Wearing of masks should be done as a service to others

Dear Editor,

I am writing in repose to a letter by Art Bachman in last week’s paper. His comment about “genetic cleansing” illustrates his true prejudiced beliefs, akin to Steven Miller and President Trump – that some people are less valuable than others. The writer must have older relatives and friends that he considers expendable, people to be sacrificed for his greater good. His statements are ugly and unamerican. What happened to the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? One person’s rights cannot interfere with another person’s right to life.

If Mr. Bachman had listened to CNN and MSNBC, he would know that the virus is also spread by droplets from coughs, breathe, sneezes from others. A mask is not worn to protect the wearer from Covid 19 virus; It does not protect one from the virus. All those people wearing funny masks that he interprets as being fearful are wearing masks to protect others from themselves in case they have the virus. Nobody knows whether they have the virus. You can have it and not show symptoms. Few people can get tested since tests are scare except if you are in the White House where you can be tested daily or more.

Wearing a mask is community service. By wearing a mask, others are protected from someone who has the virus. Not wearing a mask is a sign that the person is uncaring, selfish, arrogant; that the health of others is unimportant. Since they believe the virus will not be very harmful to themselves, they are unconcerned that it may be devastating to someone else.

So everyone should continue wearing masks especially as we open up. It protects others from you and shows that you care.

Judi Anne Sheppard


Writer’s words were reminiscent of dark chapters in history

Dear Editor,

I was reluctant to respond to a letter from a person in Gum Springs who wrote about the COVID-19 scare. I just could not let this letter go by without a response. The thing that I find repugnant and scary is this writer’s comment that “even if one million people died it would only be .3 per cent of our population. Probably the appropriate amount of genetic cleansing”.

This term brings to mind the Crusaders who were going to destroy the Arab hordes and save Christianity, the KKK who were going to eliminate the blacks and Catholics or Nazi Germany who were going to rid the Earth of gypsys, Catholics and Jews, or the Apartheid government on South Africa. The term” genetic cleansing” is unacceptable in any humane and thoughtful society.

This writer appears to think it is OK that many of the dying were previously sick and elderly. Let us just forget about those folks, apparently, they are not worth worrying about.

The writer thinks that this is the biggest hoax in American history. He also details how he is making alcohol wipes to combat this hoax. To whose advantage is this hoax? I only hope that someone in this writer’s family or social circle does not die from this hoax.

Jeff Brownstein

Manakin Sabot

Misinterpretation of facts leads to error concerning masks

Dear Editor,

I was pleased to see Art Bachman’s letter to the editor in the May 7, 2020, edition of the Goochland Gazette.

Not because I agree with what Mr. Bachman has espoused about coronavirus in his several recent published letters – I emphatically do not – but because I feared that his failure to have written the previous week might have been an indication that that he had contracted the disease. Apparently, and fortunately, he has not. At least, not yet.

Let me be direct: I disagree with virtually everything Mr. Bachman has had to say about the coronavirus scourge. But while he is entitled to his own opinions, he is not entitled to his own facts.

It is not my present purpose to engage with Mr. Bachman’s more provocative views, such as that “the coronavirus hype is the biggest hoax in American history,” the deaths of a million Americans is more tolerable than the economic consequences of the nation’s current efforts to limit the disease, and that coronavirus deaths effect an appropriate “genetic cleansing.” These are matters of opinion, and I respect Mr. Bachman’s right to argue his case.

But, while I accept that alternative opinions should be tolerated, I do not feel the same about alternative facts. And one supposed “fact” that Mr. Bachman postulates relating to the method by which coronavirus spreads is considered inaccurate by every reputable source I have consulted.

That supposed “fact” is Mr. Bachman’s assertion that “[t]he way you get coronavirus is by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your face.” While contact with contaminated surfaces is certainly one way of contracting the disease, it is simply not the only way, or even the principal means, by which the disease is transmitted.

