by James A. Bacon

People, get a grip! Emotions over this mask business are running out of control — on both sides of the debate.

On the right: Amelia Ruffner King, a 42-year-old Luray mother, has been charged with a misdemeanor for issuing threats to the Page County School Board. “No mask mandates,” the Page Valley News reports her as saying. “My children will not come to school on Monday with a mask on, alright. That’s not happening. And I will bring every single gun loaded and ready,” King continued as she was cut off a second time by the chairman for exceeding the three-minute time limit during the citizen comment period. Then as she left the room, she added: “I’ll see ya’ll on Monday.”

That kind of rhetoric is unacceptable. In a civilized society people cannot publicly issue threats, even if the violence is only implied. (Not to mention, such rhetoric feeds the leftist narrative that the parents-rights movement is a potential terrorist threat to democracy.)

On the left: Michelle Cades, a Fairfax County mother, says her 8th-grade special-needs daughter will no longer be able to attend class if the mask mandate is lifted. Reports American University Radio: her daughter’s anxiety about COVID is so extreme that she needs extra time to navigate the halls between classes so she can avoid clusters of other students. “If suddenly lots of students were not wearing masks at all, either in the halls or in my kids’ classes,” Cades says, “I honestly don’t know how my child would tolerate going to school.”

Where does the child’s anxiety come from? The news media? Her family? Her peers? Life for teenagers is full of risks, from drug and alcohol addiction to automobile accidents, from sexually transmitted disease to… the flu. Why the fixation on COVID? The risks from COVID for high school students is low. Of the 162,000 reported COVID cases in the Fairfax health district, only 63 hospitalizations have been reported for the 10- to 19-year-old age bracket. Deaths: zero. For high-schoolers, COVID amounts to the flu. But some people are acting as if it is the second coming of the Black Death.

Yes, there are important philosophical questions at stake. As a society, we need to find the right balance between upholding personal liberties and protecting the public health from a continually evolving and imperfectly understood disease. Mask hysteria does not help us find that balance.

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47 responses to “Mask Hysteria”

  1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    My daughter is at Randolph Macon Academy in Front Royal. They have done a good job of maintaining in person instruction with masks and well conceived protocols. General Weseley, the President of the school, had this to say the other day:

    “It is my strong desire, second only to the safety of your children and our faculty/staff, that we avoid being drawn into the maelstrom of ongoing public disputes that can distract from the work we do.”

    I would like to see the masks come off. I think the general wants the masks off. Maybe later in the spring I suppose. But I appreciate what the general is trying to accomplish. No need to start the 2nd semester with the 2nd Battle of Front Royal.

    1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      You do see the irony of private schools being free to mandate masks as they see fit without being forced to adopt maskless policies by Youngkin (whose kids go to another private school with mask mandates) like public schools…?? Does RMA require vaccines by students and/or staff as well…?

    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      re: ” maintaining in person instruction with masks and well conceived protocols”

      What a concept!

      1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
        James Wyatt Whitehead

        The staff was the key part. Everybody was on the same page. It took a Herculean effort. It is mostly a boarding school so most of the teachers were expected to work a few more Saturdays and Sundays than usual.

    3. LarrytheG Avatar

      And give credit to General Wesley, however, if he were a principal of a public school, I doubt he’d fare much better than other public school principals on the mask issue.

      The masks are common sense when we’re talking about groups of people , indoors, spending hours in the same space, IMHO. That’s not “hysteria” .

      1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
        James Wyatt Whitehead

        He is a very perceptive leader on these issues. When this covid business started it was a big mess. I always expected the ending would be very much the same way.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          One of the things I’ve been reminded of with you is how important individual people are and can be in making a difference in how things work and succeed.

          The other is your tolerance of others, including me.


  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    Not sure one can fairly equate the anti-maskers threats of violence with the pro-maskers “threats” of keeping their kids home.

    A more apt comparison might be that anti-maskers threat to keep their kids home if masks are required and pro-maskers threaten to keep their kids at home if masks are not required.

