I knew it was coming.
Now, I’m not trying to say I’m special. It’s just that I’ve been working in the “survival space” for a number of years, writing emails and creating content that caters to survivalism and “preppers” in that market. One of the topics we covered frequently over the years was the issue of a pandemic, something that we were long overdue to have. Nobody was more shocked than me when the emails and copy and ebook content I wrote on pandemic threats turned out to be things I’d have to apply in real life.
But that’s what happened.
When the first rumblings about the COVID-19 pandemic came out, and when the WHO claimed that person-to-person transmission was rare, I was worried and I was skeptical, respectively. But when I really knew there was a problem was when i saw the first news articles about surgical masks selling out in the United Kingdom. The UK was closer to China and its people were subjected to a deluge of sensational pandemic stories by their media (the Daily Mail most notably among them). They were therefore ahead of us on the pandemic curve. When their news reported the mask shortage — and when local hardware stores started selling out of respirators, something I noticed when I tried to buy dust masks for my workshop — I took action.
I placed a series of orders online for filter masks, surgical masks, rubber gloves, and other items that were already in short supply overseas. This was well before we knew what the “rules” were regarding COVID-19. We had no idea what the virus was or was not, at that point; our officials were still saying it was unlikely even to come here.
I held out hope that would be the case, but I also did my best to prepare. I knew that it was possible we might be locked down for a pandemic, but thought if we were, it would be a week or two during which we would be unable to out at all. I stockpiled food, bottled water, and alcohol. At my girlfriend’s urging, I also stockpiled toilet paper and paper towels, never suspecting that these would sell out, too. She, of course, was right.
Many of my orders for masks were canceled as stocks sold out faster than online listings could be updated. Still, enough of them went through. I was able to provide high-quality filter masks to my loved ones and to some dear friends, one of whom has a compromised immune system. I was just barely ahead of the massive shortages that then set in for several months, before the market caught up. (Now, you can buy disposable surgical masks at my local drugstore, and everybody and their uncle is selling hand-made cloth ones online.)
As all this was going on, the first rumblings of the outbreak were hitting us. People were starting to realize that it was dangerous to go into stores with lots of people in one enclosed, air-conditioned space. I made what I did not know then was my last in-person appearance in a grocery store for the next three months. I had to obtain emergency supplies ahead of the pending lockdown for some family members, you see, and realizing the danger, I wore rubber gloves and one of my masks. Ironically, the mask was one I had owned for years and not used. I had bought it, originally, for breathing protection while doing hazardous workshop projects. (That filter mask saw me through most of the pandemic.)
As I walked through the grocery store, methodically filling my cart, I heard an old lady gasp. “Get a load of him,” she said, obviously meaning me. I remember thinking that she was in a higher risk group than I was, and I feared for her. But it was too late to do anything for her. I had supplies to obtain, and I needed to get in, get out, and strip off my gloves before touching ANYTHING else.
I tell you this lengthy story to indicate that I was an early adopter of masks. I did so before the CDC first lied about masks making things worse (because they wanted to preserve the supply for first responders) and before they then ordered us to use them. I did so based purely on what was happening overseas, coupled with my knowledge of the “mask culture” in Asian countries. Such masks have been used for years by people in China, Japan, and elsewhere because covering your damned mouth and nose just makes sense when illness is about.
Masks protect other people from drops you expel. They provide some protection to you from others. If everybody is wearing them, it cuts the spread of disease to a measurable degree. Masks are not perfect and they are not a guarantee. Some masks do nothing to inhibit viruses of a certain size. But wearing a mask, even a simple cloth mask, does make some difference, and it is the single thing you can do (apart from avoiding people) that helps lower, to some extent, your chances of spreading infection or becoming infected.
I made all these decisions, and started wearing a mask, long before masks became a political issue. We’ve decided (possibly because Americans rightly do not like being ordered around) that masks are now a tool of psychological oppression. They aren’t — or rather, it doesn’t matter if an authority tries to make them one. If a politician told you that you had to carry a gun because there were, I don’t know, Nazi Space Clowns lurking in public parks, that would be a PsyOp (and a silly one). But you’d still carry a gun for your own reasons if you believed it made you safer. The PsyOp would be irrelevant to your decision.
There may be politicians who treat masks like a tool of control, but I don’t care about them. I’m unconcerned with any political agenda held by those who wear masks, those who refuse to wear masks, or any of the government agencies who’ve lied and contradicted themselves about masks. None of that matters. None of that changes the reality that it is simply common sense to wear one when illness of any kind is prevalent.
Masks aren’t political. Only people are political. I made the decision to wear one solely on my own, completely irrespective of anything our government was or was not saying. I wear it now regardless of what rules are in place, and will continue to wear it until I deem it safe to do otherwise.
You are, and should be, free to do the same. Make your own decision. Use your own judgment. Stop treating masks as political. They don’t need to be and, in and of themselves, they aren’t.
I don’t care what you do — but I know what choice I made before anybody was arguing about them.