After yesterday's post about how antivaxers were utterly losing their mind about an ill-chosen idiom that appeared in a Boston Herald editorial last week. In it, the editor concluded by saying that how antivaxers have been preying on the Somali immigrant population in Minnesota, feeding them antivaccine misinformation that has resulted in two measles outbreaks, one in 2011 and one this year, which is up to 58 victims, a number that continues to climb, should be a "hanging offense." In my post, I emphasized the hypocrisy and disingenuousness of the response of antivaxers, who took an offhand use of a questionable idiom and turned it into headlines blaring that the Boston Herald is advocating death squads to undertake the mass murder of antivaxers. Basically, antivaxers routinely use imagery on a daily basis far more violent than an offhand quip about a "hanging offense," such as photos in which antivaccine mothers brandish large caliber weapons to defend their children against depraved pro-vaxers, idiots like Del Bigtree say that antivaxers should take up arms to resist the new California law eliminating nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine requirements (which he hilariously walked back when called on it), and all manner of antivaxers liken the vaccination program to rape, the Holocaust, Nazis, the Titanic, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, and a tsunami.
In fact, I couldn't help but laugh when I saw a particularly odious antivaxer, Ginger Taylor practically beg her fellow antivaxers not to threaten violence or use antisemitic language criticizing the Herald's editorial page editor Rachelle Cohen. Cohen, not surprisingly, has gotten a lot of hate mail, including (predictably, given her name) antisemitic hate mail, complete with a large volume of antisemitic calls and e-mails, leading her to observe drolly (and quite correctly), “Discussions that begin with how sorry folks are I’m not headed for ‘the ovens’ [are] not likely to be fruitful.” (prominently featured was a comment about how disappointed an antivaxer was that she wasn't being sent to the ovens). It amuses me to no end how antivaxers so gleefully make my points for me. Ginger basically has to beg her readers to knock it off with violent imagery far worse than the poorly chosen quip about a “hanging” offense that she now finds oh-so-offensive, coupled with Nazi level antisemitism. Hilarity indeed. I’d almost feel sorry for Ms. Taylor, but she brings it on herself—with gusto—and her Dunning-Kruger arrogance of ignorance is off the charts. However, compared to what's going on now, Ms. Taylor is merely an amusing sideline, as you will see. I realize that some of this will be a little repetitive of yesterday's post, but I consider this important enough to cover again, but from a different angle.
While it was fun to focus on the hypocrisy, what was less fun was what I learned later in the day and only mentioned in addendums. Specifically, it's a very conscious campaign on the part of antivaxers, led by Mike Adams, to threaten and intimidate journalists criticizing the antivaxers who have been spreading misinformation among the Somali community. To give you an idea where he's coming from, he's recently set up a website that he calls Vaccine Holocaust. (Obviously, anything resembling subtlety or good taste was never Adams' strong suit.) At the top of the headlines last night when I perused the website was More children harmed by VACCINES than from GUNSHOTS, government statistics reveal. It's a truly hilariously dumb article in which someone named Lance D. Johnson (who deserves all the ridicule he can get for writing this) takes a look at the horrific statistics on gunshot injuries and deaths among children in the US and compares them to the number of adverse events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database, the vast majority of which are minor and many of the rest not even related to vaccines because lawyers have been encouraging parents to report "vaccine injury" for a long time. Basically, it's comparing data from a verified database (the National Database of Inpatient Stays for Children) to that of a database where the reports are not verified (VAERS) and parents can report that vaccines turned someone into the Incredible Hulk and have the report entered.
The stupid, it burns.
