to do something that is a lie, to make other FEEL better, it is violating my rights. When we are being asked to comply or risk fines, arrest, or other things, it IS political. We are watching our freedoms slowly trickle away. I do have empathy for others, and I show this by speaking out.

We should not be forced to comply with a lie. Here’s where I start to sound like a wacky conspiracy theorist. I never saw myself like that, but I don’t care anymore. I have read “The Gulag Archipelago” by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn. It is a non-fictional account about the Soviet forced labor camps that led to the imprisonment, brutalization and very often murder of tens of millions of innocent Soviet citizens by their own Government. I highly recommend this book. Here is a quote that gave me chills:

“At what point, then, should one resist? When ones belt is taken away? When one is ordered to face into a corner? When one crosses the threshold of one’s home? And arrest consists of a series of incidental irrelevancies, of a multitude of things that do not matter, and there seems no point in arguing about any one of them individually – especially at a time when the thoughts of the person arrested are wrapped tightly about the big question – “What for?”

“The Gulag Archipelago” by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn

Incidental irrelevancies, a multitude of things that do not matter… Sounding familiar yet? We have to speak up. Even on the things that seem small. When people talk about how it’s ‘just’ a mask. Or it’s not really a big deal. Or how about needing to just wear it to show empathy to others. Guys, this is manipulation. Trust me, I lived inside a manipulative marriage for years. The deceit, manipulation, and gaslighting that is occurring reminds me of that phase of my life. But that’s a story for another time.

Obey and comply?

I hear talk of how we should be loving and not hateful. These words are used in ways where love = silent compliance, even with a lie when necessary, and hate = speaking out any message that disagrees. I value truth. I value my friends and family, I trust them. Those I don’t trust don’t have a place in my life for very long. I expect loving but difficult discussions to be had when needed. If I ask my husband if I look fat in these pants, it means I’ve considered that the answer could be, “I love you, but maybe those could be house pants.” Followed by a hug and kiss. I’m prepared for the actual truth spoken in love. I’m asking for truth, not lies, because I know I can trust him. If he lies to me to be ‘loving,’ I will find out eventually, and the trust I have in him is tarnished. Truth IS love. Truth always comes out eventually. Encouraging or participating an untruth us manipulative and wrong.

If you think I’m crazy for drawing parallels between our situation and the Soviet union, imagine this. If someone sat you down in October of 2019 and explained what 2020 would look like to you, would you have believed them? I would have laughed thinking there is no way the United States of America would willingly fall into lockstep with mandates like we have. Look at how much has changed worldwide in less than one year. One year.

And Christians are passionately getting on board with the madness! Church leaders are even lecturing their congregations on complying with everything our government tells us to do. Because it is how a Christian should behave. No! Christians have been timid and silent for too long – myself included! It is HARD for me to speak out. This blog was started to be a fun place to post about recipes, my kids, gardening and camping. Not this. It was never created for this. But here we are.

The USA is a unique country and it was designed this way on purpose. We are a representative republic, and we are governed by our Constitution that was written by men who had incredible foresight. We elect our representatives. To represent us. If the mayor says one thing, the governor another, and the president yet another, who do we obey? One is following this scientist, the other follows this one, who to go with? Do we just pick the one whose ideas we like the best? No! We follow our chain of command up to the top and there we find the Constitution as our top authority.

It is not, and should not be the government’s job to protect us from every single thing! It almost seems like people want to be treated as uneducated little children who must obey, or be grounded. We should read, learn and make our own grown up decisions. We weigh personal risk versus reward every day on so many things. When we get into a car, when we ride a bike, when we walk down the sidewalk. Living life can kill you! So can the flu, pneumonia, heart disease, depression, alcohol, cancer, drugs……

Live your life, get educated and take responsibility for yourself. For some people, they might be high risk and choose to stay home, wear a mask, etc. We should support that! Others know they are low risk and decide their family can do things outside the home. This is freedom of choice and personal responsibility.

I will close out by recommending that you listen to the podcast called, “Uncommon Sense – Christianity and Politics” by Doug Morgan, my husband. His podcast this week is a 3 part series covering Christians responsibility to obeying our government. Part one was released today. If you have questions or comments about my blog, or this podcast, feel free to write to: foruncommonsense@gmail.com and we will reply to anyone who writes.

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