By all accounts, Richard Rose was a good, fun and kind-hearted person. He served his country in the Army for nine years with two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 37-year-old did not think wearing a mask was necessary, and will not be around to write the next chapter of his life. He passed away from coronavirus on July 4th.
Rose had been outspoken on social media about how he did not see the point of face coverings. Heavy.com confirmed that the posts were real. On April 28, he wrote: "Let make this clear. I'm not buying a f**king mask. I've made it this far from not buying into that damn hype."
Two months later, he visited a small village called Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island in Ohio. He posted a picture on Facebook that showed a crowded pool with no one wearing a mask and commented:"It's not packed lol." In a later Facebook post, Rose revealed that he probably contracted the virus during that time.
Rose started to feel symptoms in late June. On July 1st, he let his friends know that he was very sick and that he was suffering from symptoms of COVID-19."This morning I finally got swabbed," he said. "I should know soon what the results are. I just want to feel good again!" He let everyone know that he had not slept in two days due to breathing difficulties. Sadly, on the day that our country celebrates its independence, Rose was gone. He died in his home from complications related to the virus.
There was an outpouring of love on social media from those close to him. They spoke of what a fun and caring man he was. His friend Nick Conley shared his sentiments but also condemned people for making fun of his friend.
He told Cleveland 19, "Rick is getting slaughtered online right now for his decision that he made not to wear a mask and that's not right," Conley said. "We should still be compassionate whether we agree with someone's beliefs or not. Someone has passed away and we should have some compassion toward that."
Shame on the people who were saying "I told you so" on the page of a man now deceased. Richard Rose didn't believe that masks were necessary. I think we all know he would be in favor of masks now if he were still around to talk about it. And based on the accounts of those who loved him, we're guessing he'd speak out both for his own health and the people he might have infected. The man had a lapse in judgement. Do you know what else he had? Nine years serving our country. He loved and was loved by so many. Did he make a mistake? Yes. Should he be shamed for it now that he's dead? Absolutely not.
Whoever thought it was okay to do that should take a long hard look at how they live their own lives—really examine how cavalier and reckless those comments can be. They truly have no place in this world.
Conley hopes his friend's death will serve as a warning to others. He wrote on Facebook, "Rick was healthy as far as we know and was only in his 30's. Rick was like a lot of my friends, and didn't feel the need to wear a mask because he was young and healthy. Please know that this virus is real. Just because you don't personally know someone effected yet doesn't mean it's not real."
Truth is, the death of Richard Rose is an example of how real coronavirus is. COVID-19 kills people. When you don't wear a mask, you are putting yourself and everyone around you at risk. No one knows this better than Richard Rose III. If after all this, you still don't believe that masks are essential— and you think every doctor in the world has it wrong—take a long look at people like Richard who have lost their life. Please, wear a mask.