Is it evil?

I’m not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but, as I’ve been dreaming up the plot of “The Poxes,” I’ve been thinking a lot about the criminal mind. This all came to the forefront yesterday as I watched what was happening in Boston. All at once, I was worried about the people there and the people I know who live in Boston, and then I began to think about the kind of person who does something like bombing a group of people at a sporting event.

Like Ren wrote yesterday:

“Those people were not there in a political protest. They were not there as part of a religious sect. And they were certainly a mix of people from all walks of life and backgrounds. They were as innocent as innocent people get.”

Whoever places bombs in such a group of people is no less than evil.

Staying with the theme of this blog, is someone who willingly doesn’t vaccinate and then wants to work in a healthcare setting evil? If they bring in with them a deadly, vaccine-preventable pathogen, are they evil? Is someone who makes it their mission in life to “bringing the U.S. vaccine program to its knees” evil? Is Andrew Wakefield evil not only for his fraudulent study but also for the things he’s done since then? What about a person who sells a remedy that is known to be no better than water in treating a disease (i.e. homeopathy)?

People in the anti-science and anti-vaccine camps will say that, no, these people are not evil. They’re just “looking for answers” or going against “the status quo” or against “Big Pharma.” They’re brave “mavericks” that are giving us “choice” in our health care. The Australian (Anti-)Vaccine Network is not anti-vaccine, it’s pro informed choice… So they inform with misinformaiton. Same goes for the National Vaccine Information Center, where the very rare aderse events from vaccines are exaggerated and not put into context. They do not think of themselves as evil.

In “The Poxes,” the antagonist so far has been doing some very bad things, and he’s planning more bad things. He is doing it out of a sense of justice against the people that, in that fictional universe, really did bring the vaccination program to its knees. Is he evil?

In my opinion, people who knowingly injure or place innocent people at risk are evil. If they do it unknowingly, like the millions of parents who fail to vaccinate because they’ve been led astray by anti-vaccine people and organizations, then they’re not evil. (They’re not “good,” either, but that’s for a whole other discussion.) People who target innocents in order to injure them in any way, physical or psychological, are evil.

When evil rises, the good people need to rise as well, and rise even higher. It may seem like this anti-anti-vaccine battle is pointless or small in the greater scheme of things, but it’s not. People are being hurt, as we can see in the measles outbreaks in Wales and Nigeria, or the polio shootings in Africa and Pakistan. Children are dying, as you can see in the dozens of children dead this flu season (most of them unvaccinated). These are real, palpable consequences… Deaths. And we need to continue to work to keep them at a minimum and fight back the malevolent acts and words of the anti-vaccine and anti-science groups and people.

Keep on keeping on.