The Swedish didn’t hide in a Hobbit Hole and wait for the Ringwraith to pass like the rest of the people across the land and sea. Leaders didn’t harangue locals en masse. They have no mask mandates, no snitch hotlines for neighbors to ring and no leaked footage of a town that tethers those who resist to the end of a lead as they prance them up and down the court square. To live-stream video of this nature may be a spectator sport, but to no avail; it’s native to our corner of the planet. Hence, they won’t catch clips of the security guard cuffing a mom on a bleacher before he shoots her at close range with his Taser. Nor will they get to see the slides capturing the face of each child on the field below, who were no doubt watching in horror — one of them belonging to her. They don’t task police to round up those who don’t don a mask to toss in the back of a paddy wagon. This Nordic province did see a spike in elderly death. The critics pounced on them, as if a decree to stay open is tantamount to offering up in sacrifice. Yet heaven help the dreg who’d dare measure Tsar Cuomo with the same yardstick. The news anchor Shepherd Smith brings us an undercover grocery store exposé; the smiles on the face of cashiers and customers tell the tale. This is the sort of report to cash in on for a Pulitzer, if history’s a gauge. We have the medieval practice of public — and mask — shaming down to an art form, to be sure. We don’t bear in mind that there are some who’d do well to catch a breath on a good day. How long must they endure the snide poo-poos of the passersby? At what point will we tap the well of indignation dry? We ought to grab the broom and dustpan to sweep the clutter out of our mind to pitch in the bin. The mask debate and mandates lay the field of theoretical postulations, which are central to scientific theory, bare. In laymen terms, science evolves. It’s as though the scientific community is trying to gaslight us. At first, Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center tells us to wear a mask if we are sick. This falls in line with the WHO, the CDC and Dr. Fauci. All work tirelessly to drive this point home. Now they prod us to wear two or three masks; wonder who is going to cash in if we do. The mixed message is it can only keep medical professionals safe. The same question swirls in my brain: How can a mask work for a doctor, but not me? From the word go, many branded those who’d wear a mask as a fearmonger. Be that as it may, I hold my life and limb in high regard. Why cower to the cat calls from the same faction who’d fly from one end of the spectrum to the other in a matter of mere months. A “face covering” may shield you from the glare of disdain, but it is not a mask. What’s more, the “Made in China” label warns that it isn’t an effective barrier to ward off COVID-19. Follow the CDC and wear a mask if you’re going to pack in like a can of sardines in a public space. It’s moot to loop one on with dirty hands. Don’t tinker with it, let it dangle from an ear, or wear one while riding a bike, like President Joe Biden. And do not tuck it under your chin the way U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does (CDC, 2020). A good rule of thumb is not to shadow the nitwits in D.C. California Gov. Gavin Newsome is the fool who snubs the science and tells us to eat with a mask on. That said, a maskless “King” Gavin can enjoy an evening of indoor dining. But not you, peasant. The 10 or so who made the guest list at this soirée include the lobbyists and medical execs, those who write the song but won’t dance to their own propaganda shuffle. It was 45 who’d innovate and propel the joint logistics of Operation Warp Speed. He deployed the military to deliver shots; the states grab the baton and pass it to districts. This is the pit stop to get it in the arm of the people. At this phase, a rare level of incompetence riddles the Ringmaster Cuomo, who broods in a bitter brew. A president who toys with shipping vaccines across the pond first isn’t going to stand in the trenches to fight for his constituents. This is what Dr. Emanuel et al pose in the Fair Model Priority. Giving the country that had to foot the billion-dollar bill dibs hardly reflects a sense of disquietude in global sharing. Besides, in the name of “distributive justice,” the philanthropic pharmaceuticals promise to set stock aside (Emanuel, Persad & Kern, 2020). A state head who’d horde a lifesaving serum is heinous. For them to parcel “vaccine nationalism” out as the same is as daft as it is farcical for a bioethicist to tout equity and ethics in allocation, all the while mums the word with gain of function research. These Frankenstein experiments are a ticking time bomb for a plague to erupt and encompass the earth. The threat triggered then-President Barack Obama to slap a ban on them. In spite of the moratorium, Fauci and his team of mad scientists hop on a rail northbound. They ride with the wind and head for the summit of castle catastrophe, aka the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. He is the source who funds the risky research “which turn benign animal viruses into human pathogens capable of causing pandemics (Breggin & Breggin, 2020).” It’s like granting him with the gift of foresight to predict the nuclear core will melt at Chernobyl. Yet in lieu of a change, he’ll play out the exact sequence of events, then act flabbergasted when there’s still fallout. It’s time to call a spade a spade, distinguishing the 15 days to lower the curve from the onerous shutdown policies for political gain. Linking a death to coronavirus is like a coroner skipping car crash or cancer to check flu on the report. Locking down those who live in tight quarters may have a bearing on the count. With the degree of deception and erosion of trust, who knows? It’s a headscratcher for a 63-year-old with a comorbidity to stave off COVID-19 at home — no therapeutics. By contrast, the fit Louisiana congressman-elect, Luke Letlow, dies at 41. He didn’t have the physical hindrances that align with COVID mortality (Elfrink, 2020). To reach herd immunity, a certain percentage of the population must have antibodies. The flaw with this is that it assumes a person can only catch the virus one time. It doesn’t account for mutated strains. Who will make us privy when we do cross the threshold? Will the same powers-that-be who keep us in the dark now be the ones to fill us in? We need to shut down gain-offunction tests to thwart a future pandemic. Until we do, normal will just be a knob on the dryer. The rule-makers who flout their guidelines may learn the hard way. But at the end of the day, we should do what’s best for our family and community. In life-or-death stakes, a trial by fire just isn’t worth the gamble. RAINA FISHER is a child activist, writer and psychologist writing a memoir on parental alienation. She lives on County Home Road near Paris; her email address is email@example.com.