Greetings, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Thursday, September 9, 2021. The current temperature is 83˚F (29˚C) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at 67% and the wind blowing from the west-southwest at 9 MPH,(11 KM/H) the heat index is 91˚F (34˚C). Today’s forecast calls for scattered showers throughout the day. The high will be 88˚F (31˚C). Tonight, we can expect light rain to affect our area. The low will be 75˚F (24˚C). The Air Quality Index is 52 or Moderate.
“She is not burdened with a sensitive heart. Hers just beats.”― Caroline Kepnes, Hidden Bodies
Well, my dear friend, here we are, more than a year and a half into the global COVID-19 pandemic that has killed 4,598,888 of our fellow human beings, including 652,756 Americans and continues to mutate and spread despite efforts to mitigate its effects. Right now we are dealing with the coronavirus’ Delta variant, which is more contagious and – thanks to mutations – deadlier than earlier strains.
Considering that COVID-19 has killed more Americans than the Civil War of 1861-1865, you would think that the whole anti-mask, anti-vaccine brouhaha would have died down by now. Surely, the loss of so many lives might have served as a wake up call for those who proudly proclaimed their belief that their faith in a supreme being would beat fear any day of the week (and twice on Sunday) and laughed derisively at the guidelines to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Ah, if only that were true.
Unfortunately, almost two years into this global health crisis, we still see that there are people with ice-cold water running through their veins instead of the milk of human kindness.
A couple of days ago I learned about a Tennessee woman named Erika Casher, a registered nurse and a case worker for healthcare provider Cigna. She’s also an anti-mask “advocate” who earned instant notoriety on the Internet when she was caught on camera at a Rutherford County (Tennessee) Board of Education meeting where a debate over school mask mandates for students took place earlier this week.
On this video, Casher can be seen sitting next to a friend – sans masks – and holding a “Let Our Kids Smile” sign as a 17-year-old high school student – who is wearing a mask – addresses the members of the local board of education about how his grandmother died of COVID-19 and why he wears a mask…to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Per Michelle Willard’s column in the Murfreesboro Voice (Mask debate in Rutherford County Schools shows some adults can act like children):
I learned along ago not to sit directly behind the speaker at a publicly televised meeting unless I wanted the world to see me. This lesson came the hard way when I got a text in the middle of a Murfreesboro City Council meeting from my mother telling me how unflattering the shirt I had on was. From then on, I usually sat against a wall, far away from the lectern and the gaze of the camera.
Erica Casher is learning this lesson the hard way too.
She was unfortunate enough to pick a seat in line of sight of the camera at Tuesday night’s special-called Rutherford County School Board meeting and her behavior was broadcast for all to see.
Now she is currently getting dragged across the internet for her immature behavior. She might even get canceled (to invoke a conservative buzz word) with folks from across the nation calling for her to lose her job.
In previous comments to WKRN news, Casher, who is a registered nurse, said masks should be a parent’s choice.
“I’m concerned about mandating them. I saw that in Williamson County, obviously, they did. COVID obviously is real. As a healthcare provider I’m aware of that,” she said. “But, it’s been used to take away our individual liberties over the last year.”
But it wasn’t comments like these that drew the ire of the internet. Here’s a clip from Murfreesboro Holler that captures her reaction:
The student speaking was about how the death of his grandmother from COVID-19 impacted him and how he fears carrying the disease back into his home. The fear is well-founded. Following scarcely a month in school and about a quarter of the entire student body in Rutherford County has been quarantined. A fact that, Casher must find amusing by the look on her face.
Her sign says “Let our kids smile,” but now the entire nation is seeing hers.
As Walker observes in her column, Casher’s mocking attitude – which included chewing gum like a bored teenager listening to a lecture she doesn’t want to hear, smirking, and laughing (at the 31-33 second mark on the video – made an impression on the Twitterverse, although it’s the kind of reaction Casher probably did not expect.
one of your employees was seen at a school board hearing about masks laughing at a student expressing his wish that masks be mandated. laughing at him that his grandmother died of covid. right now as your employee she is representing you.
I think it would be helpful if you did not employee people like Erica Casher laugh at a child when he talks about the loss of his grandmother. Shameful that this is your employee.
Is #ErikaCasher going to be discussing mental health for teens? That would be almost as hypocritical as retaining her as an employee.
The longer you wait to acknowledge the video, the worse this looks for you (and your PR dept). It might not be just Erika who loses her job.
This is just a small sampling of the feedback Cigna is receiving on its tweets on Twitter. And so far, two days after the video went viral on the Internet and was even mentioned on cable news, the company still has not made a public statement.
I don’t know who’s worse in this particular instance – Erika Casher, the smirking, gum-chewing troll who was unfortunate enough to be caught on camera at that school board meeting, or a healthcare giant that crows, on Twitter, what it does ‘around the globe to help improve the health, well-being, and peace of mind of those we serve.”
Right now, in my mind, it’s a tie between the insensitive anti-masker and the corporate giant that keeps silent in the face of public outrage.
A pox on them both, say I.
Update: According to a Twitter member who knows somebody who works at Cigna, Erika Casher has been fired and is no longer an employee there. However, since Cigna has not issued a public statement on Casher or her unacceptably rude behavior at that Board of Education meeting, it’s possible that she may still be a caseworker in Murfreesboro.
Source: Michelle Willard, Mask debate in Rutherford County Schools shows some adults can act like children, Murfreesboro Voice, September 8, 2021