    As far as I know (and stand to be corrected), the pro-maskers have not threatened violence or bringing guns if their wishes were not honored.

  3. walter smith Avatar
    walter smith

    How did our world previously not get wiped out in the annual flu seasons?
    The masks don’t work. The vaccine doesn’t work. Maybe it lessens effects. Maybe it hurts overall immunity. Maybe the continued jabs are very destructive. Maybe Omicron has specifically mutated to get around the “vaccine.” (Highly likely given stats) We do not know.
    What we know – masks do not prevent spread, the vaccines do not prevent transmission, and natural immunity is awesome. The kids have been screwed over – massively! Drug use up. Self abuse up. Learning down.

    Before the government “helped,” what did we do?
    Life went on. If sick, stay home. Protect the people at risk.
    Early treatment.
    The fear that has been intentionally cultivated is criminal.
    Meanwhile, violating the Nuremberg Code is now acceptable?
    I would point to the past and America was not wiped put by H1N1 or all the other flus. We had Big 10 football and NCAA tournaments and the world didn’t end.
    (Oh, and did you notice that the flu vaccine, which is only partly effective because it isn’t a vaccine (!), was never mandated and the world survived. Grow up and act like free Americans!)

    1. Walter, while it is true that masks don’t totallyl stop the spread, laboratory evidence suggests that they do reduce the likelihood of transmission (a Virginia Tech prof says by 50%). Wearing a mask (recognizing that some masks provide more protection than others) is better than not wearing a mask. Does that give government grounds to compel people to wear a mask when they don’t want to? Very different question. That’s an ethical question, not an empirical one.

      1. walter smith Avatar
        walter smith

        I don’t think that is what she is saying.
        I think she was saying that they perhaps reduced particles by 50%. Not that they were 50% effective in stopping transmission.
        The original CDC opinion that VDH relied on was very flimsy, saying if you do everything right, maybe they provide some benefit. It also glossed over (but at least mentioned) a 2015 study that said they didn’t work. And then the problem is nobody wears them properly and they are handled and reused. There was another study with Marines on social distancing and masking. The masked group had a slightly higher incidence of “cases” (which I think is a meaningless stat also, but that was the game played back in the day).
        And then we do have all the trade off questions – children’s pysches, re-breathed air, danger of low oxygen levels, etc.
        This was the money quote – “She said cloth masks are only about 50% effective in protecting against infected particles — good enough for earlier forms of COVID-19, but not against the more transmissible Omicron variant.”
        I read that as talking about reduction of infected particles, and not necessarily translating to reduction of transmission. And I think her “good enough” part was her opinion. I think the far better course is if you are sick, stay home! If you must go out, and are sick with a transmissible virus, wear a mask. But that is why telehealth is one of the few benefits from these last two years of Hell.

    2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      Nearly 1,000,000 dead Americans say you are catering in false equivalencies.

      1. walter smith Avatar
        walter smith

        They’re dead. They aren’t saying anything.
        But you come in with a non-sequitur and non-answer.
        Something like 3 to 3.5 million Americans die every year.
        Prior to Covidiocy, the annual flus were often part of people dying. They pushed people over the edge. COVID pushed many over the edge. Most of these were old and had many co-morbidities.
        Our illustrious government bureaucrats probably caused hundreds of thousands of deaths by discouraging/throttling/suppressing early treatment. Telling people to go home and call the hospital if it gets worse was immoral, and put the patient at a disadvantage as Covid had taken hold. Evil.
        Meanwhile, any rational cost benefit will prove huge government malfeasance. The question is whether in good faith or intentional. I think the latter.
        Back to reality. Masks still don’t work. The vaccine doesn’t work. Unmask. Open up schools. Refuse the medical and bureaucratic dictatorship. Go back to being free Americans. And try the criminals… To mandate a medical experiment without informed, WILLING consent violates the Nuremberg Code.
        Riddle me this Full Troll – for the truck driver who delivered food while you cowered at home, and then got Covid and survived, which is a greater health risk to him – the Covid which he has already beaten and has natural immunity or poverty from losing his job for not complying with an illegal medical mandate? How about the health of his family?