But Vaccine Holocaust is about more than just flaming stupidity. It's about naked intimidation; that is, if Adams actually goes through with his threats. As is his wont, Adams claims to have reported the editorial staff of the Boston Herald to the FBI, the Massachusetts Attorney General, the Boston Police, and more. Not surprisingly, the Attorney General didn't take him seriously (as well he shouldn't have, given the First Amendment). I'm sure there were many chuckles in the Attorney General's office though, likely coupled with a whole lot of facepalming. From this Adams, again, as is his wont, concludes that it's the beginning of a huge conspiracy to murder antivaxers based on the raving of an equally deluded antivaxer, Jeffery Jaxen:
Beta testing, sometimes referred to user acceptance testing, is defined in the computer world as a technique in which hardware is subjected to small trial environment before full implementation. Establishment media outlets and government health agencies have ramped up the pressure and targeting of families, parents, and children over the past few years. Vaccination, once a choice after careful deliberation over the dangers by way of full informed consent, has been painted as an authoritarian demand by the state. The removal of full informed consent, public health debates and medical choice has been superseded to make way for the ever-expanding profit margins of pharmaceutical corporations.
Media outlets now regularly attack and dehumanize anyone who does not subscribe to what can only be described as a religious-like dogma of the failing tenets of the medical-industrial complex. Humanity has witnessed governments and their mouthpieces, often with corporate collusion, attempt to divide and conquer their populations for the purpose of greater control and, in extreme cases, extermination. The slippery slope practice of painting innocent subgroups of society, often used as scapegoats for failed government policy, as a danger to the collective is well-documented and extremely dangerous.
To pave the way for California Senate Bill 277, marinated in Big Pharma money and political corruption, The LA Times ran the article titled "Rich, educated and stupid parents are driving the vaccination crisis." Such a headline now seems tame in today's accepted media landscape ever since the Boston Herald labeled public debate about questionable health practices and parents talking about their children's vaccine injuries "a hanging offense."
You can guess what's coming next. Jaxen cites Anthony Mawson's terrible study that was retracted from not just one, but two, bottom-feeding predatory pay-to-publish "open access" journals without mentioning the little bit about the retraction, and concludes that more fascism in the service of "forced vaccination" is on the way. Not surprisingly, Adams eats this up. Unfortunately, though, he takes it in a truly ugly direction. Based on the Attorney General's recognizing a crank when he sees one (or, quite possibly, a bunch of cranks if several more antivaxers complained), Adams thinks himself justified to do this:
In other words, the Massachusetts government has just told anti-vaxxers that you must now take up your own self-defense against journo-terrorists, since the “authorities” in government refuse to apply the law to those who work at the Boston Herald. Your lives are now in danger. You are being targeted by the Boston Herald and any number of psychopaths who may be motivated by the Herald’s call for mass murder. The government has now declared it will do nothing to stop the calls for murder by “journalists” as long as they are targeting people who oppose toxic vaccine ingredients.
It’s time to start publishing the home addresses of journo-terrorists who escalate violence against concerned parents and independent scientists
This all explains why I plan to publish the home addresses of the journo-terrorists working at the Boston Herald, in order to warn local Bostonians that they might be living next to murderous, sociopathic mental health miscreants who are a danger to society. Since the Massachusetts government refuses to take any action to protect the public from these dangerous psychopaths, it’s obvious that we must take action to protect ourselves. The right to self-defense, after all, is one of the most sacred rights we possess.
Our non-profit division is also launching the public education site VaccineHolocaust.org where journo-terrorists who deny that vaccines harm children will be named and shamed, providing a permanent record of their crimes against children and humanity.
There is a "protest" planned for tomorrow at the Boston Herald being publicized by a local antivaccine group, Health Choice Massachusetts. As of last night there were 23 saying they were going, a whole five up from the night before. In any case, at this "rally," Adams is urging people to do this:
Bring your cameras to the protest! Natural News plans to publish photos of Boston Herald staff members walking to and from the building, their vehicle license plate numbers and other details, to the extent allowed by law. If you attend this rally, be sure to take photos and send them to Natural News for publication.
If anyone attending the rally can bring an audio recorder, attempt to interview Boston Herald staffers and ask if they support government-run execution squads of so-called “anti-vaxxers.” If they answer yes, ask them if they plan to do the killing themselves, or if they want government to do the killing for them. Find out if they plan to use lethal injection, hanging, machetes or guns. After all, history has shown there are all sorts of ways for genocidal factions of society to run mass murder campaigns against the people they don’t like. We’re wondering which method the Boston Herald favors.
