The Internet plumbs new depths: anti-vaxers harass parents who lose children

This article from CNN (click on screenshot below) shows about the worst Internet behavior I’ve seen—behavior that makes the Young Adult Fiction Police look like saints. Read and weep copiously:

What happens here is that parents who lose children from disease, and mourn for them online, are viciously attacked on social media by antivaxers. The reasons are various, but none come from those who favor vaccines. Parents are either accused of killing their children with vaccines, of spreading the “false gospel” of vaccination, or are simply attacked when, if their child died because he/she couldn’t be vaccinated, they campaign for other children to be vaccinated. Those campaigns really get the trolls exercised. Here are a few examples:

On May 6, 2016, Promoli put her toddlers Jude and his twin brother Thomas, down for an afternoon nap in their home. Jude had a low-grade fever, but he was laughing and singing when he went down for his nap.

When his mother went to check on him two hours later, he was dead. Promoli said the next few weeks were “a living hell.”

“Having to go in and plan a funeral and find the ability somehow to even take steps to walk into a funeral home, to make plans and decide whether to bury or cremate your child — it was just all so horrifying,” she said.

When an autopsy came back showing Jude had died of the flu, Promoli started her flu prevention campaign.

That’s when the online attacks began.

Some anti-vaxers told her she’d murdered Jude and made up a story about the flu to cover up her crime. Others said vaccines had killed her son. Some called her the c-word.

The worst ones — the ones that would sometimes make her cry — were the posts that said she was advocating for flu shots so that other children would die from the shots and their parents would be miserable like she was.

“The first time it made me feel really sick because I couldn’t fathom how anybody could even come up with such a terrible claim,” Promoli said. “It caught me off guard in its cruelty. What kind of a person does this?”

Want more?

Serese Marotta lost her 5-year-old son, Joseph, to the flu in 2009, and is now chief operating officer of Families Fighting Flu, a group that encourages flu awareness and prevention, including vaccination.
In 2017, she posted a video on the eighth anniversary of her son’s death to reinforce the importance of getting the flu vaccine.
“SLUT,” one person commented. “PHARMA WHORE.”
“May you rot in hell for all the damages you do!” a Facebook user wrote on another one of her posts.
She says a Facebook user in Australia sent her a death threat”She called me a lot of names I won’t repeat and used the go-to conspiracy theories about government and big pharma, and I responded, ‘I lost a child,’ and questioned where she was coming from, and she continued to attack me,” said Marotta, who lives in Syracuse, New York.

One more:

Grieving mothers aren’t the only targets of anti-vaxer abuse.

Dorit Reiss, a professor at UC Hastings School of Law, has received countless vile messages, and as with the mothers, many of the messages are gender-oriented. Over the years, she’s become pretty blasé about it.

“‘Whore’ is pretty normal,” said Reiss, a pro-vaccine advocate who has written extensively about vaccines. “I’ve also been called a [c**t].”

Sometimes Reiss, who is Jewish, receives comments that mention the Holocaust.

One Facebook user made a meme with a photo of her father with “Proud Supporter of the Vaccine Holocaust.” Reiss says her father has nothing to do with vaccines.

Another meme shows a photo of Reiss holding her infant son and it says that Reiss is “FORCE-injecting” her baby with vaccines.Below the photo is written: “Because one holocaust wasn’t enough.”

There are threats on the lives of pro-vaccination doctors like Paul Offit, messages far more hateful than anything I’ve ever gotten. I don’t even want to repeat them here, but you can see them in the article.

Facebook is trying to moderate this debate, and I heard on the news that although they’re not going to ban anti-vaxers, they will “moderate” discussion. I am conflicted about banning, as these morons are urging actions that can cause widespread and near-immediate harm; but on balance I think they should be allowed to speak, for that sparks a debate in which their claims can be refuted. (Harassment of individuals, and the use of threats, however, are not protected speech and can be prosecuted.)  Facebook did say they would give anti-vaxer comments a lower profile on their pages, which I guess is a decent solution. They will, however, try to prevent targeting of individuals like those above.

Finally, there’s some interesting material about “spies” who infiltrate anti-vaxer groups like Stop Mandatory Vaccination and find out that, despite the denials of that group’s officials, the members urge each other to harass parents whose children have died.

