Around one in six are thought to use lip-reading to make sense of the world; during one radio phone-in I heard the mother of a deaf child explaining how sad it is for her lip-reading daughter to see everyone wearing masks; “She was such a chatty little girl and now she’s just completely silent in public. It’s heartbreaking.” At least 10 schools have made coverings mandatory for pupils and teachers, prompting an inevitable battle with parents like Molly Kingsley, co-founder of the campaign group UsforThem, who told this newspaper “Based on the anger we have seen … there is a very visceral reaction among parents to face masks in schools.”
On the radio I heard the mother of a boy with additional needs; “He’s terrified of masks. He’s already lonely. He’ll be an outcast if masks are mandatory.” We are told that masking-up shows that we care, but treating our fellow human beings as germ-spreading units is not my idea of kindness.
And as for the practicalities! When the PM promised “a greater police presence to ensure face coverings are being worn” I certainly hope the manpower will come from a new division – the Toytown Police, perhaps – not from the current force who seem powerless in the face of cities running red with the blood of our youth. The idea of jails being emptied of violent criminals in order to make way for incorrigible Bare Faces is like something from a dystopian novel, back when there was still a market for them, before life imitated art.
Of the many totalitarian hellholes in the world, some specialise in suppressing women with face-coverings, while others are equal opportunity oppressors. The poor beaten-down people of Islamist Iran and Communist China must cover their faces and know their place. There’s something extremely anti-human about forced masking, which is why the PM in an earlier, carefree incarnation triggered such a fierce backlash for his remarks about the Islamist mode of female garb.
“Fame is a mask that eats the face” goes the old saying – but so is fear. If masking is normalised, we will soon become subservient creatures, government-licensed gimps. I’ll try not to shame those who embrace their masks as scared sheep – but only so long as we who resist aren’t demonised as murderous wolves.