You might also ask them whether they think killing children with toxic vaccine ingredients is also ethically justifiable, since they’re also advocating the mass murder of naturopaths, scientists and journalists who oppose mercury in vaccines. Find out if there’s any other group they also think should be murdered, such as “climate denialists” or people who grow herbs. Maybe they hate “man boobs” and want to murder men with breasts.
You know, whenever I think Adams can't sink any lower or become any more ridiculous, he always proves me wrong. As much as I like to laugh at his ridiculousness in urging antivaxers to pretend they're Michael Moore or Geraldo Rivera asking "gotcha" questions, his threat to the journalists of the Boston Herald is anything but funny. For one thing, a lot more people work at a newspaper than just journalists, and only a relatively small number of people put together most editorial pages. Even fewer still actually write the editorials. Neither is this the least bit amusing:
The sheer cynicism is breathtaking. Here you have a group of people, nearly all white, latching on to one of the most shameful parts of American history, the lynchings of black people, mostly men, that took place over many decades after the Civil War and claiming to be on the side of the Somali immigrants, who are also black. The condescending racism is beyond belief. So is the obsessive use of hanging imagery, be it Ms. Taylor's use of an illustration of women being hung after the Salem witch trials or Adams' use of an old photo of the lynching of a black man to try to claim he's on the side of the Somalis, or the many photos of nooses obsessively included in posts and articles on various antivax blogs and websites. It's almost as though they really, really like (or are fascinated) by the imagery of hanging.
I also can't help but point out here that, first of all, the press is not attacking the Somalis. Racist xenophobes (but I repeat myself) are attacking them, using the measles outbreak as a convenient excuse and ignoring how it was American antivaxers who fed them misinformation that vaccines cause autism, who frightened the Somalis into not vaccinating. If there were no measles outbreak, the same people would just continuing to demonize the Somalis as a fertile recruiting ground for ISIS. Rather, most journalists in the mainstream press realize that the Somalis are victims of American antivaxers and, of course, the British fraud who inspired them, Andrew Wakefield, and that's at whom their ire is being directed, not the Somalis—and appropriately so. Again, the Somalis are the victims, and antivaxers are the perpetrators. Meanwhile, the public health officials trying to combat the antivaccine misinformation being spread by the antivaxers are the heros, and the journalists are documenting it all.
These are the reasons why I scoff when antivaxers claim not to be antivaccine. I mean, seriously. Think about it. Not only do they liken vaccination programs to all those horrible things I discussed above, but they think nothing of using obvious intimidation tactics to attempt to frighten critics who have the temerity to call them out into silence. I first noticed that 12 years ago when I was a new blogger and my true identity was actually not one of the worst-kept secrets on the Internet. Antivaxers and other cranks were obsessed with finding out who I was. That's because they have no science and therefore can't win when science is the basis of the discussion. Instead, they seek ways to attack their critics, either through ad hominems or through the threat of actual physical attacks (and, let's face it, that's the undertext of Adams' plans). Discovering who their critics are, digging for every bit of dirt they can on them, publicizing anything negative they can find, and harassing critics at their jobs or schools are the first preferred techniques of dealing with criticism, not the use of evidence, science, and reason to persuade. Adams' plan to dox employees of the Boston Herald and other provaccine advocates who criticize antivaxers is nothing new. It's how antivaxers operate. It's how they've always operated since I first discovered that there are people clueless enough to view vaccines as dangerous.
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Just when you thought Adams couldn't sink any lower, he goes out and proves everyone wrong in magnitudes greater than expected.
I certainly hope the Boston Herald takes the "protest" seriously enough to protect their employees from the doxxing and hate mail the antivaxxers would happily send to them....we all know the antivaxxers are so polite that way.
