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To the editor: In Saturday’s (Dec. 4) Reformer, the chairman of the Rockingham Select Board cited three recent letters to the editor condemning the Brattleboro mask mandate, as if that were an indication that Brattleboro’s action was broadly unpopular.

The three letters to which he refers all appeared on Nov. 30 and all were from residents of Newfane. They all say essentially that “face diapers” — their contemptuous word for masks — are completely useless in slowing the spread of contagious disease, mask mandates are an unacceptable infringement of our God-given freedom and a plot by Big Brother to take over our lives, they are nothing but “fear mongering” and “virtue signaling.” The fact that people are going to be touching things other people have touched apparently renders a mask mandate “an exercise in futility.” The COVID vaccines don’t work and are nothing but a plot to make money for the pharmaceutical companies. We should skip the vaccines and just wait for everyone to contract COVID, at which point we will reach “herd immunity” and it will go away ...

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These folks are certainly entitled to their views and free to share them with anyone who will listen, but concluding that they represent the consensus view in the Brattleboro area is as far-fetched as the views themselves. If they want to punish Brattleboro merchants because they refuse to put on a mask to go in a shop there, that’s their business. Personally, I like living in a state that values knowledge and listens to public health experts, and I don’t envy but I do appreciate public officials who are trying to navigate between extremes and risk politically unpopular decisions to try to contain this virus and keep us safe.

Daniel Towler

Brookline, Dec. 6