Selectively accepting facts leads to further division

In the 35 years I have lived in Mesa County, I have subscribed to The Daily Sentinel. I believe reading the local newspaper is an integral part of being an informed, educated citizen.

The first 25 years of my subscription was a daily dip into Mesa County’s dominant, conservative mindset and politically red demographic. There was no end to the bashing of public schools and teachers, claims of government overreach, disdain of taxes (of ANY kind for ANY reason), and lack of support for the natural environment.

Having grown up in a conservative home, these viewpoints were familiar, but even I could see that there was a definite bias in the way news in the Grand Valley was reported. Fortunately, in the past several years, the Sentinel has brought in new voices and has worked toward balancing its coverage to be more informative and fact-based, whether it is popular or not.

Readers no longer agree with everything they read in their local paper. I now get a chuckle, even an occasional snort, out of letters to the editor criticizing how the Sentinel is a left-wing, liberal paper. Well, I suppose that if those readers do not like/cannot agree with everything they read in the paper anymore, they would interpret the change from far-right toward center as being “left-wing.” There is value in seeing the “grain of truth” in the other viewpoint, however, which is hard to see if you refuse to look.

We all benefit from efforts to share factual information, even when we don’t like the facts. It seems we are now in the era of “Fact is only fact if it’s something I want to hear or believe – if not, it’s FAKE NEWS!” A variety of opinion is important in building understanding and solving problems. If Rick Wagner is your guy, then we must balance that opinion with the Michael Pramenkos of the world. It’s too easy to read only what we want to read, and I am grateful to the Sentinel staff for striving to provide facts and the balance of opinions to better inform the public.

BONNIE VAN CAMP

Grand Junction

Wearing the wrong mask does little but signal virtue to tribe

As I tiptoed through the May 6 Daily Sentinel I tripped over your editorial urging we dummies to, among other things, wear face masks for COVID-19 prevention. I also staggered through a letter from one of our village scolds in which she griped about those who don’t wear face masks. The face mask question intrigues me because, given the virus’s miniscule particle size and the tiny size of the water vapor droplets in our breath, I can’t fathom how cotton cloth could ever be an effective filter.

Weeks ago I researched the issue and decided not to bother with a mask because the literature and data almost uniformly indicate that face masks — other than N95-rated respirators — are not effective at preventing the transmission of viruses.

I quote an April 1 commentary from the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy: “We do not recommend requiring the general public who do not have symptoms of COVID-19-like illness to routinely wear cloth or surgical masks because ... There is no scientific evidence they are effective in reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission ...”

Properly fitted N95 masks are effective. But their supply is limited, so they ought to be left for the medical professionals, first responders, and others who truly need them.

Yes, wearing a cloth or surgical mask helps keep up the morale of a panicked few. And it signals social virtue to the tribe. But as a disease control mechanism, you might as well paint yourself blue and wear a garlic necklace.

I’ll wear a mask when I decide to take up robbing liquor stores and banks.

GREG CORLE

Grand Junction