Signs of COVID-19 are visible around the Denver metro area, including this car owner hanging a number of disposable masks from the rearview mirror on December 16, 2020 in Denver. (Kathryn Scott, Special to The Colorado Sun)

This is my response to my friend John, who recently posted on Nextdoor: “Come January 1st, my mask is off. What’s next, handcuffs?”

John, I am sorry to hear that. I fought for our freedoms, just as you did. But I have always understood that, while we cherish our freedom in this country, we are also a cooperative country.

That is, we all do, or should, recognize that we have laws, rules and regulations that limit our freedoms in the interest of protecting each other.

Ken Deshaies

With freedom also comes responsibility. We can be cited for speeding, running stop lights, cutting other drivers off, driving recklessly or in any way that endangers others.

We are not allowed to kill each other or steal each other’s property. Why is that? Because we also respect that others have the right to live freely. That includes the freedom to know that others have no right to harm us, regardless of the color or our skin or our beliefs.

This is exemplified by rules established by community health initiatives. Our mayors and governors face tough decisions, and most try to make those decisions based on information provided by our scientists and other experts. They take a lot of heat for that.

But you wearing a mask protects both you and me and everyone around us. By doing that, you protect my freedom as well as yours.

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There are those who still try to claim that the science behind the need to wear masks is not well established. They tend to ignore the fact that this coronavirus is new, and the science has evolved as we have learned more about it. Current rules are based on the latest and most complete knowledge that we have.

So, I strongly encourage everyone to continue to pay attention, to honor the science and abide by the orders established by authorities.

As of Jan. 11 we had more than 370,000 dead so far from this virus nationwide. I do not intend to be another statistic, and I will do what I can to insure that you, as well, do not become one.

Our hospitals are near capacity, and we are losing front-line workers who succumb to the sickness that they are helping all of us to prevent.

I was appalled in December when I heard a recording on NPR of a woman who said at a town meeting in Idaho that she wished medical professionals would stop “sobbing and moaning” and “providing misinformation” to the public.

And I wanted to repeat those words spoken by attorney Joseph Welch to Sen. Joseph McCarthy at a Senate hearing in 1954: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”

Ken Deshaies of Littleton is a longtime real estate executive and author who lived in Summit County for nearly 20 years.

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Ken Deshaies

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