Over the course of the COVID pandemic, a growing consensus has emerged among researchers that masks are at least somewhat helpful — and perhaps quite effective — at suppressing the spread of the coronavirus.
But in the United States, some have chafed at the idea of taking on a small inconvenience to help the public health effort. Anti-mask protests have flared up nationwide, some with ugly racist undertones. Many Americans have thrown tantrums in public after being asked to wear masks in stores. And that's all been happening, of course, as the United States' COVID outbreak has become one of the most severe in the world.
That's what inspired YouTuber Allen Pan to create a whimsical gadget: a gun that fires masks directly onto its targets' faces.
Pan, a skilled craftsman who's made a name for himself building a variety of DIY flamethrowers, plasma blades, and Spider-Man-style web shooters, rigged up a pneumatic launcher to fire masks — from a grip that looks remarkably like a firearm.
"This is not a world of fact anymore," he said in the video. "This is a world of opinion and emotion. And if there's one thing that coronavirus protesters actually care about, it's the Second Amendment. Guns."
Pan fixed four magnets to the straps on the back of the mask so that they'd tangle together on impact, and added sticky strips to the inside of the mask's surface for even more adhesive power.
First he tested it on a variety of mannequin heads. Then he tried it out on himself. And then he even headed to Huntington Beach, CA — a hotbed of anti-mask sentiment — to give the public a chance to try it out.