Reader's View: Wearing a mask not about individuals’ rights

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I am writing in response to the June 16 “Local View” column, “ 'I will not be masked': Trust workers to say when they're sick .” It was penned by a “fitness professional.” I saw no certification to clarify this terribly essential role, but I presume somewhere in her education there was, at least, rudimentary health information as part of the curriculum. Maybe not.

Even a rank fitness amateur like me has a clue about the spread of the coronavirus. Up to two weeks before one manifests symptoms, victims (and even those who have the disease but are asymptomatic) do shed the virus. So, if some innocent but infected client comes into a fitness professional’s studio or spa or whatever for fitness treatment and works up a sweat, panting all over the place, that client could unknowingly infect the practitioner and those nearby. Then the next clients, or victims, could in turn be infected by the fitness expert for a week or two before that expert herself develops symptoms.

But far be it from society to ask her to don a mask.

Listen, this is not all about any individual and their rights. Those rights stop at the end of a client’s nose — or eyes or lips. Or mine, for that matter.

A writer on these pages several weeks ago put it much more eloquently than I am here when she or he said one’s First Amendment rights do not allow one to employ free speech by yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater. Nor does one’s Second Amendment rights extend to firing off a revolver willy nilly in a gym.


So spare me the indignant self-righteousness and inflamed victimization. Ignorance and selfishness do not a pleasing cocktail distill. And in the midst of a pandemic, that potion might just be lethal.

Jeff Smith


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