David Payne isn’t scared of some silly virus…

As a media publisher who loves pageviews, controversy, and pestering politicians and celebrities on the Internet, I’m obviously all for shaming public figures who don’t wear facemasks while venturing out in public. Not only do you get clicks, outrage and engagement from the pro-facemask crowd, but you also get all the clicks, outrage and engagement from the anti-facemask crowd that’s mad at the pro-facemask crowd. It’s an internet publisher’s dream! It’s shame we’re not making more money on it.

Anyway, I bring this up because an Ogle Mole spotted News 9 Chief Meteorologist David Payne going sans-facemask at The Edmond Railyard over the weekend:

Yep, the guy who warns you not to drive on icy roads, begs that you “turn around, don’t drown” if you see high water, and suggests you hide in a closet when a weak little tornado skips by, doesn’t wear a facemask while out in public during a pandemic that’s killed 80,000 people across the US. Expect Governor Stitt to name him the new Director of the State Health Department tomorrow afternoon.

In all seriousness, before we commence with the public shaming, and then the reactionary shaming of the public shaming, I’m willing to cut David Payne some slack here.

First of all, this is THE David Payne. The dude has literally driven inside tornados for Mike Morgan. If he’s not scared to come within a few feet of a maxi-wedge super grinder, he’s obviously not going to worry about getting a few feet away from a buddy’s face as he tells the story about chasing the May 3rd, 1999 tornado for the thousandth time.

Second, he’s at a restaurant. Ever try to eat or chug a brew while wearing a facemask? Ask a surgeon – it’s not easy. I’m team Wear Facemask In Public, but even I’m willing to make an exception and take a risk when it comes to eating food or drinking beer. If and when I ever get out to do that again.

Third, although wearing a facemask is the kind, optically-responsible, courteous thing to do for the people around you, if you’re a tough guy, contrarian or conspiracy theorist, and don’t give a fuck about spreading or catching a virus that’s killed more Oklahomans in three months than all Oklahoma tornados, floods, lighting strikes, wildfires and downed powerlines over the past 30 years combined, that’s your right. I just reserve the right to make fun of you the next time schools shut down for no reason following another one of your apocalyptic weather forecasts.