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Are face masks fueling the violence and the increase in crime and homicides across the country?

Without getting back into an exhaustive debate over whether or not people should wear masks (and whether the government can/should mandate them), I think we can all agree that people are being impacted by the widespread use of face masks and all of the other COVID restrictions and impacts. I've had callers into our Montana radio show say that people seem angry, they're "at each other's throats."

Dave Grossman is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army. He's also the author of prominent books like "On Killing" and "On Combat." He just penned a column with this attention-grabbing headline: "Masks can be murder."

Here's how he opens up the piece:

Masks give a powerful sense of anonymity to the killer, and dehumanize the victim. Thus preventing empathy, and empowering aggression, violence, and murder.  In city after city, across America, there have been more murders so far this year, than all of last year.  And masks are one of the major reasons why this is happening.

Lt. Col. Grossman later goes on to describe Israeli research on kidnappers and hostages. He notes that if a hostage has their face covered, they are more likely to be killed by their captors because the captor isn't forced to look you in the eye and see you as a person. Grossman writes, "The face is the window to the soul, and covering the face with a mask destroys empathy and empowers interpersonal aggression."

It's a fascinating read. Click here to read it in full.

So what do we take away from all of this? The mask debate aside, I think it should serve as a reminder to all of us, whether masked or unmasked, to figure out how best to continue to demonstrate empathy and keep our emotions in check, especially during trying times such as these.