To the editor: Despite evidence showing that wearing masks can significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission, columnist Robin Abcarian argues that the mask mandate is not a black-and-white issue and cites noncompliance among beachgoers, intransigent tweeters and the difficulty of enforcement to prove it.
Masks work. It’s right to wear one during a pandemic. Yet Abcarian, as she did in her previous column when she wrote of the exhilaration of unmasking at the beach, carves out a privileged gray area for herself not unlike the “Karen” zone, where special people demand that others observe rules from which they exempt themselves.
Meanwhile I’ll bet the Karens (male and female) and the police officers who decline to cite mask scofflaws expect those who deliver their takeout, pack their meat, provide their healthcare, carry their mail and protect their parks and beaches to be scrupulous about wearing masks.
Jo Perry, Studio City
To the editor: “Why have a law if you don’t enforce it?” Abcarian asks.
I would answer that most police officers distinguish between the “letter of the law” and the “spirit of the law.” In this case, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s order for beachgoers not to sunbathe is meant to discourage gatherings where casual contact might lead to infection.
To strictly enforce something like this, you would need a lot of buy-in from the officers on whom the task actually falls. Based on what the officers at the beach told Abcarian, that buy-in is not there.
Niels Goerrissen, Harbor City
To the editor: Abcarian lays out (pun intended) the thought-provoking scene of Angelenos flaunting their freedom and disregarding rules they do not like. We’re 10 weeks into the Safer at Home initiative, and I cannot imagine that anyone is still unaware that restrictions exist, that these restrictions change and that they should be checked regularly.
When I started my first career as a elementary school teacher, I learned a lesson that was critical to smooth sailing as the year progressed: Be clear about the rules and enforce them vigorously early on. When students accepted that flouting them would result in unpleasant consequences, only then could I ease up.
Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore are just showing us how little the rules matter.
Jane Drucker, Studio City