Halloween and the Monster Pandemic: The HARM of Universal Masking

 

I live in a very red state now, apparently redder than Georgia and Texas. I live in a neighborhood that I love because there are small homes with neatly mowed lawns near old mansions with roman columns. You could say this area meets the progressive definition of “diverse,” which cares only about neighbors having different hues as they sit on their front porches, as people still do here. But it meets my definition of “diverse,” too, because there are Trump flags galore and Biden/Harris signs staked in the grass, and no one disturbs anyone else’s stuff.

The truth is that I rejoice on almost every run through these streets littered with leaves about how plainly American this very mixed neighborhood feels because it’s plain to me that these families have different incomes, different demographics, different opinions, and it is fine. This is a reflection of the country I grew up loving. Unlike the hyper blue bubble of Austin that I recently began to find so suffocating that I had to leave it behind me, this place feels normal.

Except it’s not.

Putting aside the polarized politics of our day, there is the Covid pandemic.

Let me set the stage, so you’ll understand the situation here per the local health department’s figures. This is a county of over 470,000 people. There have been 105 deaths from Covid in total at the hour of this posting, and 54 of those deaths were people over 75. The health department is currently citing a “spike” in community spread despite mandated masks in all public buildings, a mandate which has been in place for months. These spikes in people infected with Covid have nothing to do with deaths from Covid, which are not exponential, and the data here makes it very clear who is really vulnerable, which brings me to my real topic.

I was talking to my neighbor who has a son in elementary school. Her politics and mine don’t match much, but there’s more to life than politics. She is a very nice person. However, she told me something that made me profoundly sad after I’d already gone to Kroger to buy my chocolate for Halloween. She said she made it entirely his decision, but her son feels too frightened to go trick-or-treating this year. He says it’s not worth “the risk” to go door to door when Covid is such a big threat.

Furrowing my brow as we talked on the sidewalk, I asked if he understood that no children have died in the entire county, that very few children have even gotten sick anywhere in the country, that very few adults have died in this area, and many of those people who have passed away were already very old and fragile.

My new friend said she understood all of this quite well, and one can say numbers like this to a kid, but her son wakes up in the morning and has to put on a mask to get on the school bus. Then he must wear that mask all day long in a school building except at lunch when children are spaced from each other, socially distanced, so they’re “safe” while eating. He is told this is necessary because if he doesn’t wear his mask and sit apart, people will die. How else are you going to get children in elementary school to wear something across their face day in, day out for hours at a time?

So the message this kid has gotten from that “harmless” piece of paper people keep talking about as an “easy sacrifice” and “mere inconvenience” for citizens to cheaply stop Covid spread, that “simple” piece of paper, which is so good for society that people like me who despise masks should just shut up and put one on, is that there is a Monster Pandemic that is eating the nation. This Monster will eat this boy if he isn’t super cautious. (Can you picture the image of the Monster a child’s imagination can manufacture?)

A Monster of some sort–I’m not sure it’s really called Covid–is reaching out and taking from a young boy the joy of being a child… the joy of running through the streets of this very lovely neighborhood that is decorated now with pumpkins and ghosts and graveyards because that is the type of neighborhood in which he lives. He has been made too frightened to knock on the doors of his neighbors to get his treats, to integrate with his community, to run screaming around like any other kid on the inevitable sugar high that is Halloween, and it makes perfect sense, his fear.

This is the message society is giving him by making him mask up like he’s in an infectious disease ward every single weekday or whenever he goes with his mother to the grocery store, and that’s not harmless.  It makes me angry, actually, and profoundly, deeply sad.

When we look back at this pandemic in the future, I wonder what sort of scars will still exist in the psyche of a whole generation of Americans who are being taught at the most impressionable of ages that staying away from others and hiding from the Monster is how one lives a healthy life.

We are sacrificing children to the Monster, tossing them into its gaping maw, and that should be truly terrifying for anyone who cares about the country.

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  1. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    It’s reprehensible. I wish the mother (and father?) would advocate for her child and remove him from that situation. It’s child abuse and adults are failing their children. As you point out. 

    • #1
  2. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    EODmom (View Comment):

    It’s reprehensible. I wish the mother (and father?) would advocate for her child and remove him from that situation. It’s child abuse and adults are failing their children. As you point out.

    She can’t.  As I said, I live in a mixed neighborhood of different incomes.  This family does not have the resources to remove their child from public school.  They are just regular folks, middle class people, who have to go to work every day themselves.  They are not complicit in this.  They are unable to escape the system.  

