Masks embolden people to act differently
A. Barton Hinkle’s columns are among my favorites, but I think his opinion in his Commentary column, “Free the Richmond Four,” is wrong.
In addition to being cowardly, and just plain creepy, wearing masks makes normal human interaction impossible by blocking our ability to read visual facial clues. Wearing a mask may also change the wearer’s behavior; anonymity may embolden a person to act in socially unacceptable ways. There’s a reason why criminals, villains in horror movies, and shamans in religious rituals wear masks — it strikes fear in others.
Can you imagine Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or any of the suffragists, wearing a mask to a protest?