Of course, if the Herald does ask for police to monitor the protest, we can all bet on the fact that Adams will seize on that as preventing "freedom of speech" - only allowed when it's his, not anyone else's, by the way. It's OK to doxx anyone you disagree with, in his mind (and many antivaxxers), but heaven forbid anyone do it to them.
Doxxing per se is not illegal. But stalking and harassment are.
Adams is walking a fine line. He'd better watch his step, or the local prosecutors may indeed take an interest . . . just not the one he wants.
@Panacea: I know doxxing isn't illegal. But we all know that when the antivaxxers doxx someone, they don't leave it at that, they write to friends, neighbors, employers and threaten families. And since they aren't brave enough to put their names on the harassment, it's very difficult for law enforcement to manage.
I haven't listened yet, but I wonder if Ms. Taylor, talking about this yesterday, distanced herself from Mr. Adams' implied threats.
Weirdly, the fact that both surveys were retracted is evidence to the irrational worldview of anti-vaxxers that "we" are somehow frightened of this information and also feeds into their persecution complex. It is this persecution complex and irrationality, along with a healthy dose of cognitive dissonance that allows them to justify harassing their critics with the same methods they accuse their critics of employing.
The first study appears to be back on the OAT website...
@Science Mom: Nothing weird about it, it's how conspiracy theorists operate. The paper was published? Evidence of a conspiracy. The paper was retracted? Evidence that a conspiracy is suppressing the evidence. It made no difference to the anti-vax crew what happened to the Mawson et al. paper after it was submitted.
A minor point on the original post: Not only does the VAERS database overstate the incidence of vaccine injury (by not verifying the claimed injuries), but the National Database of Inpatient Stays for Children almost certainly understates the incidence of gun injuries to children. Assuming that the latter database is exactly what it says on the tin, it would exclude (1) children who died before being admitted to a hospital and (2) children whose injuries were not severe enough to merit hospitalization. The CDC is actually prohibited from investigating the incidence of gun injuries, because certain politicians who are in the pocket of the gun lobby don't want to find out the answer. And I have the impression that, among his many other proclivities, Mike Adams is a gun nut.
MI Dawn: yes, I get that. But Adams is effectively inciting the behavior. They don't have to track the doxxers. They can go to Adams. That's why I said he should watch his step.
At what ransom I wonder.
Re: Johnson's use of the VAERS information.
This is a continuing fetish of data abuse on the part of the anti-vaxxers. If I recall correctly, there are several warnings about the data collected by VAERS, explaining that it is unfiltered, unverified, and unreliable for anything other than possible more reliable investigations. One page even makes visitors acknowledge reading disclaimers before getting to the actual information. For any one with basic reading comprehension, this is about as close as a government agency is likely to get to shouting "Don't go data diving here for anything approaching reliable information!"
I think a phrase I learned in college back in the early 1960s says it all:
"L'hypocrisie est un hommage que le vice rend à la vertu."
"Hypocrisy is an homage that vice pays to virtue."
François de La Rochefoucauld
(September 15 1613 – March 17 1680)
Of course, some people will still fall for the Schmuck Bait. Mr. Johnson, whose surname just happens to be a slang term for "schmuck", would be among them.
Not too long ago I ran across a comment (don't recall where) from someone who moaned about all that up-front effort required to get into VAERS and how it seemed like a deliberate attempt to keep people out - then proceeded to cite VAERS entries in a manner warned against.
Does anyone know the car registrations of Adams, Taylor &Co?
How delicious if those who worked at the Herald drove in tomorrow with a mock up of Adams' and Taylor's numberplates on their cars.
From the Department of Idle Curiosity, it turns out that the first appearance of this one at AoA that G—le coughs up is from February 2008.
Oh yes, Mikey makes sure to mention at any opportunity that's he's always armed. When the "holistic doctors are being murdered" conspiracy reared its ugly head, he pointed out that anyone who tried that on him would face a barrage of bullets.
