I’ve just heard yet another news report about anti-lockdown protests in London, people chanting “take your freedom back.” What freedom has been taken away exactly? The freedom to contract a potentially deadly virus and then pass it on to someone else who might then die or perhaps the freedom to die yourself? Such people say it’s their responsibility if they catch it, or they don’t believe it exists – one man, when asked if he had a face mask said he hadn’t and was asked to remain behind the screen instead at which point he said “it’s sad that you’ve got to believe in this crap”– and this attitude demonstrates the levels of sheer selfishness in modern society and ignorance in the face of overwhelming evidence – ask someone whose relative has died from it if it isn’t real. Their protest is not about freedom, it’s about ego. It’s about being told they can’t have parties, go to the pub and show off to their friends. If they wear a mask then it means accepting, visibly, that they’re not able to do whatever they damn well like, that they’re not so badass and indestructible. They’re terrified that they’ll look silly in a mask, weak, or afraid of the virus. They’re terrified they’ll look boring, subservient or submissive, it’s not cool to follow rules. They want to show that they’re too special or tough to be affected, that even if they catch it it won’t bother them, when this attitude is demonstrated by so-called celebrities who should be setting a good example then it’s all the worse.
What they’re also showing is that they care not a jot about anyone but themselves.
Since we started wearing face coverings in the UK I’ve seen quite a few people, men and women, wearing a mask over their mouth but not nose – a fundamental misunderstanding of the plumbing inside their own heads and the nature of Covid-19, preferring to live, as it does, in the lungs not the mouth, it’s not fatal halitosis. I also saw a young couple, of the type you see on so-called Reality TV shows – all gelled hair and excessive makeup. He was wearing a mask and at first sight she wasn’t, until I noticed she was wearing one – on her wrist. I know she might have had a good reason to take it off but you have to wonder if she was instead taking the definition of “wearing” at face value, or not face value. In our shop a man came in with what appeared to be a scarf covering his mouth and when he started to talk he pulled it down to around his neck. I saw the same thing in another shop. I wonder what they think the face coverings are actually for. Similarly during the Tour de France and Giro D’Italia there were spectators stood in the road on the slow climbs, leaning in to within a couple of feet of the riders, shouting “encouragement” at them, many with their masks worn round their neck or on their chin at the most – potentially one big dose of the virus sprayed into each cyclist’s face. No doubt it would have been the same at other such events. I’ve even heard it said that “it’s ok, I’m outdoors” – hence large groups travel halfway across the country to see some snow.
The first lockdown was imposed because something had to be done fast to keep people apart as face masks weren’t readily available. But it was also because of the reason the subsequent lockdowns have happened – because a large number of people won’t follow rules and as such they have to be legislated into doing so. We’re told to wear masks, many won’t; we’re told to stay two metres apart, they won’t; we’re told not to go to each others houses or gather in large groups, people gather in large groups and have parties at each others houses, or just continue to visit their friends and family like nothing’s happened.
The lockdown measures aren’t the fault of the government or scientists but the arrogant and/or stupid who refuse to follow simple rules, who can’t compromise for a year – to go without socialising, to go without their holidays like most of us have. If they’d be sensible then the pubs that they complain about being closed could still be open.
Those crying about losing their freedom would still expect the NHS to make them better if they catch the virus, they’ll probably also be the ones shouting loudest to get the vaccine first too. Our global situation needs cooperation not selfishness – we’ve seen plenty of the former but sadly too much of the latter.
[For those outside the UK the title refers to our Tiered Lockdown system, where we’re mostly in Tier 4, or is it 5?]