This weekend a couple dozen free-faced activists gathered from across New Hampshire at the Monadnock Co-Op in Downtown Keene for a “mask-free flash mob” event. Approximately a dozen of those gathered entered the store and attempted to shop. Why the Co-Op? Organizer Frank “Footloose” Staples said that it was due to the large number of reports of store staff and customers being very unfriendly to people with medical exemptions from wearing masks. One woman even wrote a letter to the editor of the Keene Sentinel about her difficult experience at the Co-Op.
True to form, some customers were downright hostile, including a younger man – wearing two masks – who told a young woman with a baby to “get the hell out of here”, then yelled something similar at me outside the store, despite the fact that I had not gone inside, as I am not a shopper of the Co-Op. I do understand the perspective of those who participated in the shopping: Since the store is open to the public, it should to serve people with medical exemptions. It’s certainly their right to refuse service to people for whatever reasons they want, but if a medical condition is a reason to refuse service, then they should take down their “Everyone Welcome” marquee and become a private club, open only to members.
Another noteworthy character who makes multiple appearances in the video is the self-described “Blue Collar Brawler”. The elderly, double-masked man has words with everyone he comes across, wishing them death and calling the free-faced people “asshole”, and “stupid”. He even loads up his hand with a roll of quarters to white knight for a masked woman who herself is shouting at an unmasked older man in one of the store aisles. It’s a wild video:
YouTubers Breaking the Flaw and Savage Truth 603 were both among the free-faced shoppers. I cut their videos into my footage and uploaded an overview of the entire event to the Free Keene LBRY. Due to the Free Keene YouTube account being frozen, the video is not available at this time on YouTube. Please watch and share the LBRY video and follow our channel there.
To the Co-Op’s credit, the DID allow all the unmasked shoppers to make their purchases, though there were a large number of them. Individuals who attempted to shop at this store prior to this event had reported being made to feel very uncomfortable and even being refused service. I recommend taking your business elsewhere and shopping at places who respect the freedom to choose.
Update 2021-12-15 – the “Blue Collar Brawler” is Tim Congdon of 28 Lee St. in Keene