This is one reason why I don’t like anonymity on the Internet. Even if we don’t ban anti-vaxer discussions, at least the people involved should be required to give their real names, and thus held accountable for their statements. And their actions are disgusting: this onslaught of harassment of grieving parents is the lowest to which our species can sink. All we can do is educate ourselves about the benefits of vaccination and keep arguing.

The CNN article ends on a sad note: this made me tear up a bit:

When she sees anti-vaxers talking about parents in their closed groups, [Erin] Costello, the online pro-vaccine spy, gets in touch with those parents to warn them they may be getting nasty messages from the anti-vaxers.

When Costello reached out to the mother in the Midwest, she explained why she was contacting her.

“I know you’re likely getting many horrible messages on Facebook right now,” Costello wrote to the mother. “Children such as [yours] are the reason why I do my part to fight for overwhelming acceptance of vaccines as well as fight against the lies and misinformation that are recklessly spread around against vaccines.”

The mother wrote back.

“I appreciate the strong role you take in helping protect families like mine,” she said.

After hundreds of Facebook comments from anti-vaxers, the mother turned off comments on her page, and deleted many of the ones she received.

Some are still in her head, though. She weeps as she remembers the one that was hardest to read.

“The ones that said this was a fake story. That he wasn’t real. That my child didn’t exist,” she said. “Because when your child dies, that’s the biggest fear — that he will be forgotten.”

That’s how low these jerks will sink.


h/t: Diane G.


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    In other anti-vaxer news, Kentucky’s Republican governor Matt Bevin bragged in a radio interview yesterday that he has eschewed having his nine (!) children vaccinated against chicken pox, and has instead intentionally exposed them all to the disease.

    • darrelle
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      I saw something just the other day about a new hip thing among anti-vaxers. Chicken pox parties. Yep. Groups get their children together with at least one infected child in hopes that they’ll all get chicken pox. “Just go ahead and get it out of the way” seems to be the sentiment.

      These people are nucking futs.

      • Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        We had chicken pox parties when I was a kid. They were called schools. 😉

        • darrelle
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          No kidding! It sure seemed that way.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        I heard of those parties back before there was a chicken pox vaccine but now they continue. Good grief.

        • darrelle
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          Suffering’s good for the constitution, donchya know?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, I recall when I was a kid, parents would purposely expose their offspring to chicken pox while the kids were young. The fear, as I recall, was that if males didn’t contract the disease until they were adults, it could lead to sterility.

          Why anyone would still do it now, when there’s an available vaccine, I don’t understand — unless it’s that those were the days of Levittown and Leave It to Beaver and Ozzie & Harriet, and if it was good enough for them then, it should be good enough for us now. Those are the days the “Make America Great Again” crowd idealizes.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

            The sterility thing is with mumps, not with chicken pox. Note that possible sterility is not strictly limited to adults contracting mumps.

      • JezGrove
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        There’s even a Wikipedia article on the phenomenon, naturally: I first heard about “chickenpox parties” through my (pro-vaccine) sister in Oregon. Italy, where her husband was born, has just introduced a strict new law banning unvaccinated children:

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        Yes they are, now chickenpox is and benign, you only expose your children to get shingles later, and apart from excruciating pain, if in the eye, just a possible loss of the eye. But hey shingles is only unilateral, so they still have the other one…
        Measles is much worse, if your child survives it apparently unscathed, it sets back their immune system for several years, significantly increasing their chances to die from other diseases.
        Fucking nuts -and criminally negligent- indeed.

        • Posted March 22, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

          Shingles is only usually unilateral. I’ve read of many cases of bilateral. And many people who have it come back again and again.

          There are now two shingles vaccines. I recommend getting both of them.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

            Shingles and chickenpox is the very same virus, Varicella zoster. a herpes virus. After chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in a ganglion.
            Shingles is generally limited to a single dermatoma, occasionally 2, eg trigeminal nerve 1 and 2, but even then unilaterally. A unilateral rash makes any dr immediately think of shingles.
            Shingles is common in people with compromised immunity (elderly, HIV, etc), but even in those, bilateral involvement is extremely rare, so I do take issue with you there, it is not ‘usually’, but ‘virtually exclusively’ unilateral.
            Some patients with shingles do get a kind of generalized chickenpox, but I would not call that bilateral shingles. They generally die within a few days, btw.
            As for a shingles vaccine, I’d guess it is the same as the chicken pox vaccine.

