Need a laugh? Read this anti-vax lawsuit.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: I’m not a lawyer. My expertise comes from investigating infectious diseases, how they spread, who spreads them, that kind of stuff. So take the following criticism of an anti-vaccine cult’s lawsuit against California over vaccine requirements and just that, random criticism intended to bring out the sheer delusional stupidity of the people filing the suit and, sadly, their lawyer.

The plaintiff is a group calling itself “Revolt, Revoke, Restore” which is attempting to overturn Senate Bill 277, which passed recently and eliminated personal belief exemptions from vaccine requirements in California. In essence, the only way a parent can skip their child’s immunization requirements for school is if the child has a medical exemption. No more skipping shots because the parent has bought into anti-vaccine propaganda. No more skipping shots because the parent has some weirdo religious belief against vaccines.

As you can imagine, some people went nuts over the new law. Some even went as far as to threaten violence against those who supported the bill. The people who run “Revolt, Revoke, Restore” decided to do something less dangerous and hilarious. They filed the worst lawsuit I have ever read. Here is their site, and here is the lawsuit. Follow along.

As all good lawsuits should begin, this one starts off with a quote from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., then goes downhill from there:

“Prologue: “They can put anything they want in that vaccine and they have no accountability for it.” – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

SB 277 removes the “personal beliefs” exemption as a basis for parents to opt-out of state mandated “immunization” requirements for schoolchildren. Plaintiffs oppose this tyrannical bill because it wrongfully places the interests of the national vaccine market above the interests of California children; and sadly, this is a symptom of a larger sickness that debilitates the nation. America stands alone; we are the only nation on Earth in which healthcare is dispensed first and foremost to create shareholder value, and only secondarily for health-related reasons, and even then, with little or no regard for patients’ rights as individuals.”

Again, I’m no expert, but I do believe that you must stick to the facts of the matter is you want to convince a judge or a jury that you’re serious about what you’re arguing and that you haven’t completely lost your goddamned mind. Notice that the bill is “tyrannical”, the Big Pharma shill gambit, and the “what about our rights?!” connotations.

It doesn’t stop there, however. We get hints of race-baiting a few sentences later:

“If SB 277 takes effect, California will be left with a decidedly “segregated” school system — vaxxed and unvaxxed — where many children will suffer invidious discrimination based on “medical status” (a protected class under California law). Under a Brown vs. Board of Education analysis, such a bifurcated school system — vaxxed and unvaxxed — reeks of “separate-but-equal,” and thus, cannot be allowed to stand. Under California law, segregation based on “medical status” is every bit as odious as segregation based on “race,” “creed” or “color.” “

Don’t you see that unvaccinated children will be bussed all-unvaccinated schools and treated like second-class citizens by the society around them? Of course, they won’t. The bill is basically telling parents that they have every right not to vaccinate, but they don’t have the right to place all children at risk by allowing their children to be vectors of disease. Their children can be homeschooled, or go to an private institution that allows such shenanigans (probably in some other state). However, public tax money will not be spent on children whose parents are irresponsible in protecting the health of all children.

Ah, but notice that the plaintiffs are being oppressed:

“Plaintiffs steadfastly refuse to surrender their constitutional right to exercise “personal beliefs” — i.e., their sincerely held philosophic, conscientious, and religious objections to State-mandated immunization; furthermore, Plaintiffs refuse to surrender their children’s constitutional right to go to school.”

Like any good lawyer, but in a bad way, the argument then turns to semantics:

“It is worth noting that SB 277 is conspicuously silent as to the words “vaccine” or “vaccination.” Remarkable as it sounds, neither the words “vaccine” nor “vaccination” ever appear at SB 277; and Plaintiffs were surprised when they learned this! Most notably, SB 277 uses only the term “immunization,” (but never
the term “vaccination”). And this is quite significant because, of course, there is a world of difference between “vaccination” and “immunization.”

The term “immunization” is a conclusion that a disease-fighting shield is in effect; whereas, by contrast, the term “vaccination” refers to a one-time medical event that (ostensibly) leads to “immunization.” The language of Sacramento lawmakers is clear and unambiguous — no vaccines required! SB 277 requires only “immunization,” and Plaintiffs’ children are already naturally “immunized.” “

Right. The whole “immunization” versus “vaccination” argument is one of the favorites by anti-vaccine zealots. They claim that not all vaccines lead to immunity, so vaccines are not immunizations. This is ignorance of science at its worst. Of course vaccines don’t always lead to immunity. Nothing in this world is 100% perfect. But the terms are interchangeable in the medical community and amongst laypeople. They’re just grasping at straws.