As explained in their website by no less an authoritative source than the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best scientific evidence is that the primary mechanism by which coronavirus spreads is not surface-to-person. Rather it is spread primarily from person-to-person, “through respiratory droplets produced when the infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.” And, no, Mr. Bachman, this is not a mere talking point advocated by CNN or MSNBC or some other “left wing” source that you disparage; this is the official position of the arm of the federal government with particular expertise in studying the spread of infectious diseases.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bachman’s misunderstanding of the primary means by which the coronavirus is transmitted leads him to an erroneous, and dangerous, conclusion about face masks. While Mr. Bachman boldly asserts that “masks don’t accomplish much of anything,” the CDC flatly disagrees. Their website is emphatic that wearing masks effectively limits the spread of the disease, and unequivocally advises that “everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they go out in public.” Why? Not to protect the wearer, but to protect others to whom the wearer might unknowingly transmit the disease if the wearer is infected.

Mr. Bachman, you may well be correct that by wearing a face covering you do not protect yourself from becoming infected. But that is not the point. The point is, that if you are infected, wearing a face mask reduces the risk that you will transmit your infection to others.

Likewise, Mr. Bachman, when other folks wear a face mask in public places, that conduct reduces the likelihood that they will unknowingly transmit the disease to you.

So, Mr. Bachman, I hope by this letter to raise your consciousness about two matters. First, you should be thankful that others in the community choose to wear what you so glibly characterize as “goofy masks.” By doing so, they protect you. So, if you remain healthy, as I hope you do, you may have those who wear masks to thank for your good fortune.

And, second, I encourage you to join the ranks of those responsible individuals who choose to wear face coverings in public. By doing so, you would show respect for your fellow citizens by not unnecessarily exposing them to potential danger in the event that you are an unknowing coronavirus carrier who simply has not yet shown symptoms.

Mr. Bachman, your failure to abide by the CDC’s guidance to wear masks in public – indeed, your demeaning of the CDC’s expertise – is a selfish act, which, by example, encourages others to be similarly self-centered. You may not be infected, but others who are out and about in our community surely are. The problem, of course, is that in the early stages of the disease, symptoms may not be apparent. And some who are infected never show symptoms. So, no one can know at any moment if they are infected or not. But if no one wears “goofy” masks, the virtually unanimous consensus of the scientific community is that the disease will spread through the population that much more pervasively. And, if everyone wore masks, the deadly transmission of coronavirus would be inhibited.

So, Mr. Bachman, which course will you follow? Will you choose to support the greater good at the risk of looking “goofy”? Or would you prefer that we all eschew face coverings, so that we can all look good, but thereby permit those among us who are infected to more readily infect others?

And, of course, this question is not addressed to Mr. Bachman alone. Many in our community who I observe in public decline to wear face coverings. I wear a mask in public to protect them. I ask that they do the same to protect me. Is this really too much to ask or expect?

Robert W. Jaspen

Manakin Sabot,

Letter writer’s tone seems to reveal both fear and uncertainty

Dear Editor,

I am not an avid reader of newspapers, rarely read letters to the editor, even more rarely write one, ut now I find I have time to read the Goochland Gazette from cover to cover. It’s a great local paper, given the trend to move away from the printed word. I am impressed, and especially appreciate the opinion pieces by Editor Roslyn Ryan.

I’ve noticed in recent editions that Art Bachman’s letters are regularly printed. Amazing. His tone makes me want to discount him as an “old curmudgeon” but wait, I’m older than he is! We are fortunate to live in a county which has a local paper that prints our letters, so instead of ignoring his vitriol, I’m inspired to respond.

Upon rereading Mr. Bachman’s April 9 letter, I realize he must feel out of control and frightened, and be rather miserable. Sadly, this is true for a lot of people. When feeling out of control we tend to do one of the following: lash out in anger blaming others, self-medicate, or problem solve. As human beings we have far less control over our lives than we’d like. However, to quote a line from the brilliant novel, “A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, “ …adversity presents itself in may forms; and…if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.” The “Tell Me Something Good” article in the same April 9 issue of the Gazette is a great example of creative ways citizens of Goochland are mastering the circumstances thrust upon us by the adversity of the COVID-19 virus. To borrow from Mr. Bachman’s paraphrase of the individual rights protected by our Constitution, these people are exercising personal responsibility for their own conduct in small and large ways. Very inspiring. Thank you! Neither a pandemic nor politicians can stifle the can-do American spirit of ingenuity and action! Unfortunately, the negativity in Mr. Bachman’s letters can certainly drag us down, but I realize he is struggling, as are we all, with adversity which comes in many forms, and now includes a pandemic.