    • #2
  3. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I wonder if people realize how dangerous it is to keep their kids safe. 

    For example, if we insist on keeping our kids safe from the danger of ridicule for their opinions or their parents’ opinions, is it going to serve them well when they’re grown up and have absolutely no experience of standing alone against their peers?  

    • #3
  4. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    I wonder if people realize how dangerous it is to keep their kids safe.

    For example, if we insist on keeping our kids safe from the danger of ridicule for their opinions or their parents’ opinions, is it going to serve them well when they’re grown up and have absolutely no experience of standing alone against their peers?

    No.  That’s the answer.  Though I suppose we can move towards only allowing one opinion like Twitter, and that would mean there is no harm? 

    The county itself is doing this to families.  This child has good parents.  Unfortunately, if one goes to school here, one must comply to the powers that be.  There is no escape from this.    

    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Lois Lane: So the message this kid has gotten from that “harmless” piece of paper people keep talking about as an “easy sacrifice” and “mere inconvenience” for citizens to cheaply stop Covid spread, that “simple” piece of paper, which is so good for society that people like me who despise masks should just shut up and put one on, is that there is a Monster Pandemic that is eating the nation. This Monster will eat this boy if he isn’t super cautious. (Can you picture the image of the Monster a child’s imagination can manufacture?) 

    I am sure this is true. We always shout at kids when we should whisper. They have very big imaginations, and they scare easily. We take advantage of this immaturity all the time, but then we deny they are like this when we are overdramatic with them. It is a pet peeve of mine. The years I spent in schools as a volunteer, I came away thinking that rather than scaring kids, most of them needed intense doses of calming reassurance. We have really frightened them. 

    This is a good post. Thank you. 

    • #5
  6. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Lois Lane: So the message this kid has gotten from that “harmless” piece of paper people keep talking about as an “easy sacrifice” and “mere inconvenience” for citizens to cheaply stop Covid spread, that “simple” piece of paper, which is so good for society that people like me who despise masks should just shut up and put one on, is that there is a Monster Pandemic that is eating the nation. This Monster will eat this boy if he isn’t super cautious. (Can you picture the image of the Monster a child’s imagination can manufacture?)

    I am sure this is true. We always shout at kids when we should whisper. They have very big imaginations, and they scare easily. We take advantage of this immaturity all the time, but then we deny they are like this when we are overdramatic with them. It is a pet peeve of mine. The years I spent in schools as a volunteer, I came away thinking that rather than scaring kids, most of them needed intense doses of calming reassurance. We have really frightened them.

    This is a good post. Thank you.

    That was Mr. Rogers strong suit.

    • #6
  7. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    JoelB (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Lois Lane: So the message this kid has gotten from that “harmless” piece of paper people keep talking about as an “easy sacrifice” and “mere inconvenience” for citizens to cheaply stop Covid spread, that “simple” piece of paper, which is so good for society that people like me who despise masks should just shut up and put one on, is that there is a Monster Pandemic that is eating the nation. This Monster will eat this boy if he isn’t super cautious. (Can you picture the image of the Monster a child’s imagination can manufacture?)

    I am sure this is true. We always shout at kids when we should whisper. They have very big imaginations, and they scare easily. We take advantage of this immaturity all the time, but then we deny they are like this when we are overdramatic with them. It is a pet peeve of mine. The years I spent in schools as a volunteer, I came away thinking that rather than scaring kids, most of them needed intense doses of calming reassurance. We have really frightened them.

    This is a good post. Thank you.

    That was Mr. Rogers strong suit.

    My kids know how strongly I feel about this, so last Christmas they took me to the Mr. Rogers movie. I really love Mr. Rogers. 

    You are exactly right. 

    What is wrong with the grownups in the world!?!

    • #7
  8. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

     The media, which is mostly funded by Big Pharma has a vested interest in continuing the scare.  The Karens of the world also have an interest in continuing the scare and Karen gets what Karen wants.  She has never been more powerful with her mask shaming and calling 911 on gatherings.  Karen is a Monster too.

    • #8
  9. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    I think that, depending somewhat on the age of the child, the pump has been primed by the drumbeat of global warming/climate change hysteria foisted on them in the vast majority of schools, both public and private.  The future is scary and its all your fault.

    • #9
  10. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    I think that, depending somewhat on the age of the child, the pump has been primed by the drumbeat of global warming/climate change hysteria foisted on them in the vast majority of schools, both public and private. The future is scary and its all your fault.

