043033 UC Ingalls Mental Health Awareness Month Ad Reoirter
Thomas L. Knapp

Thomas L. Knapp

These dancers are delusional

By Thomas L. Knapp

“We can dance if we want to,” sang Ivan Doroschuk of Men Without Hats in 1982. “We can leave your friends behind / ‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance / Well they’re, no friends of mine.”

The song seems to be enjoying renewed popularity on classic hit radio lately, and its lyrics perfectly describe both the mass hysteria of the last 18 months and the polarization among Americans over the meaning and importance of “safety” in the age of COVID-19.

SWNH ThomasKnapp 092515

Thomas L. Knapp

That trend has a tail dragging back into the past. How far? I’m not quite sure. But as early as 2016, students at Emory University broke into protest over being made to “feel unsafe” (one of the protesters’ exact words) by, of all things, sidewalk chalk. Specifically, sidewalk chalk slogans supporting one of that year’s presidential candidates (I’m sure you can guess who).

Recently a friend told me that, because the COVID-19 vaccine he received (Johnson & Johnson) might not be highly effective against the Delta variant, anyone not wearing a mask represents a threat to his life.

I believe he believes that. Not because it’s true, but because “feeling safe” has become an all-consuming obsession that trumps science, common sense, and often even pre-existing and seemingly strong ties of friendship or family.

I’ve watched longtime acquaintances break with each other on social media over such issues as mask and vaccination mandates, sometimes even over disagreements as to what this or that particular disease statistic portends (“if they don’t dance / Well they’re, no friends of mine”).

The COVID-19 Safety Dance seems to have less to do with actually “being safe” than with “feeling safe.” In fact, it arguably has less to do with “feeling safe” than with obsessively finding reasons to continue “feeling unsafe” whether the feeling is justified or not.

In that respect, the COVID-19 Safety Dance has a lot in common with St. John’s Dance and St. Vitus’s Dance. For nearly 300 years, between the 14th and 17th centuries, groups of people in Europe would occasionally break out in mass hysterical dances and just boogied day and night (sometimes in the direction of shrines to the aforementioned saints) until they collapsed from exhaustion or injured themselves too badly to continue. Sound familiar?

Early in the pandemic, both U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease informed the public that “the science” doesn’t support masking as a way to reduce the spread of viral disease.

Within weeks, though, both turned tail and ran headlong away from “the science,” acquiescing to the political imperative of mandating something, anything, that might make people “feel safe.”

Many, perhaps most, Americans, spent the better part of a year wearing masks as visible symbols of their piety and devotion to the Cult of Feeling Safe, in between ritual baths in hand sanitizer.

After more than six months of widely available and seemingly pretty effective vaccines, many Americans are still looking for excuses to keep dancing.

It’s unhealthy.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

Local News

Peggy Zabicki

The young are often our brightest light

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 As summer approaches, we face the discouraging reality of what our neighborhood and our city have become. Carjackings, shootings, dangerous drag racers, assaults and robberies happen every single day. Will things get worse as the weather gets warmer? It is hard to stay positive. Much…

Kathy Headley

Senior linksters headed for Marquette Park

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Registration is now open for the 39th Senior Amateur Golf Championship at Marquette Park. The event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26. Fingers crossed that it does not pour rain on those dates like last…

--Greater Southwest News-Herald photos by Mary Stanek

Plants, books blooming at Peck School

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 “The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” ― Albert Einstein. Thanks to the parents and teachers of Peck School, the location of the library is at the Peck Panther…

2022 primary-election-1321269_1x

CAMPAIGN 2022: Carr, Justak square off to be GOP leader in Lyons Township

By Steve Metsch The race for Republican Committeeperson in Lyons Township is between the current office holder and a mayor eager to replace her. Incumbent Katie Justak, who is in her first election, was appointed to the position in December by Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison(17th), chairman of the Cook County Republican party. Her challenger…

Oak Lawn Police Chief Dan Vittorio (second from left) congratulates members of the police department who received promotions and were officially sworn in at the village board meeting Tuesday. They are (from left) Cmdr. Edward Clancy, Sgt. Finbarr Haran and Lt. Michael Hudziak. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn officials praise police after arrest

3 officers promoted at meeting By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn officials applauded the efforts of the village police department after an arrest took place following an alleged road rage incident. The incident took place on May 10 when two drivers got into a verbal altercation while driving southbound near 105th and Cicero, according to police. After…

OLCHS logo - Copy

OLCHS students advance in PTSA Reflections contest

Six Oak Lawn Community High School seniors in Jenn Jepsen’s Creative Writing class advanced for literature in the 2021-2022 PTSA Reflections Contest. More than 900 entries in 47 states met the challenge to submit entries expressing “How I Can Change the World.” Emma Jacob’s piece “How Forgiveness Can Change the World” advanced to the National…

EPCHS Principal Bill Sanderson stands with seniors Marissa Burke and Diana Tracey who had perfect attendance throughout their four years of high school. (Supplied photos)

EPCHS students achieve perfect attendance

2 seniors did it for all 4 years Twenty-one Evergreen Park Community High School students were recognized with an offer of a complimentary breakfast in the EPCHS cafeteria on, May 20, for having achieved perfect attendance for the 2021-2022 school year. Perfect attendance is truly an accomplishment, and we commend the following students and their…