I tend to agree with Mr. Bachman’s ranting about the media. After years of trying to defend the media, I now refer to it as “dramatic reading of opinions about events,” but that is for another letter. Negativity seems to permeate the 24/7 coverage and we are hooked on watching/listening. Although we have a variety of media options, my suggestion is that we “physically distance” ourselves from the amount of time spent each day watching any news, regardless of the left or right leanings. Negativity is very contagious.

Mr. Bachman blames the Governor of Virginia for our lockdown and enumerates all the potential disastrous consequences, but almost all 50 states and territories have now done the same, and Virginia is far less restricted than Michigan! I suppose writing letters helps relieve his stress, and gives him an opportunity to publicize his political views, thanks to freedom of the press, which includes the media that annoys him! I’d like to suggest that just because he has the freedom to express his views does not mean he has to be so negative, but then there have been times in my life when negativity overwhelmed. Thankfully such is not the case for me now, so I will step up and offer gratitude for things that are positive in the midst of so much that is negative.

I agree with Mr. Bachman that there are and will be painful financial consequences as a result of the shutdown that will take time and a lot of American can-do spirit and ingenuity to resolve. However, his views about food availability, i.e., “gun toting looters going from closed store to store ... “ are just wrong, wrong, wrong! The Food Lion is open (which he ridiculed in a previous letter) doing a great job for which none of the local staff has any prior experience. They are on the front line, meeting the demands of overzealous shoppers. They deserve praise, and probably a raise. I appreciate the staff of the Goochland Food Lion! Grocery stores in the Short Pump area to which Mr. Bachman has access are open and doing a great job of implementing sanitization practices in their stores and directives for customers to share vs. horde. I’m impressed with how many businesses at Goochland Court House, including restaurants, are finding ways to stay open.

We also have the Center for Rural Culture (CRC) which offers locally produced food to the membership. Check it out. The concept for CRC, nurtured by Sandy and Rossie Fisher of Goochland, is now doing a huge volume of business benefiting hardworking growers and consumers. Thank you to the staff of the

CRC, the producers and the volunteers. Additionally, local seasonal outdoor markets are developing ways to continue to operate.cSomething that Mr. Bachman’s does not address is that lack of food is a problem for many people 365 days a year; the virus is only compounding and enlarging an existing problem. We are fortunate to live in a county where Goochland CARES offers a non-profit solution for helping those in need of food, clothing, shelter and medical needs. They are working hard to deliver services while implementing different operating procedures to deal with COVID 19 challenges. Thank you to the tireless staff, volunteers and supporters of Goochland CARES! All of us, including Mr. Bachman, have the opportunity to make a financial donation or join the many volunteers who work there.

There will always be people who, for many complex reasons, need help, and no religious or political theory has ever been able to eliminate that aspect of human existence. Now is a time for those of us doing well to set aside our self-righteousness, reevaluate those things for which we have to be thankful, and find positive ways to respond.

I have pondered long and hard to respond to Mr. Bachman’s letter to the editor, which may not get printed, and will have little or no impact on him, but which has helped me to find a way to disagree without too much rancor, to be less judgmental. It’s hard! It takes time and patience! But right now I have time.

How we articulate our feelings and opinions is more important than ever, and most of us are not good at it. So, I appreciate Mr. Bachman for reading the Goochland Gazette and exercising his personal freedom to express his views in letters to the editor. He has inspired me to reevaluate the many things for which I have to be thankful, to compose my thoughts, and to find ways to express my gratitude to others for their many contributions.

During this unprecedented time of fear, illness, death, financial upheaval, and disruption to our lives, I am thankful to be a resident of Goochland County. I encourage everyone to pause, reevaluate your blessings, then tell “something good” to others! And one more thing, take time to walk or drive or look out the window. Spring in beautiful rural Goochland County is magnificent!

Leanora S. Johnson

Columbia, Va.

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