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Letters: Does Tennessee need a mask ban?

Johnson City Press • Feb 2, 2020 at 6:00 AM

With this week’s Question of the Week, we asked our readers for their thoughts on a proposed mask ban in the Tennessee General Assembly. Here are some of the responses we received.

What’s behind the mask ban?

How will the proposed law deal with face and body paint? Heavy makeup? Respiratory masks? What about hoodies or ski-hats that cover nose and mouth in really cold weather? Really big sunglasses? Could facial plastic surgery be considered a mask made of flesh?

If there are exceptions for certain holidays then expect a constitutional challenge on grounds of church-state separation (yes, Halloween is historically a religious holiday).

Bans often turn out to be an overly simple and ineffective way to address complex problems. Remember the failure of Prohibition to eliminate alcohol problems? Guns are used to commit crimes, but we don't ban guns. Instead we tack on some extra punishment when a gun is used during a crime. If masks are sometimes a problem and are enough of a problem to warrant a law, then why not keep it simple and make wearing a mask an aggravating factor at sentencing if it was worn during the commission of a crime? Do we really need to make mask-wearing a separate stand-alone crime?

This proposed bill reminds me that the most dangerous disguise in the state of Tennessee may be the mask of sanity worn from time-to-time in some chambers of our legislature.

THOMAS SCHACHT
Johnson City

No need for mask ban

We do not need Big Brother infringing any further into our lives. A simple solution might be to increase fines and penalties in existing laws when a mask or device is used to hide your identity while committing a crime of vandalism, assault, etc. But we do not need government to tell us how to dress.

BILL CHASE
Johnson City

Here are some letters we received about other topics of interest to our readers.

‘Fake news’ resolution is bad news

I just saw that Rep. Micah Van Huss is sponsoring a bill in the Tennessee House to proclaim that CNN and The Washington Post be deemed as "fake news."

I hope that the rest of the House and the people of Tennessee realize that our representatives have more important things to do than play games in order to gain favor with our president and his administration.

No single news organization or newspaper is better, or worse, than any other. A responsible citizen must listen to all sides, and then decide for themselves who is right and who is not.

Please, Tennessee, let's not become a narrow-minded people that only listen to one voice.

Hear them all and then make good, qualified choices as to what is right and best for our state and country.

RICK ELLIOTT
Johnson City

Democrats’ case is weak

“If Republicans refuse to call witnesses, then it’s a cover-up.”

So goes the mantra of pol- tested sound bytes. OK. What then is the refusal to allow the defense to call witnesses while the prosecution is permitted to call any witnesses they want?

Isn't this a cover up that the prosecution’s case is so weak it can’t stand any challenge. While it’s a way to create sound bytes and sway opinion, it ignores the fact that Democrat leadership has already done exactly what they accuse Republicans of doing.

JACK VAN ZANDT
Jonesborough

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