        1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
          Eric the half a troll

          Losing his job is his own decision… as is getting and dying from Covid… He is free to exercise both options…

          It is a shame he listens to your anti-vaxxer crowd, though. You have done a great disservice to our country and the world and have costs many lives and unnecessarily prolonged this pandemic. You should hang your head in shame.

          1. walter smith Avatar
            walter smith

            Try facts rather than emotion.
            Is the “vaccine” approved by the FDA? No
            Does that mean it is an experimental medical product? Yes
            Does mandating use of an experimental medical product without the informed willing consent of the patient violate the Nuremberg Code? Yes
            Has the FDA withheld approval of the experimental medical product for a reason? Yes. The normal course of study and knowledge of long term effects is not known. Even the so-called “appproved” “vaccine” which is not available and was approved under highly unusual procedures for the FDA has post-approval studies indicating that the approval was rushed to market for political reasons and as a subterfuge.
            Has the number of VAERS incidents dwarfed all prior years since the Covid “vaccine”? Yes
            Is natural immunity stronger and longer lasting than spike induced immunity? Yes
            If there are therapeutic treatments available, can the FDA issue Emergency Use Authorization? No
            Has the FDA/NIH/Pharma/government industrial complex suppressed therapeutic treatments? Looks that way to me…
            Finally, let’s assume a few things – the FDA completes all testing. The FDA finds it safe and all the VAERS incidents are explained or corrected in further versions of the “vaccine.” The State legislatures then pass a law requiring it. Even then, there should be a medical and a religious exemption (and ultimately there will be a medical my body my choice exception overruling Jacobson). That was “normal” prior to the mass hysteria.

      2. Are you suggesting that compulsory mask wearing would have saved all 1 million lives? If not, then what’s the relevance of the comment?

        1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
          Eric the half a troll

          Of course not. Equating the lack of mandates for masking and vaccines in response to common flu to Covid mandates as Walter did is why reference to nearly 1,000,000 dead from Covid (versus about 20,000 flu deaths per year normally) is relevant. Surely you comprehend this…

  4. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Keep America Beautiful. Wear the Mask!

    Dammit! I hate it when a good joke runs afoul of facts!

    1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      Here’s one: Why is it always great news to find out that the establishment you are in requires everyone to be fully Covid vaccinated…? No cops!!😂🤣😂🤣

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        Well, first thing that comes to mind… ya want other vaccines and things too.

  5. Kathleen Smith Avatar
    Kathleen Smith

    Follow the data after implementation and hope for the best. No one is asking teachers and principals what they think. But, then they only MUST go to work. They don’t have a choice

    Opening for in person five days per week- what if there are not enough subs?

    Not doable policies are meaningless.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Well, more than a few have CONDEMNED teachers for how they think, no?

      I see a teacher spending hours in a classroom with 15-20 kids, mingling with 200-300 other kids, some of whom are not vaccinated and/or already infected and fears that not only will he/she (the teacher) become infected but possibly carry it home to their own families and for that they are pilloried.

  6. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    It seems that our new governor has gotten himself trapped by this tar baby. In Exec. Order 2, he rescinded the mask mandate and said students do not have to wear masks to school. Now he is saying to parents, ” I urge all parents to listen to their principal”.

    This afternoon, VDH issued clarified guidelines on dealing with schools. I defy anyone to read this and declare that there is now a clear administration policy as to what schools should do. This rivals the CDC on muddled messaging.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      We’re about to see if he’s gonna do the DeSantis Dance.

    2. VaNavVet Avatar

      You could see this coming and one would think that the Gov would have anticipated the confusion. Many would say that he has added to the hysteria and now must act to help settle things down.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        ……. or he did what he intended… which really is counter to the Science, the CDC and Va Law.

        and, yes, he set the conditions for conflict on Monday morning… that’s on him.