      • max blancke
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        I read about Poe’s account of such a party in “Masque of the Red Death”.

      • Harrison
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:38 am | Permalink

        Intentionally exposing kids to chickenpox is not merely an antivaxxer phenomenon. People forget sometimes that the chickenpox vaccine is barely two decades old. And it is a disease that is more dangerous for adults than children.

        Now we have a vaccine it’s completely unnecessary, but it’s not something the antivax movement invented.

      • Posted March 22, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        So, this was true when I was very small: When parents heard of a kid with chicken pox, they brought their kids by to be infected (young). Rather than get it as an adult, which is apparently much worse. This was just normal practice, sort of informal vaccination. (Of course now, with vaccine, why would you? We had our sons vaccinated.)

        I can attest the the shingles is serious and something to assiduously avoid. Get your shingles vaccines! One of my nurses in 2017 was permanently deafened in one ear by shingles. A friend of one my local pharmacists (she told me) was blinded in one eye by shingles.

        I still (> 2 years later) have some residual post-herpetic neuralgia.

        There are now two shingles vaccines. I recommend getting both.

        • darrelle
          Posted March 22, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

          Growing up pretty much everyone did get chicken pox and mumps sometime before 12 years of age, but I never heard or knew of parents intentionally getting their kids infected.

          I understand the reasoning but I’m not entirely convinced that even prior to vaccines this was a good idea. I’d want to see statistics about bad outcomes in adults vs bad outcomes in children. “Folk wisdom” like this is quite often not accurate. Even if the disease is more dangerous for adults in some way that doesn’t necessarily mean the over all odds favor intentionally infected kids. I’ve no doubt that some number of children suffered serious repercussions, permanent debilitation and even death due to this practice. While the majority of kids who contract these diseases recover just fine there is always some percentage who don’t.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 22, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

            Chickenpox is more severe if you contract it as an adult and adults are more likely to suffer complications. It is recommended that if an adult has not had chickenpox that they get vaccinated.

    • Derek Freyberg
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Yes, not only giving them a disease that will be extremely uncomfortable while in its “itch” phase, but offers the interesting possibilities of pneumonia, encephalitis, and skin infections (though fortunately it is rarely fatal), plus the thrill of getting shingles later in life.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        And hopefully those kids grow up, see the errors of their parents’ ways & get the shingles vaccine.

        • Posted March 22, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          Everyone (older than 50 at least) should get the shingles vaccines — there are two of them now.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 22, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

            I got mine last year and I’m under 50. Too many people my age and younger were getting shingles. I opted for Shingrix.

    • Ted Burk
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      I’m surprised no one has mentioned the connection between having chickenpox early in life and having shingles later. Since his kids didn’t get the chickenpox vaccine now, let’s hope they have enough sense to get shingles vaccination when they grow up.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        Ha – I just said the same thing. Jinx!

        • Posted March 22, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          Jinx! Ha, haven’t heard that in a long time!

    • Deodand
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:07 am | Permalink

      It gets worse, if you go looking you will find that Anti-Vaxxers have tried to do the same thing with the measles.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    And if you wonder about the involvement of Facebook in all of this matter, take a look at this one

    I’s likely that approx. 9000 people were persecuted – ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar from Aug. to Dec. 2017 due to hate speech on Facebook.

  3. Adam M.
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    This is so crazy and over the top. A “vaccine holocaust“? The statistics on vaccine safety are readily available, as are the statistics about what percentage of children and adults died of diseases before we had vaccines for them, and it’s plain to see that while vaccines do kill or harm some people they’re far better than the alternative. Even if we take their word that vaccines cause autism, the incidence of autism is still much lower than the incidence of harm caused by the diseases vaccines prevent! I really don’t understand how these people can get so far from reality and reason.

    The only thing I’d agree with is that many pro-vaccine sites do “lie” about vaccine safety by portraying them as perfectly safe when in fact they’re only very safe.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Oh but those stats are false and put out by the government which is corrupt and trying to kill you. /sarcasm

      • Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        It is so sad and frustrating. It doesn’t matter if you bring evidence and reason to the discussion as these morons only take that as indicative of which side you’re on.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          Yep and they just assert over and over that “big pharma” and the government can’t be trusted.

          • Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

            Of course, government and Big Pharma can’t always be trusted but it doesn’t mean everything they say is false or that truth can’t be found.

            • Nicolaas Stempels
              Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

              In Western Europe most vaccines were made by the Pasteur Institutes, They are definitely not ‘Big Pharma’, but non-profits. I’m not sure about the present situation though.

              • Posted March 22, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

                I think it took a similar trajectory here in the US. Vaccines used to be created by academics who didn’t seek to profit monetarily from their discoveries. Now Big Pharma does most of it. This is not my area so perhaps this is overly simplistic.

      • Adam M.
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        Of course. 😛 I just think that, you know, we’d notice if there was a holocaust going on. We’d all know people who lost a kid to vaccines. Maybe we’re all in on it!

    • Posted March 22, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      It has been established by several researches and projects that vaccines do not cause autism. Autism starts in utero and is largely genetic.

    • Posted March 22, 2019 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Here is what an excellent website about autism says:

  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I posted about the woman who lost her twin on FB a few days ago and commented that “people are the worst”. It’s so horrible out there that these people can harass, bully, and silence others (I believe the woman closed her FB account and was then harassed via text and email) but to bully people who are going through something like losing their child for the fact that the bullies don’t like that the child’s death contradicts their ideology – that’s just sick and reminds me of the false flag accusations hurled against parents whose kids were killed in shooting rampages.

    • Filippo
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink


  5. Adam M.
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    It’s horrible that people can be so nasty to others. I really don’t understand it. Even if you truly think somebody is an agent of an evil conspiracy, it’s doesn’t justify calling them a bitch, cunt, and whore. They’re just so angry!

    That said, maybe I’m unusually insensitive or have too much toxic masculinity, but I can’t imagine having my feathers ruffled by a comment from an unknown person on the internet, no matter my circumstances or what they said (as long as it didn’t go beyond “words on the internet”). It seems like too many people, especially young people and young girls in particular, put themselves out on the internet and get badly hurt by internet bullies, sometimes committing suicide. In this modern age, I wonder if it’s possible to teach kids to be more self-confident and resilient, but I guess there are no easy answers there.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      I used to be called all those things regularly as a 20 year old working at a park. It was the response to people not wanting to pay the $5/car entry fee.

      • Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Response of… surely?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          Yes, response of. I must’ve been thinking what I wanted to do to them for their abuse.

      • Adam M.
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        As the kids say, “smh”. I really don’t get it. I don’t think my parents put any special effort into teaching me good manners – I was mostly left to raise myself – but it seems like you’d have to make a special effort to be so nasty. I wonder if they’re born like that or if they saw their relatives being mean to people and learned it.

    • Sastra
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Sociologists sometimes talk about a phenomenon called “ forward panic,” in which a tense situation simmering resentfully within a crowd suddenly bubbles up and boils over into violence. People suddenly do horrible things which would otherwise horrify them — vandalize, or beat someone to death, or commit gang rapes. Steven Pinker discussed it in one of his books.

      I wonder if such attacks on grieving parents might be the result of an Internet form of forward panic. Some internet communities held together by conspiracy and anger can become very personal and all-consuming to the people in them. A few folks slip a bit further … and the madness of crowds takes over.

  6. Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t expect such monstrosity even from antivaxers!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I noted to a friend of mine that I tend to be fairly cynical and expect nasty behaviour but even I was, if not shocked, outraged.

  7. Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    There are threats on the lives of pro-vaccination doctors like Paul Offit,

    Shouldn’t all doctors be pro vaccine? Even Andrew Wakefield (who I think is technically no longer a doctor) isn’t anti vaccine in general.

  8. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Lewis Black did a Back in Black on The Daily Show last week on how measles came back recently.. There was a kid who defied his parents and got vaccinated. It’s on YouTube.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Another interesting part of the Lewis Black bit was a mother who was declining vaccination – but only one specific vaccine. I’d have to listen again. She had a problem with a particular vaccine for some reason.

  9. JezGrove
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t help that the CIA ran a fake vaccination campaign in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, of course.

    The doctor involved was jailed for more than 30 years, but by then the damage had been done.

