Be respectful to all and do your part to keep this wonderful community safe

| July 30, 2020 1:00 AM

To all my Sandpoint and wider Bonner Country residents,

What a strange time we all find ourselves in. It is truly a historic moment that will have a place in the history books.

Though it may be hard to imagine, this letter is not politically motivated, rather I am writing this letter as a fellow human being, a fourth-generation Sandpointian, and community member.

Whatever you may think of the COVID-19 virus, where it came from, how it’s being used to influence politics, the coverage of it in the media, the truth of the matter is it is a very real thing that has taken 136,000 US lives with many more on the rise. Behind each of those deaths are family members and friends. For those of us who have experienced the weight of tragic loss, we should understand how incredibly devastating this is and should shutter at the very thought of all those who are directly and indirectly affected.

As Americans, we are being told by the scientific community that we should all be wearing masks when we go out in public. Keep in mind these are the same institutions we look to when it comes to other medical breakthroughs like cancer or diabetes treatment. For decades now the US has been praised for its innovations in medical treatment, so why are we questioning those same institutions now? Especially when all that is being requested of us is to simply wear a mask.

Going through downtown Sandpoint it is clear that we have a false sense of security that we are protected from this virus in our isolated oasis. But as we have seen from communities all around the country, no one is Immune - red states, blue states, big cities, and small towns. Take a walk through downtown and you’ll see license plates from Colorado, California, Washington, Texas, and others. We are not isolated.

What I am asking is that we all do our small part to protect the wider community by wearing masks. By wearing a mask you are protecting those around you. Taking this extra precaution while visiting stores and restaurants helps to ensure the safety of the employees so that the restaurant and stores can stay open and don’t have to close, or help ensure we don’t infect someone who then has to isolate for two or more weeks without income. When we don’t take this simple precaution what we are really saying to those around us is ‘we don’t care about your well being’. And in a small community like this, we should care. We should care about our neighbors, our friends, and our community that is so incredibly special.

And for those who say the request infringes on our rights as Americans to do as we please, what about smoking indoors? What about wearing condoms to protect against STIs, or laws against drinking and driving or speeding?These are not infringements on your rights as Americans, these are safety precautions that help ensure the safety of ourselves and others.

And for those who feel the mask makes it hard for them to breathe or a bit uncomfortable, I’d say it’s a hell of a lot easier to breathe with a mask than a ventilator. (If you don’t believe me, YouTube what is required when out in a ventilator. )

Please be respectful, and please do your small part to keep this community safe.

PETE GIBSON

Sandpoint