This part made me chuckle and shake my head:

“Science cannot explain “why” vaccines kill, nor can science predict “who” will next suffer vaccine injuries or “when.” Under a simple cost-benefit analysis, the “costs” associated with vaccines clearly outweigh any “benefit” — because vaccines come with no immunization guarantee and instead carry the very palpable risk of death.”

I hope the judge drags this lawyer into the courtroom and demands evidence that “science cannot explain ‘why’ vaccines kill.” Science can very much explain this. Some people, very few and very, very rarely, have bad reactions to vaccines. And an even smaller subset of those people do end up dying, unfortunately. But that very small number is not an excuse to endanger the rest of society by stopping immunizations… sorry, vaccinations… altogether. Furthermore, from effectivity and efficiency studies, science can very much guarantee what percentage of those receiving the vaccine… sorry, immunization… will become immune. Heck, we can even tell you with near certainty how long that immunity will last in the average person in an average community.

In an “epilogue” (EPILOGUE?), the lawyer writes: “Freedom means nothing if you can’t keep the government out of your body.” Except that this is not the government in your body. Not even close. This is the government telling people with weird anti-vaccine beliefs that they are not allowed to make others stick. They are not allowed to endanger public health for their own benefits.

After the weirdo epilogue, we get a description of the plaintiffs, and they’re rather interesting:

“Plaintiff, TAMARA BUCK, believes that vaccinations are extremely risky for everyone, especially infants and children. Her philosophy on immunity is that natural immunity is the safest and best kind of immunity we can acquire. Plaintiff, TAMARA BUCK, breastfed her daughter for 30 months in order to pass on immunity, and to help her daughter fight disease while her immune system matured. Her daughter has been extremely healthy since the day she was born, with no immune issues whatsoever. Philosophically, TAMARA BUCK, believes it is important to continue on her child’s current vaccine-free path. Because her daughter will enter seventh grade this coming fall, it constitutes a new “grade span” under SB 277, which requires mandatory immunization; and unless she compromises her “personal beliefs,” her daughter will be denied the rest of her free public education based on SB 277. Plaintiff, TAMARA BUCK, will be required to homeschool her daughter – and remain out of the work force, or relocate out of state.”

Poor, oppressed Tamara. Then there’s this doozy:

“Plaintiff, SHARON BROWN, a Riverside County resident, is a 42-year old wife of a law enforcement officer, mother of two children, one of whom had severe vaccine reactions. Plaintiff, SHARON BROWN’S two children are upstanding, honor roll students in the public school system, of which SHARON BROWN is an active financial contributor and weekly volunteer. SHARON BROWN is a degreed, working professional with 15 years’ experience in the engineering recruiting industry. Plaintiff, SHARON BROWN, is a Christian fiercely opposed to the practice of harvesting fetal cells from live babies for use in vaccines. SHARON BROWN, believes in a holistic lifestyle, rejecting genetically modified foods (GMOs), pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, and other chemicals, as much as possible. In addition, SHARON BROWN believes that SB 277 violates her right to privacy by “outing” her family as non-vaccinators.”

Jesus Christ!

And then there’s this one:

“Plaintiff, SARAH LUCAS, a Butte County resident, is a 33-year-old single, low-income, Christian, mother of three children who have had most recommended vaccinations. All three of SARAH LUCAS’ children experienced vaccine failure or adverse physical reactions resulting in urgent care and ER visits. Plaintiff, SARAH LUCAS, believes that, if her children aren’t immune by now, then that is a failure of the vaccines and failure to further vaccinate should not impact public school access. Plaintiff, SARAH LUCAS, refuses to again put her healthy children in danger simply to exercise their fundamental right to a public education.”

This one convinces me that the lawyer has no clue of how to lawyer. If he did, he would have told Sarah that the children could get a medical exemption if the reaction to the vaccines occurred as is claimed. That would get them in the clear to go to school, and, if anything, puts them in the group of kids that need to be protected through herd immunity.

Seriously, who is this lawyer? Where did they go to school?

I have a suspicion that this lawsuit is going nowhere and that the plaintiffs are going to claim that the judge is somehow biased or bought, or whatever… Just like all the other anti-vaccine lawsuits that have gone nowhere and the plaintiffs shriek that there’s been foul play instead of acknowledging how ridiculous their claims are.

Sybil Ballew and the Anti-Vaccine Crowd

I’ve asked time and time again for evidence from the anti-vaccine crowd that a pro-vaccine person or a public health worker has ever bullied, threatened, or spread lies about them in any medium. They are yet to respond. The closest they have come to saying that they’re being “abused” online is to say that the public health requirement that their children be vaccinated for school is “discrimination” or “persecution” for their personal beliefs. They also say that “forced” vaccination is just as bad as sexual assault or rape, and that the people who support mandatory vaccination of children in order for those children to participate in publicly funded programs is just like human trafficking.

