Fabiola Santiago: Anti-mask mob is as stupid, selfish as it gets amid COVID pandemic

Summary: All it takes to become infected with COVID-19 is being close to a carrier not wearing a mask.

Coronavirus art

Don’t chalk up the misbehavior to youthful tomfoolery.

The flash mob of young anti-maskers who aggressively pranced through a Fort Lauderdale Target this week harassing mask-wearing customers are stupid, selfish — and dangerous to the public.

“Take off your masks! Take it off! Take it off!” most of the dozen or so protesters shouted, taunting customers as if they were in a bar reacting to a bawdy wet T-shirt contest.

“Take your mask off, this is America!”

You can hear a customer mumble on video: “F——— idiots.


The stunt also didn’t go down well with Twisted Sister lead singer Dee Snider, who didn’t care for the group blasting their hit song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” while ripping their masks off.

He took to social media to condemn the anti-maskers.

“These selfish a———- do not have my permission or blessing to use my song for their moronic cause,” Snider tweeted.

Oh, Floriduh again

Oh, Florida nitwits, here you go again making national headlines. “Again?” you want to say — and move on.

But we can’t afford the disregard for safety measures in the middle of a pandemic that, despite the happy talk of “waning” statistics, is still very much with us in Florida.

For the loved ones of the 13,000-plus Floridians who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and the 674,456 known Floridians infected with the coronavirus, the actions of this group weren’t funny at all.

They ought to be officially banned from Target — and charged with something, at least a civil citation, that forces them to appear before a judge, whether in juvenile court or otherwise.


But neither Target nor police acted quickly enough to protect shoppers from the taunting and to apprehend protesters, which included adults who should know better.

By the time police showed up, they had fled, and that’s the excuse authorities used to not even make a house call to people who put the public at risk — and advertised their intentions on Facebook.

One of the ring leaders, Cristina Gomez, posted an invite on the social media site and live-streamed the group’s misguided idea of anti-mask activism.

“We’re taking back our freedom,” she wrote, adding a picture of the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, with a cancel stripe across his face.

It’s not Gomez’s first rodeo with anti-mask activism.

In a GoFundMe page, she says she and her mother, Linda Ortiz, were arrested in West Palm Beach for refusing to wear a mask in a store.

People didn’t buy very much of their crap.

They only raised $245.


Broward County officials weren’t amused — and they did take action.

The county fined the Target at Coral Ridge Mall for not enforcing the mask law, tracked down protesters, and mailed them citations for violating public health regulations in a pandemic.

Not about choice, but politics

“It’s all about choice,” you can hear one of the male protesters holler on a video.

No, it’s not.

If it were, they wouldn’t be bothering mask wearers who’ve made their choice.

It’s about politics — as the “Make America Great Again” T-shirt of one ring leader makes it known.

They’re just following their maximum leader.

They’re boisterous, rude, and ignorant, just like him.

And they too love the notoriety, which is what they’re really after, even if their uncaring behavior costs people their lives.

I hate giving them any more publicity, but their stupidity is an opportunity to remind the rest of us who want to stay COVID-free not to let our guard down when we leave home.

Although there’s a downward trend from the record-breaking surges of cases in June and July, Florida’s Department of Health on Thursday confirmed 3,255 additional cases of COVID-19.

That’s no small number, and it was higher than earlier tallies during the week.

And although there is “guarded optimism” among experts, they also say a severe resurgence in the fall could materialize quickly.

With the reopening of indoor dining, bars, schools and college campuses — all places where people congregate in close quarters — it would be foolish to not to wear a mask.

All it takes to get pregnant is not using birth control that one time.

All it takes to become infected with COVID-19 is being close to a carrier not wearing a mask.

A native of Cuba, Fabiola Santiago is a columnist for the Miami Herald.

©2020 Miami Herald. Visit Miami Herald at . Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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