Editor: By now, we are all aware of how a Loudoun man received national attention for screaming at the Loudoun County School Board. But what seems to have been missed by this discussion is the sheer incomprehensibility of his main argument.
For anyone who managed to miss the nine visceral sentences this man ejaculated before being escorted out by the deputy, let me summarize. First sentence: insult. Second: multi-tasking complaint. Third and fourth: COVID is not really dangerous. Fifth: COVID is so dangerous that people could die while working outside from contact with trash. Sixth through ninth: safely educating students in a pandemic is easy. I could do it. People out there could do it. Anyone could do it.
Afterward, this screaming man was held up as a “frustrated parent” in the national discourse. What privilege.
Sandwiched between the insults and taunts, lies the meat of Screaming Man’s point. “The statistics do not lie that the vast majority of the population is not at risk from this virus. The garbage workers, who pick up my freaking trash, risk their lives – every day – more than anyone in this school system!”
Throughout the pandemic, I have seen many versions of Screaming Man. I have seen him screaming at Costco employees for enforcing posted purchase limits on canned tuna. I have seen him follow a woman out to the Home Depot parking lot and threaten her for asking him to wear a mask during checkout. I have seen him boast that no one can stop him from visiting his extended families for the holidays. I have seen him smash his way into the Capitol.
Given that some may balk at the through line of these comparisons—namely a man mistaken about reality, impotent to affect change, attempting to enforce his will through intimidation— let’s focus on the main argument at hand. There is no need to contest the rationale that “the vast majority of the population is not at risk,” because these points have been made and disputed (ad nauseum).
Instead, I wonder how the national discourse missed Screaming Man’s transition to “garbage workers…risk their lives every day.” Is he saying COVID is so dangerous that touching trash poses a mortal risk? Even though garbage workers predominantly work outside? If handling trash outside is so dangerous, what of kindergarten teachers working inside all day handling tiny, lovable virus-Petri-dishes?
So, Incoherent Screaming Man, which is it? Is COVID dangerous or not? Do you want to turn wearing a mask into a partisan issue? Or do you want your kid to go to school? Do you want to have holiday gatherings with all your extended family, or do you want your kid to go to school? Do you want to gather cheek to jowl in a maskless hoard on the steps of the Capitol, or do you want your kid to go to school?
Well, which is it?
Henry Svennow, Leesburg