A North Carolina woman is trying very hard to kick off a viral movement encouraging people to burn their COVID-19 protective masks in the name of freedom and stamping out oppression.
The move comes on the heels of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's (D) suggestion that wearing masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus may become mandated across the state.
What are the details?
Ashley Smith, founder of the Facebook group Reopen North Carolina, made a video about burning the masks and shared it on Facebook.
In the video, Smith says, "As you know, we're a group against mandatory anything, and we're for personal liberty and the Constitution and personal freedom."
Insisting that a mask "does not prevent the spread of COVID-19," Smith says that wearing a mask is "not a sign of your compassion or how much you care for any other human being."
"This is a sign of control," she insists. "This is a sign to tell them if you are going to comply."
She then proceeds in the video to burn her mask in a frying pan, declaring, "Burn your mask #Ignite freedom!"
The most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control on mask wearing says: "A cloth face covering may not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others."
Burn all masks. Even if you have to go out and buy them simply on the grounds of burning them. She encouraged viewers to share videos of themselves burning masks, using the hashtag #IgniteFreedom for others to view the videos.
What is the reaction?
At the time of this writing, Smith's video has drawn more than 5,900 comments about her mask-burning — most of which are decidedly negative.
One social media user wrote, "Your bravery is immense. What a hero burning equipment that could protect workers in hospitals or any other place that has felt the real effects of the disease."
Another user added, "[P]lease consider DONATING your masks and PPE instead of burning it??? [Y]ou may not care about yourself but you should care about others, especially if you're 'all lives matter.' [I']m sure local shelters, clinics, hospitals, and community organizations would love to have your masks."