I am reaching out to you today because I am disturbed by the recent rash of mask mandates sweeping across the state. This concerns me, and many other Idahoans, for a whole host of reasons, and I have attempted to address some of them in various articles on this website, but there is one that concerns me above all others.
As I have attended city council meetings where mandates have been discussed, and watched Idaho mayors call for mandates in their cities, there seems to be an underlying assumption that maskless citizens are doing so out of a selfish disregard for others, and for no other reason than perhaps ignorance.
It is disgusting that our representatives would lead out like this in assuming the absolute worst of people, and basically laying the blame for the rise in coronavirus "cases" on them. There is absolutely no proof that the rise in "cases" can be blamed on the maskless (this subject is addressed elsewhere on this website), and I, personally, refuse to assume the worst of my fellow citizens.
As I have read the guidelines put out by local health departments, as well as the CDC, I have noticed that these guidelines are always accompanied by multiple exemptions, including "Any person with a diagnosed medical condition, mental health condition, or disability which prevents wearing a face covering".
What kind of "medical condition, mental health condition, or disability" could possibly prevent someone from wearing a face covering?
Let me get personal for a moment. As these mandates have gotten out of control, people like some of my long-time friends and close family members, have felt compelled to go public with extremely sensitive personal information that I was not previously aware of, about why they will not be wearing masks. The most common? Forceful rape where the perpetrator held their hand over the victim's mouth.
According to 2015 data from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, more than 21% of women in the United States will be raped at some time in their lives, and 2.6% of men. This represents almost 30 million people. Do you suppose some of them might live here in the state of Idaho? Are they exercising a selfish disregard for others, or just trying to live their lives without a constant reminder of an atrocity where they were violated?
Keep in mind that, just as I was unaware that these things had happened to these people close to me, odds are that YOU also know people who have suffered in this same way, unbeknownst to you!
Idaho citizens also suffer from PTSD (both from military experience and otherwise), asthma and other breathing problems (another issue that hits very close to home for me and my family, affecting 19.2 million people in the US, according to CDC statistics), debilitating anxiety (affecting 40 million adults in the United States), and others.
And guess what? None of these things are any of your business. Though HIPAA guidelines may not legally prevent a business from asking why someone is not wearing a mask… should you? Would you want your wife, daughter, or friend confronted with their horrible past, or have to discuss their medical history with a non-medical layperson, in order to simply buy groceries?
Those calling for mandates keep using the word "compassion". I am calling for compassion, as well. Compassion for those among us who suffer health and other problems that they did not ask for. If you would like to show compassion for your neighbors, for your community, let us begin by trusting our neighbors.
When you see someone not wearing a mask, instead of outrage, why not feel a sense of compassion for their unseen suffering? With the unfortunate prevalence of just the few issues I outlined above, there is a much higher chance that this is true than that they are simply being selfish or uncaring.
In this light, we invite you to copy and display the enclosed poster that declares just that.
Will you experience some pushback from others in the community? More than likely. We invite you to educate them on this subject, rather than discriminate against the innocent. There is an unfortunate divide growing among our citizens, driven specifically by this issue. We invite you to be a part of the solution, and not the problem. Further, we invite you to take your concerns to the Lord, who knows all things, has all power, and certainly knows how to heal us, physically, emotionally, and socially.
Love and respect,
Rod Klingler Founder, Defending Idaho
The following posters can be downloaded as JPGs or PDFs and printed out to hang in your place of business!
Feel free to share the files or a link to this page, so everyone can know that you respect the right of Idahoans to take responsibility for their own health, and the right of those who suffer in silence to do so without being harassed!