He's also said that had he been in the audience in the Colorado movie theatre during the "Batman" shootings he would have taken down the shooter with his firearms prowess.
I see what you're trying to do here, but using an actual Holocaust photo and one depicting a real lynching? in very, VERY poor taste. Shame on you.
Not that we needed any more evidence that Adams is delusional, but this only works if he is able to draw his gun and shoot it before the "bad guy" perforates him. Which, if said "bad guy" were intent on harming Adams, would not be the case.
If I ever became world dictator, one of my actions would be to take guns away from idiots like this. Because that is one heck of a dangerous fantasy. Suppose you are a "good guy with a gun" in a situation where a "bad guy with a gun" starts shooting, and somebody else starts shooting back. Or suppose you are a police officer arriving on the scene where this scenario is taking place. Which shooter is the bad guy? My guess is that if I were in that scenario, I would have a 50-50 chance of guessing wrong, and I suspect the same is true for almost all civilians and many cops. (Not to mention the risk of hitting an innocent bystander, as I am under no illusions about my marksmanship in this scenario.) However, I don't suffer from Dunning-Kruger syndrome, at least on the subject of firearms. Far too many gun nuts do. The Second Amendment does specify that the militia should be "well-regulated".
@Melissa: So, Orac using public photos to demonstrate the rhetoric of the antivaxxers (because they have compared giving vaccines to the Holocaust, and rape, etc, as noted above) is horrible and very poor taste? What do you have to say to the AV'ers who use the language? Who threaten to "meet you at work and blow your head off" or other threats? I suppose those are free speech and OK, right?
Or would you have also condemned the infamous Thanksgiving picture that AOA posted a few years ago?
Somehow, I don't quite get Melissa's outrage over the use of a Holocaust-era photo (which appears to show prisoners being liberated from Auschwitz) to illustrate the profound cluelessness and insulting imagery to which antivaxers stoop when they invoke the Holocaust for their purpose.
And perhaps she should direct the rest of her ire at Mike Adams (whose lynching photo was reproduced here).
Somehow, I don’t quite get Melissa’s outrage over the use of a Holocaust-era photo (which appears to show prisoners being liberated from a camp) to illustrate the profound cluelessness and insulting imagery to which antivaxers stoop when they invoke the Holocaust for their purpose.
And perhaps she should direct her ire over the lynching photo of the person who first posted it (not Orac).
I don't get it either. Now, I did think about whether to reproduce the photo used by Mike Adams, but in the end I thought that illustrating just how vile Adams' imagery is outweighed the possibility that some might be offended. However, regarding the Auschwitz picture, I am at a loss. I've written about the use of Holocaust analogies by historically ignorant antivaxers more times than I can remember, and I frequently illustrate such posts with a Holocaust-related photo, like the train line to Auschwitz, the Auschwitz gate shown in the photo I picked for this post, photos of the ruins of the krema (crematoria) or of the gas chambers, or photos of Hitler or marching Nazis. I've never gotten a complaint on that basis. Methinks there's a bit too much sensitivity here.
Carefully disguised in yellow pants, no doubt.
there are several warnings about the data collected by VAERS, explaining that it is unfiltered, unverified, and unreliable for anything other than possible more reliable investigations. One page even makes visitors acknowledge reading disclaimers before getting to the actual information
That is why NVIC offer their own mirror of the database for people who don't want to know about the disclaimers.
@Eric Lund #28, I actually know my level of proficiency with firearms, courtesy of training and experience provided by the US taxpayer.
One thing that has awakened me in a cold sweat, was a nightmare of being in a crowd while a shootout began.
As for the movie theater shooting, I know what I'd do in that situation as well - hide with pride. The notion of being in a large, dark theater and trading shots with someone, all in the midst of a panic ridden crowd is something that I'd heartily recommend the one suggesting said notion have his or her head examined for emptiness.*
*Many years ago, I did have a concealed carry permit. One evening, while having to clean the pistol, yet again, of all of the gunk accumulated from carrying it, I pondered how sporting a criminal would have to be for me to avail myself of that weapon.
