OPINION — A brief note about Election Day. If you haven’t done so by now, go vote tomorrow. It is a right. It is a responsibility.

The old adage that if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain about the government isn’t true. Of course you have a right to complain about the government, no matter whether you vote or not. However, those who do vote also have the right to consider those who don’t too stupid to be taken seriously.

Obviously, nothing declared here the day prior to the election will likely change a single vote. So on to other matters.

A different columnist from a different medium recently posted on his Facebook page a couple questions relative to wearing masks and packing weapons in places where masks are required and guns are not welcome.

Let’s start with guns: “Do you believe the owner of a private business does or does not have the right to tell you that you cannot bring a firearm into that business?” he asked.

Open carry gun toters have been discussed in the inches afforded me here before.  Here in flyover country – particularly here in South Dakota, the rootinest tootinest of flyover states – people believe the words “you can’t” are fighting words. The concept of my rights ending where yours begin is foreign to many here. My rights always trump yours, especially if you’re a liberal Democrat.

People who openly carry a lethal weapon where they are not welcome to do so: 1.) were probably bullied in kindergarten and 2.) want to scare you into believing they can hurt you on a whim if they choose to – you know, they’re bullies. People who own businesses have the absolute right to tell you to leave your weapon in your car. Argue about it and you’re the east end of a west bound horse. And it seems trespassing laws should apply.

Regardless of which part of a horse’s anatomy these gunslingers resemble, there is the matter of safety. A business owner has every right to protect his customers from intimidation by an insecure bully. These people are often the same ones who show up in emergency rooms after having shot themselves with their own guns. And the business owner has the right to prevent these same people from accidentally perforating his other customers, his inventory or his building. And one final thing on this matter: the police don’t need or want your help. So, don’t help.

On masks. Our intrepid columnist from another medium wants to know from those who refuse to wear masks if a private business has the right to require you to wear a mask while in that business. Of course, for years, businesses have posted “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” signs which seem to be obeyed without conflict. Yet in the midst of a pandemic, suddenly a business requiring us to wear masks is somehow trying to strip us of our right to spray our spittle and any germs contained therein upon anyone within six feet of us. And businesses are powerless to stop us.

Nobody is stripping you of your rights by requiring a mask. And, stop inventing excuses why you can’t wear one. I can’t attribute the quote, but someone once said that an excuses is a thin whisp of a reason wrapped in a lie. Stop using asthma as an excuse for not wearing a mask.

My daughter has had severe asthma for most of her life. She’s allergic to nearly every plant that grows in the United States. She was medicating herself before she was in school. I have spent sleepless days and nights with her mother in pediatric ICU as she struggled for air. Today, thanks to medication, she’s a healthy mother of two, who still suffers from asthma. And she has no problem whatsoever wearing a mask for extended periods of time.

Most doctors and the CDC agree that genuine asthma patients are at a greater risk from COVID-19 and other people who refuse to wear masks than any problem they might encounter from wearing masks.

Not many gun toters answered that other columnist’s post. Neither did many of the folks who refuse to wear masks. Which surprised nobody.

Michael Sanborn writes from Rapid City.

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