  10. Posted March 21, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I saw this a couple days ago.
    So online harassment of this sort is ‘moderated’. Deleted, and maybe the perps get banned.
    But what about criminal charges? The distress this must cost the victims should be similar to being physically threatened. The human psyche cannot parse the difference between the two, so why should one result in no criminal charges while the other is charged?

  11. Roger
    Posted March 21, 2019 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    How many of them are Russian trolls I wonder.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:30 am | Permalink

      Oh get over the ‘Russian trolls’ thing. Unless you can show evidence that there’s a group of Russian anti-vaxxers who are as batshit insane as the American ones, why should any Russian bother with this?

      But I guess ‘Russian trolls’ is a convenient excuse for anything from Donald Trump to Brexit to the 737MAX.


      • Posted March 22, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

        There doesn’t need to be any Russian anti-vaxxers, just the realisation that any dissent or lack of trust in government/elites/science disrupts Western society. Of course, it’s easy to blame the Russians for fomenting all public disaffection and become just a copy of the the Global Jewish conspiracy. But hey, the Russians started that one as well.

    • Posted March 22, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      None at all. Russians are not against vaccines, neither is Putin.

  12. Posted March 21, 2019 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    How quickly we forget. In my mother’s generation, it was common for children to die of diseases that children don’t die from now if they’ve received vaccinations.

    My Mom’s younger sister died of measles in the 8th grade. A brother who had measles at the same time developed such a high fever that it damaged his brain. He became the butt of local small town boys’ humor. It turned my Mom into a protector and defender of individuals like her brother.

  13. Posted March 21, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    They are cut from the same cloth as the Sandy Hook ‘Truthers,’ who claim it never happened, and murdered children never lived.

  14. Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Something very fishy here. This is currently a huge issue here in Oregon because of pending legislation, and I’ve followed arguments from both sides carefully. The so-called “anti-vaxers” (that CNN uses this term betrays a bias from the get-go) are essentially libertarian types who might also oppose seatbelt or bicycle helmet laws. They don’t really care if you want to buckle up or wear a helmet or vaccinate your kid; they just don’t want to be told that they have to. On the vaccination issue they’re basically pro-choice. The pro-vaccine camp, by contrast, is militant and won’t rest until everyone vaccinates their kids, whether voluntarily or because they’re forced to by law—they don’t really care which. Hence, they are far more likely to demonize than be demonized. In short, I’m not sure I buy a word of this a word of this.

    • GBJames
      Posted March 21, 2019 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Libertarian types have trouble understanding the nature of the common good. There is no reason for the rest of us to be subject to ill-informed decisions of anti-vaxx libertarians. They should not have the “choice” to expose the rest of us to increased health risks.

      • Rita Prangle
        Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, GB.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:31 am | Permalink

        I second that.

      • Posted March 22, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Right on GB!

    • Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      The anti-vaxxers who don’t want to be told that they should buckle up will be the same people who have their children riding in cars without seatbelts. In the past, that is how things were done (I am old enough to know). But things are different now, and for the better.
      If the pro-vaxxers are demonizing anyone, it is in some proportion to the gravity of the situation. Like not having children wear seatbelts, not vaccinating children endangers them and causes some to die needlessly. Pressure and shaming seems a fairly mild response.
      There are also those who can not be vaccinated. Very young infants, the elderly, and the immune-compromised. Thru herd immunity those individuals are far better protected from these diseases.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:30 am | Permalink

      What are you insinuating, Mirandaga? Do you think it is an ‘undercover’ operation by pro-vaxxers to undermine anti-vaxxers by giving them a bad name?
      Or am I reading more in your words than you meant?

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted March 22, 2019 at 12:55 am | Permalink

        ‘False flag’ is the right term, not ‘undercover’, before my morning coffee.
        Are you suspecting a false flag operation by the ‘pro-vaxxers’?

        • Posted March 22, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

          “Are you suspecting a false flag operation by the ‘pro-vaxxers’?”

          In a word, yes.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted March 22, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

            That is an extremely serious accusation, do you have any evidence other than your impression (an impression I do not share, btw) that pro-vaxxers are more militant than anti-vaxxers?
            [Note, the comparison with seatbelts is a bad one, a comparison with DUI is more appropriate. After all, anti-vaxxers -often vaccinated themselves- threaten not just the health and lives of their own children]

    • Peter Ruark
      Posted March 23, 2019 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      Herd immunity. The decision to not vaccinate your child is not just an individual decision.