Sharon Vojtek, of Palos Heights, and her dog, Spirit, and Meghan Shanahan, of Chicago, and her dog, Keegan, were part of the Oak Lawn Public Library's Finals Week Puppy Break on May 19. (Photos by Kelly White)

Finals Week Puppy Break at the Oak Lawn Library

By Kelly White Spirit, an 8-year-old Border Collie mix, loves being around people. So much so, that she paid a visit to the Oak Lawn Public Library to help students study for finals. That’s right, a dog in a library; and, she wasn’t the only one. The Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 Raymond Ave., hosted…

More than 100 Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School students, in the sixth- through eighth-grade, took part in the Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 Art Show on April 28 that that celebrated students’ creative accomplishments and artistic talents. (Supplied photos)

OLHMS showcases student artwork

By Kelly White Students in the Oak Lawn community proudly showcased their artists talents last month. More than 100 Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School students, in the sixth- through eighth-grade, took part in the Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 Art Show on April 28 that celebrated students’ creative accomplishments and artistic talents. “When I went to…

regional 2022-0516-palos_sout_say_something_1

Palos South Middle School students recognized for Say Something Week Campaign

From staff reports Students in the Palos South Middle School Save Promise Club have been recognized by the non-profit organization Sandy Hook Promise for their efforts to create a more inclusive school environment. The students were recently named one of the winners of the 2022 Say Something Week Award for their week-long campaign in March…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Peggy Zabicki

The young are often our brightest light

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 As summer approaches, we face the discouraging reality of what our neighborhood and our city have become. Carjackings, shootings, dangerous drag racers, assaults and robberies happen every single day. Will things get worse as the weather gets warmer? It is hard to stay positive. Much…

Kathy Headley

Senior linksters headed for Marquette Park

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Registration is now open for the 39th Senior Amateur Golf Championship at Marquette Park. The event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26. Fingers crossed that it does not pour rain on those dates like last…

--Greater Southwest News-Herald photos by Mary Stanek

Plants, books blooming at Peck School

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 “The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” ― Albert Einstein. Thanks to the parents and teachers of Peck School, the location of the library is at the Peck Panther…

2022 primary-election-1321269_1x

CAMPAIGN 2022: Carr, Justak square off to be GOP leader in Lyons Township

By Steve Metsch The race for Republican Committeeperson in Lyons Township is between the current office holder and a mayor eager to replace her. Incumbent Katie Justak, who is in her first election, was appointed to the position in December by Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison(17th), chairman of the Cook County Republican party. Her challenger…

Oak Lawn Police Chief Dan Vittorio (second from left) congratulates members of the police department who received promotions and were officially sworn in at the village board meeting Tuesday. They are (from left) Cmdr. Edward Clancy, Sgt. Finbarr Haran and Lt. Michael Hudziak. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn officials praise police after arrest

3 officers promoted at meeting By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn officials applauded the efforts of the village police department after an arrest took place following an alleged road rage incident. The incident took place on May 10 when two drivers got into a verbal altercation while driving southbound near 105th and Cicero, according to police. After…

OLCHS logo - Copy

OLCHS students advance in PTSA Reflections contest

Six Oak Lawn Community High School seniors in Jenn Jepsen’s Creative Writing class advanced for literature in the 2021-2022 PTSA Reflections Contest. More than 900 entries in 47 states met the challenge to submit entries expressing “How I Can Change the World.” Emma Jacob’s piece “How Forgiveness Can Change the World” advanced to the National…

EPCHS Principal Bill Sanderson stands with seniors Marissa Burke and Diana Tracey who had perfect attendance throughout their four years of high school. (Supplied photos)

EPCHS students achieve perfect attendance

2 seniors did it for all 4 years Twenty-one Evergreen Park Community High School students were recognized with an offer of a complimentary breakfast in the EPCHS cafeteria on, May 20, for having achieved perfect attendance for the 2021-2022 school year. Perfect attendance is truly an accomplishment, and we commend the following students and their…

Sharon Vojtek, of Palos Heights, and her dog, Spirit, and Meghan Shanahan, of Chicago, and her dog, Keegan, were part of the Oak Lawn Public Library's Finals Week Puppy Break on May 19. (Photos by Kelly White)

Finals Week Puppy Break at the Oak Lawn Library

By Kelly White Spirit, an 8-year-old Border Collie mix, loves being around people. So much so, that she paid a visit to the Oak Lawn Public Library to help students study for finals. That’s right, a dog in a library; and, she wasn’t the only one. The Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 Raymond Ave., hosted…

More than 100 Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School students, in the sixth- through eighth-grade, took part in the Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 Art Show on April 28 that that celebrated students’ creative accomplishments and artistic talents. (Supplied photos)

OLHMS showcases student artwork

By Kelly White Students in the Oak Lawn community proudly showcased their artists talents last month. More than 100 Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School students, in the sixth- through eighth-grade, took part in the Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 Art Show on April 28 that celebrated students’ creative accomplishments and artistic talents. “When I went to…

regional 2022-0516-palos_sout_say_something_1

Palos South Middle School students recognized for Say Something Week Campaign

From staff reports Students in the Palos South Middle School Save Promise Club have been recognized by the non-profit organization Sandy Hook Promise for their efforts to create a more inclusive school environment. The students were recently named one of the winners of the 2022 Say Something Week Award for their week-long campaign in March…

CRR NH Prusak Roofing House Ad
Regional Aurelios Pizza House Ad