Letter: Henry Svennow, Leesburg

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

7 thoughts on “Letter: Henry Svennow, Leesburg

  • 2021-03-13 at 2:45 pm

    I have no kids in LCPS at this point. I believe the writer of this letter is missing the point of the gentleman who he decide to insult several times. The father’s point as I took it was that the County State and Federal government has deemed schools too dangerous and thus virtual learning. However, other job are no as dangerous that they should be closed down. How do these politicians seem home depot workers, uber drivers, flight attendants and waste management employees essential but not teachers . How have they declare teachers essential for the vaccine but not to return to the classroom.

    I think the writer should disclose whether he or a family member is an employee of LCPS . This could explain his disdain for the father of these students. I applaud the father not for his position but for his willingness to stand in front of our elected officials and speak his mind. I did not agree with Briskman giving the POTUS the finger but respect her for exercising her right to do it.

    • 2021-03-20 at 10:14 pm

      Well said. Svennow epitomizes the Karen mindset (AKA the Emily mindset) which argues that the risks of COVID are “super-high” but conveniently considers “essential” people that work for large, politically influential organizations such as national retailers, airlines, etc. that are hurt when consumers don’t buy from them. Conspicuously, when it comes to schools (teachers get paid no matter what) essential ain’t a thing. His characterizations of the parent who dared to stand up to the school board are ludicrous and pathetic.

  • 2021-03-17 at 2:00 pm

    Obviously the writer does not have kids in LCPS.

    A lot of us find his spewing letter offensive and way off the mark.

    • 2021-03-19 at 4:30 pm

      This father found the “spewing” by the man who made a spectacle of himself at that school board meeting to be off the mark. The letter writer is not wrong. The reality is we would be a lot closer to seeing this pandemic nightmare brought to a close if fewer people had behaved selfishishly and bleated about “mah rights” and minimized a very serious and deadly disease. Sometimes I try to imagine Americans alive today coming together for the war effort like they did in WWII and I know it just wouldn’t be possible. A blackout on the coast would be ordered and some yahoo would cry “socialism!” and turn the lights on anyway. The reality is kids are learning in DL. I get people feel entitled to child care, but many offices still aren’t even back 100%, so the analogies to Home Depot (really? Does a school building look like a big box store to you?) are just flat out stupid. Parents have completely forgotten themselves in this discussion and the ones like the man who screamed at the board are the most despicable examples of it. Sit down, shut up and let the professionals do their jobs.

      • 2021-03-19 at 8:03 pm

        The science is quite settled. LCPS has been wrong from day zero.
        The anti-educationists are going to be sent to the dumpsters soon enough. Right where they belong.

      • 2021-03-23 at 6:40 pm

        If by “professionals” you mean LCPS central administration and school board, we have been waiting for them to do their jobs since August. The reality is not all kids are thriving in DL, and the toll on mental health is being ignored. For the parents who say their kids are “thriving” and wish to continue in DL because their kids do not have to deal with anxiety or bullying, etc., I wonder if they have asked themselves why that is. Perhaps these same parents should look into getting their kids help. Bullying is wrong, but unfortunately it is not going away any time soon. Kids need to learn coping mechanisms, because the rest of the world doesn’t exist virtually.

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