Red Mask vigilantes promote self-defense of right to life by shooting people who are maskless in public

Red Mask recruits salute the flag in this doctored photo

Pinedale, Wyoming: Groups of armed vigilantes threatening to shoot anybody not wearing a mask have caused a marked change in this sleepy Wyoming town in the days of the coronavirus. As a result, test numbers are down and in spite of the violence, some people are feeling optimistic.

The change began 2 weeks ago when a small group of 2nd amendment advocates known as the "Red Masks" started patrolling streets of Boyd Skinner park south of the the town's main street. The Red Masks, dressed similarly and sporting handguns and semi-automatic rifles under the state's "open carry" law, accosted any party they saw not wearing a medical mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. They reportedly would growl and shout at any party not wearing a mask, brandish weapons and shout, "If you don't put on a mask now, I'm going to shoot you in self defense. Don't make me do that." They would then drop a mask in a sealed bag on the ground, back away quickly and start counting down from 25.

In 3 cases, Red Masks allegedly fired shots in the air above the heads of non-maskers. No person was hit or injured. They would then dash down the street.

The Times interviewed a Red Mask organizer, who would only give his name as "Kemosahbee," a reference to the masked radio character "The Lone Ranger." (The Ranger wore a mask over his eyes, not his mouth.) According to Kehmosahbee, "At first we were against masks. But then we learned they aren't to protect the fellah' wearing the mask, they are to protect others, like my family. I figured that if somebody isn't wearing a mask, he's a threat to me and mine, a threat of death. My gramps lives with us and he's 89. If he gets this thing he's surely a goner."

Under such a threat, the Red Masks claim they are thus going to shoot people in self defense. "My right to defend my family from the threat of death is protected in the constitution, like my right to bear arms." The right of self-defense ia not in the constitution, but is found in common law and many statutes. It has not previously been applied to simply not wearing protective gear.

"Look, we know Trump has got our backs. He stopped people bringing this Chinese virus in from their homeland. But the liberals in New York and California went and brought it anyway, and started breeding and spreading it. Trump couldn't stop 'em. That's where our second amendment rights come in," said Kemosahbee.

Like most other reported Red Masks, Kemosahbee wears a red mask, an open carry gun holster, blue jeans, cowboy boots and hat and a "Don't tread on me" T-shirt.

"The way they dress alike and wear masks has made it very difficult to track them down," said Sublette county sherriff K.C. Lehr. With the masks, it's impossible to tell who's who, and the way they disperse after an altercation means that if we catch one of them, we can't be sure we caught the one who did the shooting, or even if this one was at the scene. It's been very hard to shut down.

Mask compliance in Pinedale and surrounding areas has effectively reached 100%, even outdoors, though laws only require it indoors. The Wyoming Dept. of Health recommends face masks in public settings, and many stores require them, but they are not yet mandated by law as in other states. You wouldn't know it in Pinedale.

"If you bring this Chinese virus into our town, you're helping a foreign invader kill Americans. Don't give aid and comfort to the enemy. We don't truck much with that in our town," said Kemosahbee.

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