    I agree with this.  Having lived in Austin, TX for almost a decade, I’ve met many people who feel that Global Warming = the Apocalypse.  Fear drives that entire movement, and climate change is taught in every single public school that I’ve encountered as fact.  Here, I’m not talking “climate change is real,” which I’d say one can easily prove.  The “fact” that is taught is that “climate change is catastrophic.”  

    • #10
  11. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    I don’t think it’s nearly this bad. My kids, 11, 8 and 6, do fine with masks and the various restrictions and interruptions to their normal lives. It has not instilled any kind of paralyzing fear in them. I have not heard other parents mention anything like that.

    It’s not ideal, but they’re very resilient and can roll with it. They understand it’s temporary, even if long. Previous generations have endured much worse. 

    I don’t mean to minimize what has happened with the child you mention, nor do I mean to suggest he’s alone in having that reaction. That is something someone should help him with, for sure. My point is that I don’t think that kind of harm is widespread. 

    • #11
  12. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    I think that, depending somewhat on the age of the child, the pump has been primed by the drumbeat of global warming/climate change hysteria foisted on them in the vast majority of schools, both public and private. The future is scary and its all your fault.

    I agree with this. Having lived in Austin, TX for almost a decade, I’ve met many people who feel that Global Warming = the Apocalypse. Fear drives that entire movement, and climate change is taught in every single public school that I’ve encountered as fact. Here, I’m not talking “climate change is real,” which I’d say one can easily prove. The “fact” that is taught is that “climate change is catastrophic.”

    It’s always a tough call, but this is why Al Gore is at the top of my Worst Leaders in Human History list. I saw this too. 

    Words fail me to describe what the Democrats have done to the kids. 

    • #12
  13. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I don’t think it’s nearly this bad. My kids, 11, 8 and 6, do fine with masks and the various restrictions and interruptions to their normal lives. It has not instilled any kind of paralyzing fear in them. I have not heard other parents mention anything like that.

    It’s not ideal, but they’re very resilient and can roll with it. They understand it’s temporary, even if long. Previous generations have endured much worse.

    I don’t mean to minimize what has happened with the child you mention, nor do I mean to suggest he’s alone in having that reaction. That is something someone should help him with, for sure. My point is that I don’t think that kind of harm is widespread.

    I would say if this kind of harm happens for even a small minority of children, then the masks are not worth it based on the science related to spread in schools, precautions that can be taken with older teachers who could wear more robust masks themselves if they are worried, and the real risks, which we know aren’t high, to children. 

    That said, it is truly good to hear that your kids do not feel this way. 

    Just to be clear, this kid isn’t running around skittish at every moment.  He plays with my dog in the backyard, and he doesn’t wear a mask when he does it. 

    His true feelings were laid bare by his choice about Halloween though, and the news here is up-playing a “spike” that may have contributed to those feelings.  

    • #13
  14. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    Fear is what our “betters” are trying to sell us.  Masks will be mandatory for the rest of our lives.  There is no one able to give us the “all clear” signal.  Masks signal the death knell of our country as it was.

    • #14
  15. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    Fear is what our “betters” are trying to sell us. Masks will be mandatory for the rest of our lives. There is no one able to give us the “all clear” signal. Masks signal the death knell of our country as it was.

    If the isolation caused by “social distancing,” masking, and plexiglassing continue, expect suicides, depression, and violent anti-social behavior to become rampant. 

    • #15
  16. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I don’t think it’s nearly this bad. My kids, 11, 8 and 6, do fine with masks and the various restrictions and interruptions to their normal lives. It has not instilled any kind of paralyzing fear in them. I have not heard other parents mention anything like that.

    It’s not ideal, but they’re very resilient and can roll with it. They understand it’s temporary, even if long. Previous generations have endured much worse.

    I don’t mean to minimize what has happened with the child you mention, nor do I mean to suggest he’s alone in having that reaction. That is something someone should help him with, for sure. My point is that I don’t think that kind of harm is widespread.

    I would say if this kind of harm happens for even a small minority of children, then the masks are not worth it based on the science related to spread in schools, precautions that can be taken with older teachers who could wear more robust masks themselves if they are worried, and the real risks, which we know aren’t high, to children.

    That said, it is truly good to hear that your kids do not feel this way.

    Just to be clear, this kid isn’t running around skittish at every moment. He plays with my dog in the backyard, and he doesn’t wear a mask when he does it.

