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LANDERS: To the mask-less wonders, this column's for you

LANDERS: To the mask-less wonders, this column's for you


Don’t you just hate it when a complete stranger barges into your house with dirty shoes, raids your refrigerator, and kicks your dog as they leave? Or how about sitting in your favorite deer stand, on your property, to see some trespasser walk down the deer trail with a 30-30 rifle over their shoulder and a smug look on their face?

Would this irritate you? Would you feel like telling these people to get out, get lost, or some other choice words? Then maybe you can imagine how businesses and employees feel when people walk into their places without wearing masks.

I was in Home Depot the other day and shook my head at the amount of people who were defying the store’s mask policy. Very clearly on all entrances, at each register, all over the aisles, as well as several PA announcements, there were reminders that it is store policy to wear a mask while inside Home Depot. Yet here they were, the patrons with no mask, not caring at all because these rules apparently don’t apply to them. I have seen this at several stores and businesses, but it seems to be getting worse.

If you are one of those who think you don’t have to wear a mask in stores and private property that require it, this column is dedicated to you! Yes, you. You are such a special person, or at least you think you are.

Nobody I know likes wearing a mask. I hate the feeling myself and don’t like the inability to exchange a friendly smile to someone. But it’s not about me. It’s about helping others possibly during the greatest test in our lifetime. It is also about being courteous and compliant to the store owners whose property I am on. I am their guest, and if they want me to wear a mask while I am their guest, it is a pretty modest request. To not comply with a store’s mask policy is ignorant and disrespectful to other patrons, the employees, and the owners.

Today’s society is sadly filled with the selfish. Those who think they can get away with whatever they want and then challenge those who ask for their compliance to rules. They break the law then blame the cops when they get caught. They perform poorly at work and get fired, and then sue their employer. They illegally park in disabled stalls, cut in lines, trespass on land and generally think the world revolves around them. And they are those who don’t wear a mask on someone else’s property when they clearly see the signs and know it’s the store’s policy.

If these selfish people in our society were around during the Great Depression or World War II, this column would be in German and we’d be discussing what is the best soup kitchen in the area. These are people who don’t care about others while screaming about their own rights and privileges. It’s a testament to how far America has come in well, being un-American.

I spoke with one local store owner who expressed frustration that several patrons were not wearing masks in their store, even though the store very prominently tells patrons to mask up. Yet the store owner says that after approaching some patrons and reminding them to mask up, their employees were greeted with verbal assaults and outright physical threats, so they don’t say anything anymore. In other places across this state and nation, mask-less patrons violently attacked employees for being asked to wear a mask or leave.

That is why I am dedicating this column to all of you out there who have no valid excuse in not wearing a mask in businesses when asked to do so. You deserve your own column because after all, it is ALL ABOUT YOU!

You are what is wrong with this country. You pick and choose what rules you want to follow and have no consideration as to why these rules exist, or how they impact everyone else in life. You ignore the wishes of business owners and bully their store clerks and employees who are just doing their jobs. In the age of the hapless participation trophy, you can’t even earn that!

If simply wearing a mask is beneath you, why stop there? Show your true commitment to being rebellious. Don’t wear your seatbelt anymore. Stop paying your taxes. Tell your mortgage company to pound sand. Tell your boss to shove it. Have some guts and show some real defiance in your lives. Any so-called tough guy or girl can intimidate a store clerk or defy a sign, it’s about as brave as writing anonymous letters trying to get someone in trouble or fired, another hallmark of the self-righteous we loath in society.

People are longing for the end of this pandemic. People have lost or are losing their jobs in this crisis. We all have lost valuable time with friends and family. Above all else, people are dying, and these rebels could care less. This column is dedicated to all of you who don’t care, the mask-less wonders. Your selfishness is visible all over your face.

Brian Landers, a former Wisconsin Dells mayor, writes a weekly column for Capital Newspapers. Reach him at

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