Nancy Beckstrom,

Linda Burks, Jane Clark,

Ann Houston, Ava Osborn,

Karen Shiflet, Cindy Waits,

and Meredith Woodruff

Stillwater

To the editor:

To our fellow Stillwater citizens:

The controversy over mask wearing and whether a mandate to require it violates a U.S. citizen’s constitutional rights continues to be a subject of debate across the country. No doubt it ultimately will have to be resolved through the courts in the coming months.

Meanwhile, as we all are aware, the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is rising dramatically, even in Oklahoma. Thankfully, the mortality rate has been decreased as medical understanding of the disease and its treatments has improved. NONETHELESS, people are dying from COVID, and even those who survive are often left with lingering, sometimes even debilitating effects. While being “asymptomatic” may mean you won’t feel ill, it does not preclude you from spreading the disease to others who will.

Medical study after study have shown that wearing masks in public indoor locations reduces the likelihood and intensity of COVID contraction and spread. Last week, a report by the Oklahoma state epidemiologist demonstrated that during the past three months, Oklahoma communities without mask mandates experienced an average 88 percent rise in COVID cases while in communities with mask mandates, cases rose on an average of only 21 percent. The benefit of masks is indisputable.

And the downsides? Bothersome inconvenience? Minor discomfort? Invasion of personal rights?

We live in this wonderful community, Stillwater. Here the essence of “community” life is one of living together. This requires us to be responsible not just for ourselves but respectful to those around us. If wearing a mask in indoor public places helps to protect the lives of our fellow community members, can’t we each endure some inconvenience, suffer a little discomfort?

Enjoying the constitutional rights that foster “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is certainly our privilege. However, doing so at the possible cost of our neighbors’ lives and health is not only shockingly selfish, but dangerous.

With the knowledge we now have about mask wearing in the spread of COVID, wouldn’t we then be infringing on the very same liberties of those who wish to stay healthy, forcing them into isolation to ensure safety in a community that does not endorse mask wearing?

A small group of Stillwater residents is seeking to remove from office our mayor and city council members who are making extremely difficult decisions to keep all of us safe with mask mandates.

Please weigh your community responsibility in your decision regarding the removal of these courageous elected officials.

We thank our mayor and city council members for their service.

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