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Pastor Tony Spell, of Life Tabernacle Church in Central, makes a strident appeal to spectators during a recess for executive committee time, during a meeting of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Wednesday. The meeting was adjourned because of disorderly conduct by spectators refusing to wear masks.

I had a conversation with a physician this week. Just to be clear, this was a real doctor, someone who graduated from a real medical school and all that stuff. He is not a Facebook physician or political grandstander. Nope, he is the real thing.

The subject was anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers but focused on the subgroup who turn into medical vigilantes and anti-science screamers at school board meetings and the like. That subgroup says no good can come from kids wearing masks.

“How many dead children is an acceptable number for them? Is it six? Is it seven?” asked the doctor, adding science shows masks help prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19.

I pose another question: How many ill or dead teachers, principals, cafeteria workers and janitors are acceptable for this group? My guess is any number that doesn’t include members of the subgroup themselves or their children.

I’m not using the doctor’s name in an abundance of caution for him lest anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers try to put him on their “We-will-find-out-where-you-live” list or stand outside his office to hurl epithets.

We both pondered the question: If many in those groups profess to be pro-life, how can they support a position that scientists and doctors say could reduce severe sickness and the deaths of children?

Has anyone asked the children if they care about masks? Somehow I don’t see classrooms of children crying about the mask or little ones getting off the school buses flopping around on the ground because the masks are bothering them. And consider the trade-off of a bit of discomfort to save lives.

I do see parents wailing, threatening teachers and in at least one case in California actually beating a teacher for enforcing masking rules. Wait, maybe these violent anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers are actually antifa or Black Lives Matter supporters. Or the Proud Boys. Who knows?

On several occasions, parents have said wearing a mask or choosing not to wear a mask is like the days of segregation. What? Mask mandates are designed to help people live and reduce their chances of getting ill. The segregation I lived through had nothing to do with helping me or folks that looked like me live; it was the opposite, designed to deprive me of my ability to meet my needs.

Conversely, this so-called segregation involving masks and vaccines seeks to ensure we all have better odds of living and thriving. Civics lessons teach us that in a democracy, your rights end where mine begin, and vice versa. You should not have the right to walk around unmasked after you’ve refused the vaccine and threatened the lives of me and my family.

Please, folks, don’t use the term “segregation.” It doesn’t apply here. It’s like a recent former U.S. president who claimed the legal mess he was in was akin to a lynching. Really? He left out the part that thousands of people, mostly people of color, lost their lives in lynchings.

Not the same thing.

The doctor and I wondered out loud if some people claiming government overreach also complain about speed limits and safe car seats for children. Do they feel oppressed by traffic lights impeding their desire to drive clean through intersections anytime they feel like it? Why should the government make sure the food I eat is safe?

We also wonder whether the kids of angry anti-vaxxers and maskers are going to be more traumatized by the masks or by mom or dad threatening or beating a teacher for imposing a mask rule?

Could the following scenarios be the result: Hey, lil’ Mikey, if you don’t like a rule, beat the stew out of the person in charge. Hey, Jennie, when you get to be about 10 years old, stand up at meetings so you can shout over people trying to have civil conversations about saving your life. Check out your Mom; she really knows how to do it.

The doctor and I both believe masks and vaccinations protect children and everyone they come in contact with. More so, it protects the children so the parents won’t have to think about this quote: “The hardest part of losing a child is living every day afterwards.”

Our Views: GOP House members depart from our COVID-19 reality, play to extremist crowd

Email Edward Pratt, a former newspaperman, at