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Afghanistan veteran unable to wear mask due to PTSD concerned with public backlash

Posted at 10:11 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 17:51:31-04
(WXYZ) —

A veteran is speaking out about concerns of going outside in the public without wearing a mask. He says he can‘t wear a mask because he has PTSD.

With heated and sometimes violent encounters happening because people aren’t wearing masks, Joshua Korder says he doesn’t want to go in the public out of fears of violence.

“If you’re not wearing a mask it’s very confrontational and it becomes very scary,” Korder said.

Korder is a veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan. He’s faced violence on the front line, even receiving a Purple Heart for his service. But now he fears the violence he may face on his home turf.

“I’m almost afraid to go out of my house now, as I was afraid when I was over in Afghanistan,” he said.

Korder says he would wear a mask in public, however, he has PTSD and is also required to wear a breathing mask at night. He says not wearing a mask and getting into a confrontation is concerning.

“Due to my injuries I sustained in combat, if I was to get in a physical confrontation, if I got hit in the head hard enough, it could be easily fatal for me based on my previous injuries,” he said.

On Tuesday, there was a violent encounter in Dimondale, Michigan, after a 77-year-old man wearing a mask asked a 43-year-old man why he wasn’t. That incident led to an altercation and the 77-year-old was stabbed. The 43-year-old identified as Sean Ruis was later shot and killed by Eaton County Sheriff's deputies. They say he charged at a deputy with a knife. Joshua fears something like this could happen to him.

“I could be talking to somebody and telling them I have a medical problem and somebody else can come from behind me. I’ve seen all kinds of videos like that,” Korder said.

He adds that he understands why some people are upset and angry, but says acts of violence don’t help the situation.

“When we see somebody not wearing a mask we think that person's a threat to our personal safety and I urge people away from that,” he said.

Joshua is hoping people will think before taking action against someone not wearing a mask.

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