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There is a golden rule among firearm owners to treat all weapons as if they were loaded. You always keep your safety on and you never point your weapon at someone. Yet, thousands of needless tragedies and fatalities have occurred when these rules not followed.

Every one of these deaths are tragic, but I cannot imagine how the emotional trauma is compounded when family members are involved, as when, for example, a daughter accidentally kills her father on a hunting outing because she couldn’t detect a bullet hidden in the chamber of her gun. In this case, a life is lost and another is forever burdened with grief and guilt.

Not once, in my 50 years as a hunter and gun owner, have I heard anybody complain or protest that their “freedoms” are being compromised because they are expected to keep their safety on and not point their weapon (loaded or unloaded) at someone. Universally, you respect the lethal potential of your weapon and you respect the people around you.

So, I am troubled by the belligerence of some members in my state who refuse to wear a mask in these times of extreme pandemic. Like it or not, today any one of us may be carrying a deadly but undetected virus like a bullet hidden in our chamber. Read the news: daughters and sons are accidentally killing strangers and family members alike. Deaths are rising and businesses are locked down or forever closed because of rampant Covid transmission.

Wearing a mask is not about giving up a freedom. It’s about respecting the lethal potential of this invisible weapon called Covid. It’s about avoiding the tragedy of accidentally killing loved ones and strangers. It’s about respecting life and respecting each other. Please “put your safety on” by wearing a mask.

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Doug Mavor