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Letter: As a Utahn ‘abroad,’ I’m ashamed of my home state

Andrew Pulsipher protests Gov. Gary Herbert’s mask mandate and new COVID-19 restrictions outside of the Governor’s Mansion in Salt Lake City on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

I grew up in the Salt Lake Valley but moved to the job-rich Chicago area after my Army service because the technology boom had not yet hit Utah. Still, my roots and family are in Utah, so I keep up with my “hometown” news.

What has happened to my state? I knew my fellow Utahns to be smart, honest, considerate folks.

I see national news reports that community meetings to talk about mask usage are canceled after they are crowded with people refusing to wear masks. I hear of unmasked church meetings making attendance for my vulnerable relatives a life-threatening sacrifice — of people in hospital waiting rooms who remove their masks as soon as the nurse leaves the crowded public space.

Why are so many Utahns disregarding medical and scientific experts’ recommendations for slowing down the spread of a deadly and easily communicable disease?

No one would accept a smoker blowing smoke in their face because years of second-hand smoke could cause cancer or pulmonary problems. How can we then accept an unmasked person whose one breath of virus-laden air could cause others to suffer and die?

World War II brought shortages, rationing, window blackouts and the loss of thousands of servicemen. Their sacrifice was surely much greater than our “sacrifice” to wear a mask. Our parents and grandparents — who survived a war, a pandemic, a depression and then two more wars — would look at our mask complaints and think we are wimps.

Utah, the well-masked and socially distant world is looking askance at you. Can you stifle your discomfort, put your cries of “personal freedom” aside, and wear a mask to protect your neighbors and my family and friends?

Franklin Sorenson

Naperville, Illinois