"Oh, excuse me, Mr Criminal. I have a firearm as well, can you hold on a second while I get mine out and we're even?"
Into the safe it went and stayed.
As for doxxing, been there, done that, got the "I've been doxxed" tee shirt. One, being exceptionally enterprising, both doxxing me and threatening to come to my home, murder my family, rape my wife, then murder me. It didn't enter his equation that I'd not agree to observe passively.
Which, I disabused him of, quite graphically and mentioning that I'd only use a firearm against an invader of my home if I were feeling charitable - which would be highly unlikely, but that I am proficient with edged weapons, of which I have aplenty.
Which is quite true, I use my old bayonets and fighting knives that I still retain (I gave most of them away when I retired) for yard work. That'll teach those pesky dandelions!
A little over ten years ago a young man in the army killed in the middle east, he was from a small town (about) in the county I worked in.
That Baptist church from the mid-west threaten to protest at the burial (they were banned from entering the cemetery).
I knew the volunteer fire chief and we hatched a plan to take care of their protest. We would start a small fire between the protesters and the burial. No direct violence would have done to the protesters, they just by chance be in the wrong place at the right time.
The volunteer fire department would be called out to put the fire. They would have unfortunately sprayed the protesters with lots of water. It was winter time and the temp was hovering around 10F. Unfortunately the protestors didn't show up.
I think it would be great fun to do something like this to these protesters. Unfortunately, it is a lot warmer Boston right now than it was in the small town I was talking about.
I showing my Claymore off the other day and it is still by my chair.
I still remember the line from one of Crocodile Dundee movies: you can that a knife.
"They can take our lives, but they can never take our -" Zzzzzt! "light fixture..."
Yeah, I know. Not in the house.
One could always ask.
"Hate speech and harassment (which is the personal, rather than group-focused, cousin of hate speech) impose costs on others for speaking. In so doing, they limit speech to those most able to pay those costs. This is the simple secret behind harassment campaigns, especially ones on the Internet. It’s also why “real name” policies have no effect on abuse: the offenders generally get social credit in their communities for doing so. (There are plenty of communities in which being an asshole not only costs you nothing, it’s a way to show off. Vide Trump.)"
The gnat did it before Adams.Probably where Mikey got the idea of using a photo like that.
If you are referring to the group I think you are referring to, then they have been in my neck of the woods at least a couple of times. The first time, almost 20 years ago now, was after a nearby high school's senior class named a lesbian couple as "class sweethearts". Apparently things were so hunky-dory in their back yard that they could protest at a high school some 2000 km away. They were mostly ignored at the time. But they were not, at least at the time, gun nuts.
That group eventually forced out their (since-deceased) leader because he wasn't extreme enough for them.
At present the only violence from the anti-vaxers is in the rhetoric, and attacks on journalists are potential. When this topic is raised here, I always wonder why the actual violence and real attacks on health care providers are so easily ignored when they are directed against abortion providers. I can only suppose that you don't want to open this particular Pandora' box, but it seems odd to be so concerned about potential violence when members of your profession are frequently threatened and sometimes killed, while the conservative side of the political spectrum encourages the violence.
Sigh. This comment is basically a "Why don't you blog about what I think you should blog about?" comment. Regular readers know that I never take kindly to such comments.
Cloudskimmer @34: We tend to stick to vax/anti-vax topics here, so a more apt comparison might be the groups internationally who specifically target vaccine workers in places like Pakistan.
Thankfully here it is still just rhetoric, whereas there it is actual killings.
I also recall several choice words towards anti-abortion groups on this blog, even without articles directly talking about the murder of abortion providers.
If one thinks anti-vaccine propaganda is just dangerous for the unvaccinated children, think again.
In August last year a lady who blamed her childs autism on vaccinations, stabbed a pediatrician in the head. The pediatrician survived, but is unable to work.
Alas I can't find anything about this in English, so I just post the Dutch link. Perhaps Google translate can help.