Even young children are not being spared during a rash of recent incidents in which pro-mask bullies have attacked complete strangers during their patrols of stores, parks and other locations looking for mask violators amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
A disturbing video posted to social media is a perfect demonstration of what can occur when those who feel entitled to enforce mask policies go too far.
A mother who entered a Walmart in Gainesville, Georgia, with her small children last week became the victim of mask bullying when she and her children were verbally assaulted by a grown woman wearing a mask, who felt compelled to point out that they were not.
WGCL-TV reported on the incident in which the family was told to “die” by a stranger for neglecting to cover up their mouths and noses.
In the video, the young mother, identified by WGCL-TV as Desiree Alis Vansickle, is confronted by an apparently deranged stranger.
Despite Vansickle informing her assailant that her children were too young to wear masks, per the store’s policy, the woman went on an unhinged rant.
“They’re not supposed to wear [masks],” Vansickle said of her children during the exchange.
Looking at Vansickle and her young children, the masked assailant said, “I hope you all die.”
Vansickle, who was obviously stirred by the encounter, responded, “You take care of yourself.”
“You’re going to kill me and my husband,” the masked assailant added.
As the masked assailant walked away, she turned around and boasted, “I’m wearing a mask,” as if her virtuous decision to cover her face absolved her from the verbal assault on the children and their mother.
This one is particularly jarring.
Since governments and major retailers began mandating the wearing of facial coverings in hopes they will help prevent the spread of COVID-19, masked citizens have been filmed humiliating ordinary Americans for refraining from covering up their faces.
Perhaps some people have educated themselves on the latest information about the coronavirus, and the efficacy of masks, and have simply chosen not to wear them.
Others, like Vansickle, simply made an impromptu stop and did not have masks for herself or her children to wear, as she explained to WGCL-TV.
“Whenever it all ended I just walked off and was shaking on the inside, and I started crying because I was so upset,” Vansickle said.
The young mother is the latest victim to report being bullied for daring to enter a public space without a mask.
The never-ending encounters feel like an Orwellian nightmare, in which people have been stripped of their right to make decisions about their health.
In the absence of government officials stepping in to correct perceived wrong behaviors, some citizens have taken it upon themselves to become the enforcers of mask policies and mandates.
The country is without a doubt going through unprecedented times, and tensions are high.
Still, there is no excuse for putting young children through such a traumatic event.
Instead of seeing more examples of unity amid the county’s woes, we are too often seeing the worst in people.
While the masked assailant in Georgia had her face covered, she let her own mask — so to speak — slip off, exposing her as a person filled with rage, fear and aggressiveness.
Vansickle, for her part, told WGCL-TV she hopes her assailant learns from her toxic behavior.
“I just prayed that she just went home and she thought about her actions, and what she said, and what she did affected a lot of people,” she told the outlet.