Instead, what I have been seeing from many anti-vaccine types is some pretty harsh words and “wishes” aimed at public health officials, physicians, and anyone else who supports vaccines, including myself. They wish that I were dead or threaten me on their online radio podcasts. Others are not as open about their identities and hide behind pseudonyms online. Then they laugh when I remind them that there really is no such thing as online anonymity.

There is no such thing as online anonymity. If you go to a judge right now and show them that I have violated the law in any way, or that I am a danger to myself, the judge will issue an order for WordPress to reveal my internet protocol (IP) address from where I have been logging onto WordPress to post. From there, it’s all a matter of using some simple IP lookup tools to figure out where I live. Then you take that information to local law enforcement and you can pretty much uncover my identity.

All of it depends on me doing something bad enough to warrant the intervention of law enforcement. Short of that, you could take all that I have written and run it against some algorithm somewhere to see if there are any similarities between my style and content and that of other writers, bloggers, etc. Of you could bribe someone at WordPress and have them give you my IP address, but, in doing so, you’d be making me a millionaire since I could sue WordPress for violating my privacy.

I feel the need to remind you that I can see your IP address when you comment on this blog. I have a strict policy of not revealing your identity to third parties unless it is absolutely necessary to do so, or you have agreed for me to do it. I’ll do it if the greater good is at stake. But I will never do it to “out” you because the anti-vaccine types want to know who you are. This brings me to the next theme of this blog post.

I was contacted through Facebook by a person who claimed to be a friend of one of the readers/commenters of this blog. That person wanted to know how the reader was doing, claiming that they had not heard from the reader but recognized their pseudonym from previous conversations. When I asked the person to tell me the true name of the reader, they devolved into hurling insults and claiming that they were “very close” to figuring out who I was and to suing me. When I asked what the lawsuit would be for, they blocked their Facebook account. It’s been three weeks, and I have not heard from them since.

As I am sure that the person who contacted me through Facebook has read this blog, and might even be reading this right now, I’d like to remind them (and anyone else who thinks that online activity can be anonymous), of the sad case of Sybil Ballew. Ms. Ballew is a woman in Georgia who thought her libelous rants against a person would be anonymous. She thought no one would find out who she was and that she could say whatever she wanted to say:

“Cooley’s saga began with the murder of his fiancee, Paulette Harper, at the hands of her ex-husband in September of 2008. A few days later, the postings on the Blairsville page of Topix.com started showing up.

The poster wrote Cooley was a “pervert” and drug addict with a lengthy criminal record, a man who had been in prison and rehab. Harper’s daughter, who was 9 at the time, must be protected from Cooley, the poster wrote.

“I didn’t really even know the woman. I knew her in passing,” Cooley, 44, told the AJC. “She worked at two places [where] I was a customer.”

Cooley had a criminal background check run on himself showing that he had no such past, but people didn’t seem to care. Eventually he had to leave Blairsville, where his mother, sister and two sons lived, to find another job. He now lives in Augusta and works as a hairdresser.

Ballew is the woman who wrote the posts under the pseudonyms Mouth, Calvin, Bugs, Yuck, Rebel and Slim. She admitted in court that she also had conversations with herself, posting her concerns on the site under one name and then agreeing with the posts under another persona.

When asked in court why she wrote those things about Cooley, Ballew answered, “I watched him and I can tell a pervert. Every time a pretty girl walked by, he would look at them. I get a feeling.””

That “feeling” of Ms. Ballews cost her an award of $404,000 by a court who found her libelous postings under different pseudonyms to be just that, libelous. In much the same way, what the anti-vaccine crowd says about any of us defending science and reason need to pay attention to that story and know that if any of us get an itch to go find a lawyer, we can bankrupt them in a heartbeat. There comes a point when their libelous statements and accusations cross a line from Free Speech into libel/slander, and there are plenty of legal remedies for any of us to follow.

We are not killing any children by advocating for vaccination. We are not discriminating against you by pointing out the stupidity in your anti-vaccine rants. And we are most certainly not being paid by “Big Pharma” to do all this. That last one is one that can be used against the anti-vaccine zealots because some of us have contracts which prohibit us from receiving money from pharmaceuticals. To accuse us of such a thing, and to do it publicly and in a way that can catch the attention of our employers, can very well be argued to be interference with our contracts.

Yes, you may have deep pockets and lots of lawyer friends, but that only allows for us to be richer at the end, and for us to give all of your wealth to vaccination programs the next day, just after we gloat about it on our blogs.