OPINION

Independence council caved on mask mandate

The Examiner

Marvin Sands, Independence 

To the editor: 

On Aug. 16, the Independence City Council met to conduct its business as normal. On the agenda was an item concerning the mandating of masks as a protective measure for all of the city’s residents. What ensued was a parade of citizens offering very similar statements suggesting the mayor, Eileen Weir, was inappropriately proposing a mask mandate for 30 days. Testimonials ran from the bizarre to the ridiculous as one after the other lined up for their individual turns.  

Most claimed that the mandating of masks violated the Missouri and the U.S. Constitutions. Some even suggested that the mandating of masks was an infringement on their freedoms, while still others suggested that masks don’t work and therefore are a waste of time and effort. And some even suggested that masks would place undue burdens on their businesses.  

Council Member Dan Hobart backed Mayor Weir’s resolution to impose a 30-day mask mandate for indoor public places and outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people. 

All of those who testified missed an elementary and vital point and a basic responsibility of government that each of them should have learned in elementary school, junior high school, high school and perhaps even in college. Four of the council members also missed this elementary point – that governments have a primary responsibility to protect citizens at any costs when faced with an impending emergency that could impact its entire region.  

The COVID-19 delta variant is a killer with no set of parameters as to whom it shall infect next and how many. It is not at all impartial and will attack whoever gets in its way with a devastating and deadly impact.  

The Centers for Disease Control and other health agencies have said many times that masks work and are a fundamental tool when applied correctly. Last fall, because many wore masks in public and inside businesses, the common cold and the flu were nearly non-existent, thus proving the validity of mask wearing. The CDC even goes to the extent to encourage mask wearing in parts of the U.S. where the disease is surging, and here in Missouri it has indeed been surging.  

So for Council Members Mike Steinmeyer, Mike Huff, Brice Stewart and John Perkins, I am incredibly disappointed that each of you did not uphold your oath of office, which requires you to protect the citizens of your community when faced with an emergency – a deadly and perilous disease. Instead you took the easy way out and succumbed to the maddening crowd that swarmed into the City Council chambers on this particular Monday night. That crowd was eerily similar to those raucous malcontents with ropes in their hands as they descended upon the sheriff’s office in those old western movies demanding the sheriff release his prisoner so they could string him up from the nearest tree.  

Shame on all four of you.