By Laura Keil, Editor/Publisher

There’s a mantra that’s arisen in the second half of this year’s pandemic. As an anxious person, I quite like it: “I don’t want to live in fear” the mantra goes.

I like the saying. Who wants to live in fear? Anxiety means I’m often overwhelmed by a feeling of dread. It’s terrible. Even when you realize it’s anxiety, it’s hard to calm down. It’s like a virtual reality where you’re bombarded with worst-case scenarios.

That said, I’ve been considering the difference between living in fear and exercising sensible precautions and how the two may not be the same.

Let’s take driving. Living in fear, in my mind, would be avoiding driving due to an irrational fear of dying in a crash. But with the same concern in mind, is putting on a seat belt an example of living in fear? Or is it simply a sensible precaution?

Similarly, with COVID precautions. You could decide that wearing a mask is “living in fear” or you could decide it’s a sensible precaution.

With COVID vaccines, I find that many people are living in fear. It’s a bit like avoiding ever entering a vehicle since you are certain the vehicle itself might kill you. And since the vehicle was made in another country and there are rumours about the funding to make the vehicles, the vehicle cannot be trusted.

Conspiracy theories go straight for the gut. They know how to make us afraid. But they are also easy to debunk by googling. There are reams of journalists who would love to break the story of how a vaccine is going to harm you—thousands of trained reporters who are researching these claims and then doing their job: reporting the facts.

As a journalist, I try not to take anything for granted. I’m a pretty boring person to gossip to, since my response is usually “Really? Where did you hear that?” And often: “That doesn’t sound right.”

All I wish for in this COVID time is that people take the same circumspect attitude they have towards official sources and point it at other sources as well. All information sources have something to gain—and, right now, we all have something to lose.