      Why don’t we just pull up all the stop signs? What right has the government to tell us when and where to stop our vehicles?

      • Posted March 26, 2019 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Somewhere I remember reading something about,”for the common good…” In reference to government’s involvement with our daily lives, including stop signs. I mean, take one stop sign away and ppl won’t stop and the. Head into concoming traffic and die (or kill) and I’d say that stop sign is there “for the common good.” Or do you not think that sorta thing isn’t good?

  15. Posted March 21, 2019 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    “Pressure and shaming seems a fairly mild response.”

    I’m not arguing for or against mandatory vaccinations, simply pointing out–as the replies tend to confirm–that it’s the pro-mandated-vaxxers who are more likely to engage in pressuring and shaming than the other way around. I think the CNN report is bogus.

    • Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:52 am | Permalink

      What are you saying–that they made all these reports up? I doubt it. It seems as if you’re accusing CNN fabricating news because what they report doesn’t conform to your expectations of how anti-vaxers should behave. Well, it’s not my job to check CNN’s accuracy, so be my guest. You’re accusing them of wholesale fabrication, and I doubt that highly.

      • Posted March 22, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        “Well, it’s not my job to check CNN’s accuracy, so be my guest.”

        I didn’t mean to suggest that you were remiss posting this without fact-checking it. Nor do I have any evidence for my suspicion other than my extensive experience with the two mind-sets involved: pro-vaxers are far more likely to accuse anti-vaxers of being responsible for the death of their children than vice versa. Because they consider the science to be settled and the stakes to be huge, they feel morally justified in using any tactics whatever to silence/discredit the opposition. Just my take. I wouldn’t be unhappy to be proved wrong on this.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted March 22, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          The science on this is settled.. Stronger, in case of the measles vaccine, it appears now that the ‘immunodeletion’, a kind of immunodepression really, caused by measles can last for several years. Children contracting measles are not just at a much higher risk of dying or being debilitated by measles itself than having a rare adverse reaction to the vaccine, measles destroys the immunity they had against other diseases. They have a much higher mortality rate from other diseases (such as eg. staphylococcal pneumonia) compared to those vaccinated or not having had measles. Double whammy.

  16. yiamcross
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    This is the vanguard of the Idiocracy and the idiot army is growing. Look at the rise of flat earth believers. I though they were mostly trolling the internet for fun but now I realise many of them are sincere and no among of reasoning works. They are able to deny reality even when it’s staring them in the face, belief conquers all. They grow in numbers because they can unite in their belief and form what amounts to a virtual lynch mob. Things can only get worse I fear.

  17. Roo
    Posted March 22, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure what the opposite of the “better angels of our nature” is – the worse demons? At any rate, I think the internet brings this out in spades. And the sad thing is, I’m not convinced that it’s a matter of mistaken ideology first and craven bullying impulses second – I think people may simply seek out ideologies as a thin veneer to act on their preexisting craven bullying impulses.

    That this aspect of the human psyche even exists causes me a tremendous amount of existential angst, but like it or not, it rears its ugly head eon after eon. I think we clearly evolved in a world where cooperation and competition were of roughly equal value, in a yin yang sort of way, and they both have their shadow side when applied lazily and selfishly – bullying and petty tyranny in the case of our competitive instinct; and mindless conformity and groupthink in the case of cooperation. The internet allows people to feel a sense of power over others in a completely unproductive and antisocial manner (out in the real world this wouldn’t work, as any sense of sadistic power a person felt upon engaging in vile bullying would be quickly dissolved by the social repercussions,) and it’s disheartening to see how quickly many people go this route when it’s available to them. (On the positive side, I do think it’s worth remembering that the internet can facilitate movement away from groupthink in productive ways – discussion of atheism in particular is an example of something that people may never consider without at least some initial anonymity.)

  18. Posted March 22, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on A Fox's Burrow.

  19. Posted March 22, 2019 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    As a child, I almost died from the measles. It affected my heart (one of the rarest negative effects of measles). I was so weakened that I was sent to spend several months with a family in the mountains. I missed school for these months, catching up was hard work. Ever since then, heart problems have plagued me all my life. Here’s an article I found a few weeks ago when trying to reason anti-vaxxers with scientific facts:

    View at

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