Where is the line between encouraging public health and public shaming? For LGBTQ Nation and many on the left, it seems to depend on your cultural and political views. The publication’s headline, “A transphobic veteran returned from war & refused to wear a mask. He died on the Fourth of July,” illustrates the mindset entirely.
The veteran in question, 37-year-old Richard Rose, was diagnosed with COVID-19 July 1 and passed away three days later from complications. He had no other pre-existing health conditions. Rose served in the U.S. Army for nine years, did two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and helped homeless vets and worked to prevent veteran suicides.
None of this, however, was important to LGBT activist ToddThaGod, who researched Rose’s Facebook and created a slideshow of assorted posts he felt exposed the veteran as a bad person. The slideshow featured posts of Rose expressing skepticism of masks, criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement, and, most damning of all, a meme in which a child tells a teacher there are “two” genders.
This particular sin was of particular importance to LGBTQ Nation. Being deemed “transphobic” is enough, it seems, to wipe away whatever good a person does in life. The slideshow currently has 3.6 million views.
A friend of Rose stated, “We should still be compassionate whether we agree with someone’s beliefs or not. Someone has passed away, and we should have some compassion towards that.”
“Conley did not explain why people should be compassionate about someone’s deliberate decision to endanger others,” LGBTQ Nation responded. ToodThaGod replied to his slideshow tweet, “Remember y’all: Mask it or casket.”
Another LGBT activist, John Aravosis, engaged in similar public humiliation in a tweet, saying, “78 y.o. Alabama man staunchly refused to wear a mask or social distance. He’s dead now.” Air Force veteran Joe Hinton was diagnosed with the Wuhan coronavirus and died five days later from complications. During the crisis, his family said he refused to live in fear. But as Aravosis announced to his 107,000 followers, Hinton did not wear a mask during his daily routine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing masks, saying, “Cloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice.” The CDC also states, “A cloth face covering may not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others.”
Explaining why medical and public health experts did not recommend wearing masks early in the pandemic, the CDC says, “At that time, experts didn’t yet know the extent to which people with COVID-19 could spread the virus before symptoms appeared. Nor was it known that some people have COVID-19 but don’t have any symptoms. Both groups can unknowingly spread the virus to others.”
The assumption that Rose and Hinton were infected because they didn’t wear masks is just that, an assumption. It is also unfair to assume they infected anyone else. What is puzzling is how a person can become infected and even die while all those around him can remain uninfected.
But left-wing activists seem to be particularly thrilled at the prospect of people they already do not like becoming sick and dying of this illness, calling it a “punishment.” LGBTQ Nation presented this particular view in an article titled, “If HIV was God’s punishment for gays, then coronavirus is punishment for conservative Christians.”
Of course, these writers are the ones engaging in the behavior to which they are alluding. While many in the early days of AIDS blamed gay men for becoming infected with HIV based on their behavior and refusal to engage in safety measures, today this immoral position is the one these LGBT activists hold over those who have died from COVID-19.
The pandemic has been wildly political, the causes and prevention methods have widely shifted, and the rules of public gatherings have depended on the political position of the expert being interviewed. It is not unreasonable for average people to question these things.
The families and friends of both men have asked for others to take precautions, and it is important that we all do not become complacent and ignore precautions due to the politicized nature of the pandemic. But we also cannot indulge cruel and sociopathic public shaming of politically convenient victims.
No one deserves to be infected with coronavirus, and no one deserves to die from it. No family deserves to be exploited as a cautionary tale for society, and a person’s value should not be reduced to a few cherry-picked social media posts.