    His true feelings were laid bare by his choice about Halloween though, and the news here is up-playing a “spike” that may have contributed to those feelings.

    Maybe this boy is doing what his parents have inadvertently signaled for him to do and he’s being compliant to their unspoken feelings.  Maybe consciously they know covid isn’t a killer of kids, but unconsciously they make their own fears for him known.

    • #16
  17. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I don’t think it’s nearly this bad. My kids, 11, 8 and 6, do fine with masks and the various restrictions and interruptions to their normal lives. It has not instilled any kind of paralyzing fear in them. I have not heard other parents mention anything like that.

    It’s not ideal, but they’re very resilient and can roll with it. They understand it’s temporary, even if long. Previous generations have endured much worse.

    I don’t mean to minimize what has happened with the child you mention, nor do I mean to suggest he’s alone in having that reaction. That is something someone should help him with, for sure. My point is that I don’t think that kind of harm is widespread.

    I would say if this kind of harm happens for even a small minority of children, then the masks are not worth it based on the science related to spread in schools, precautions that can be taken with older teachers who could wear more robust masks themselves if they are worried, and the real risks, which we know aren’t high, to children.

    That said, it is truly good to hear that your kids do not feel this way.

    Just to be clear, this kid isn’t running around skittish at every moment. He plays with my dog in the backyard, and he doesn’t wear a mask when he does it.

    His true feelings were laid bare by his choice about Halloween though, and the news here is up-playing a “spike” that may have contributed to those feelings.

    Maybe this boy is doing what his parents have inadvertently signaled for him to do and he’s being compliant to their unspoken feelings. Maybe consciously they know covid isn’t a killer of kids, but unconsciously they make their own fears for him known.

    Very possible.  I do not think his parents are frightened of Covid, but it’s hard to not be a little “off“ about the Covid environment.  I mean, I’ll admit that I feel more on edge, and I’m not at all concerned about getting sick.  (I’m in great health and fairly young.)  Yet I am still more stressed in my daily life.  And I’m a grownup. 

     

    • #17
  18. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I don’t think it’s nearly this bad. My kids, 11, 8 and 6, do fine with masks and the various restrictions and interruptions to their normal lives. It has not instilled any kind of paralyzing fear in them. I have not heard other parents mention anything like that.

    It’s not ideal, but they’re very resilient and can roll with it. They understand it’s temporary, even if long. Previous generations have endured much worse.

    I don’t mean to minimize what has happened with the child you mention, nor do I mean to suggest he’s alone in having that reaction. That is something someone should help him with, for sure. My point is that I don’t think that kind of harm is widespread.

    I would say if this kind of harm happens for even a small minority of children, then the masks are not worth it based on the science related to spread in schools, precautions that can be taken with older teachers who could wear more robust masks themselves if they are worried, and the real risks, which we know aren’t high, to children.

    That said, it is truly good to hear that your kids do not feel this way.

    Just to be clear, this kid isn’t running around skittish at every moment. He plays with my dog in the backyard, and he doesn’t wear a mask when he does it.

    His true feelings were laid bare by his choice about Halloween though, and the news here is up-playing a “spike” that may have contributed to those feelings.

    Maybe this boy is doing what his parents have inadvertently signaled for him to do and he’s being compliant to their unspoken feelings. Maybe consciously they know covid isn’t a killer of kids, but unconsciously they make their own fears for him known.

    Very possible. I do not think his parents are frightened of Covid, but it’s hard to not be a little “off“ about the Covid environment. I mean, I’ll admit that I feel more on edge, and I’m not at all concerned about getting sick. (I’m in great health and fairly young.) Yet I am still more stressed in my daily life. And I’m a grownup.

    Then maybe he’s trying to take a little pressure off his parents.  Kids are pretty smart.

    • #18
  19. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Public schools should be independent of unions, State governments, even county governments and each other.  The changes New Zealand had to make when Great Britain joined the EC leaving New Zealand without their educational subsidies provide guidance for us. They bought off their left by picking a fight with the US over our ship visits, then eliminated the entire educational bureaucracy, turning schools over to teachers and parents, but not teachers unions, or teachers organizations, but teachers, school by school.  Parents could pick any school and state money followed them.  Schools had to compete.  They went from the bottom of Western schools to the top, just below Singapore because both parents and other teachers know which teachers were not up to the task.  We do not have to live with the educational bureaucracy and there is no change more important to our future. 

    • #19