You probably would not be surprised if I told you that the debate about vaccines and their association with a myriad of things (backed up only by loony, religious-like beliefs without any science) can get a little bit rough. I’ve told you about our Douchebag Emerti-ass Dr. Bob Sears and his crazy band of Facebook followers. Or weirdo John Stone from Age of Autism who for a while was intent on finding out who I really was (maybe going as far as to call a certain health department in a certain capital city of a certain country and whining about me not being an epidemiologist). I’ve told you about Joe Gooding and his band of “Passive Agressive Ravens” who take work published in other media and don’t link to it but just copy it verbatim onto their site, changing the headline to blame vaccines for whatever the issue is. (More on them in a minute.)
Listen, there is no shortage of evil people out there who just want to watch the world burn. They have theirs, so you shouldn’t have yours. They’ve been protected by herd immunity and their own vaccinations, so children the world over should not be vaccinated anymore. They are living fat and happy in the United States, so children in Somalia should get measles because it’s their fault they don’t have proper sanitation (or some bullshit like that). Most recently, they’ve taken to social media to find the profiles of people who are trying to promote the best public health intervention we have, and they are attacking those people relentlessly.
Joe Gooding and his child-like friends, for example, have started to post personal information and photographs on social media of people they dislike:
“Since early last summer, when Renee began advocating publicly for childhood vaccination, a dedicated clique of Twitter trolls has hounded her every tweet. They’ve filmed nasty videos, defamed her to colleagues — even posted photos that suggest they’ve followed her on the street. But Renee was particularly irked when some of her stalkers began posting photos of her, and her toddler, that they’d lifted from her private Facebook account. She filed several several harassment reports to Twitter, but the photos weren’t taken down.”
Because nothing settles vaccine safety science like these vile tactics.
Not to be outdone, Joe and his men-baby friends quickly posted a screed about free speech and whatnot, natch. Because free speech allows you and I, apparently, to lie about people and make them feel unsafe. It allows you, according to these kids, to relentlessly attack and smear at all costs.
What’s funny is that I and others have been accused of bullying and making fun of “autism parents” by simply stating to them, time and time again, that vaccines do not cause autism and that autism is not something you cure. When we tell them that they are doing a disservice to their children by calling those children “lost” or “missing” or “gone,” these “autism parents” say that we’re being abusive. Have they taken a good look at what they’re doing? How do they think the children will feel when being talked about like that?
Of course, no one does abuse of autistics quite like Andrew Wakefield has. His latest high-school AV club-quality “documentary” is full of the usual lies, including the lie that there is a “CDC Whistleblower” who is going to make the whole vaccine program fall. The program won’t fall. The “whistleblower” is not whistling anything. There is nothing in any of the documents he’s provided. As usual, Andrew Wakefield has made a mountain out of a mole hill.
To make matters worse, when a group of autistic advocates went to protest Andrew Wakefield and his anti-autism documentary, the protestors were abused relentlessly. So proud of their abuse of these autistic people were wakefield and friends that they posted a video of it on Facebook. (Be warned, it contains some pretty abusive people being horrible to autistics who have a hard enough time as it is to communicate without being harassed.)
Here’s the video: https://www.periscope.tv/w/1RDxlOANgqmJL
On the Facebook page, people are absolutely happy that these autism advocates were harassed so much:
But this shouldn’t surprise you if you’ve been reading this blog, or Orac’s, or Todd W’s, or Liz Ditz’s, or Skeptical Raptor, etc. This is what anti-vaccine cultists do. They can’t fight the science with any kind of evidence, so they resort to name-calling, conspiracy theories, and libelous claims about anyone who debunks them. It can get so bad that they try to bully and dox a 12-year-old child.
So why pay attention to them? Why continue to point out to you the stupidity with which they handle being opposed? Because it’s fun? No. The reason we (here at The Poxes, and I don’t claim to speak for anyone else) keep covering them is because their actions need to be brought out of the echo chamber they inhabit on social media and blogs, and we need to explain to bystanders that this is not normal behavior. It is simply not normal to say that an autistic child is broken, or stupid, or missing, or dead. It is not normal to say that a mother killing her autistic child is preferable to the mother caring for the child. And it is not normal to so vigorously oppose vaccination without a shred of evidence that is causes injuries in the numbers and intensity that they propose.
There’s nothing normal in being afraid of autism being “normalized.” As if that’s a bad thing.