  7. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    There will be reporters in dozens or hundreds of Virginia schools Monday, watching to see if kids without masks are sent home, or kids terrified of their mask-free desk mates run screaming from the building. Such high drama.

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Seriously, what’s the goat head? I can make out “_olner Bock”, but of what’s the sculture made?

      1. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        Shiner Bock. It is a ram’s head out of empty beer bottles. From the brewery tour.

        1. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          Given the proximity to the SA trip, kinda figured a Texas Bock. Shiner’s east of SA on the 10. Thought you were looking west, there Greeley?

          Six of Shiner has a permanent residence in my fridge. Spousal unit’s goto backup.

          1. Merchantseamen Avatar

            “Spousal units” Now that is funny.

  8. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    You see explicit (not implied) threats of gun violence against a school system as equivalent to a mother stating her child won’t be able to attend school without others masking…?? Not unexpected for BR but disturbing nonetheless.

    1. I never wrote or implied such a thing. Get a grip.

      I equated the underlying hysteria. Clearly, the woman with the gun is very scary, and deserves the charges against her (assuming the media reports are accurate). The Fairfax lady and her child are just sad. Not remotely comparable in their behavior.

      But both are deluded.

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        “Emotions over this mask business are running out of control — on both sides of the debate.”

        You begin your piece with a statement of comparable behavior “on both sides or the debate”. The Fairfax lady was not out of control, the Page Co lunatic was. Nothing about the two are comparable… surprised you are doubling down… well, not really.

        I have a very firm “grip”, btw.

        1. I didn’t say the “behavior” of the two were comparable. I said the *emotions* were comparable in the sense that they were unjustifiably extreme, as clearly explained in the post.

          1. Virginia Project Avatar
            Virginia Project

            he’s only commenting here because everyone else got sick of him and banned him

          2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            If you are speaking of me, I have been banned nowhere in my 20+ years of commenting history….

          3. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            One is vehemently angry (to the point of threatening violence), the other is sad for her child who has anxiety over the thought of unmasking. Sorry, those aren’t even comparable emotions. And you think a parent’s empathy for her child or her child’s anxiety are “unjustifiably extreme”. Do you know how many people have faced anxiety in the past two years… those reactions were all “unjustifiably extreme”? Further, you know nothing about her daughter in terms of mental health or condition. Maybe stop trying to always search for the “both sides” argument when someone on the Right misbehaves. Sometimes bad behavior just needs to be bad behavior… period…

          4. LarrytheG Avatar

            I don’t really understand how anyone knows another person’s emotions anyhow unless they know them personally. Even then, not so much.

            What we ‘see’ is their behaviors and actions, upon which we speculate about what they are based on.

            And agree – lots of parents have concerns about COVID and policies – it’s not ‘extreme’ at all unless they then act out behaviors – like threatening school personnel and threatening to bring guns, etc…

            You’re lucky that JAB did not accuse you of “distorting” his words though… 😉

          5. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Well, apparently I’ve got to “get a grip”… 🤷‍♂️

          6. LarrytheG Avatar

            well , that’s whenever you catch JAB out over his skiis… try it again! 😉

          7. killerhertz Avatar

            Did it ever occur to you that maybe the child has anxiety because the mother is a bad person?

          8. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Any parent could make mistakes in the raising see big of their children. Even if this is the case here, it does not suggest the parent a “bad person” nor does it equate to “unjustifiably extreme” emotions or reactions. Threatening school officials with fire arms does.

          9. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Any parent could make mistakes in the raising of their children. Even if this is the case here, it does not suggest the parent is a “bad person” nor does it equate to “unjustifiably extreme” emotions or reactions. Threatening school officials with fire arms does.

  9. VaNavVet Avatar

    There is anxiety regarding the long term effects of a Covid infection on children. How many parents want to expose their kids to this unknown?

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Roughly 40% of them.

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