I was going to write something different today, but no, I have to deal with a foul example of pro-vaccine hate speech. I’ve pointed out hateful and violent comments from the anti-vaccine side of the discussion so many times, I kind of ignore it. Professor Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a regular contributor to this website, gets hateful, vile, and racist comments from the anti-vaccine religion almost daily.
The feathery dinosaur has received his fair share of violent threats. A few years ago, someone commented on an article (since deleted) with a clear threat – I had to contact the police in his city about it, and he deleted his comments and Disqus account after a visit from the constabulary.
I generally delete overt hate speech, including racism, anti-semitism, violent threats and pedophilia comments from the anti-vaccine religion on the comments for this website. I don’t catch them all, but I have a keyword search that warns me if someone posts something repugnant.
Our side generally doesn’t have to resort to hate speech, because we have all the evidence on our side. We may despise, loathe, mock, and scorn the anti-vaccine religion, but we don’t have to do what they do. Pro-vaccine hate speech should not be a thing. Sadly, it may actually be a thing.
Pro-vaccine hate speech against an anti-vaxxer
Anti-vaccine lunatic, Suzanne Humphries, is one the leading frauds of the anti-vaccine religion. She basically denies the germ theory of disease, a primary principle of biology that states that many diseases are caused by microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, and parasites. For those of you follow science, scientific theories sit at the pinnacle of scientific knowledge. Apparently, she will win the Nobel Prize for overturning one of the most important principles of medicine.
Humphries also claims that homeopathy is a “more advanced system” than evidence-based medicine. As I’ve written a dozen times (or more), homeopathy is water, very expensive water. She also states that “allopathic” medicine tends to exacerbate the forces that drive chronic illness (back to that germ theory denial again).
I abhor Suzanne Humphries. I think she’s a danger to children worldwide by her anti-vaccine ramblings that may convince individuals to not vaccinate their children, although I don’t want to assume she has that much power. She wants vaccine-preventable diseases to come back in force. She is a disgusting person who has done everything she can to deny her own medical education and training.
Despite how much I, and many others, feel about her “contributions” to the pseudoscience behind her anti-vaccine nonsense, I would be shocked if anyone on the pro-vaccine side advocated violence against her. I may be wrong.
Humphries received the following disgusting email from someone who might be pro-vaccine:
I’m gonna f#cking murder you, you stupid f#cking c#nt. I’m just letting you know, just to let you know that when it happens, you were f#cking warned bitch. You’re always puttin your location out there, so it’s real f#cking easy to get to you. I have a nice beautiful Desert Eagle that’s gonna be used on you. So keep thinkin all your health sh#t is gonna help you, cuz guess what, c#nt, it’s not gonna help you live another f#cking day.
I’m gonna step right out from the pedestrians on the street and blast you right in the f#cking chest. Not the head, cuz I want you to squeal, bitch. I’m gonna make you f#cking squeal and shake on the ground, flailing, bleeding out. I’m gonna kill as many of you f#cks as I can before I go down. You’re done bitch, do you understand me?
I’ve thought about how to do it for a while, and I have it pretty much down. I want to pull you off the road and torture you to death, but it’s just too f#cking hard to pull off. Another idea I had is when you’re doin one of your live things, I want to walk right to the door and shoot ya live on camera, so everyone sees you f#cking begging, c#nt, you’re gonna f#cking squeal so hard, cuz I’m gonna hit you in the chest, then the legs bitch, to make ya suffer before I finish you.
I want everyone to see how you go. I f#cking promise you I’m comin bitch. I just gotta decide how I wanna do it. Maybe when you’re giving one of your dumb ass talks, I’ll go sit in the audience towards the back and do it. But it’s not easy to kill all your dumb c#nt friends that way. No, it’s pretty obvious to me that I gotta come to your f#cking autism sh#t center and shoot you right through the f#cking door when you’re on camera. That’s how I’m gonna do it.
I’m gonna kill every single one of you f#ckers. Do you understand me? I’m f#cking comin for ya. So be ready for it. I don’t wanna see any shock on your f#cking face when I’m at the door bitch. I’m [gonna] f#cking shoot right through that door with a shotgun c#nt, I’ll kill every single person in that house and then I’m gonna torture you good bitch. I’m gonna make you bleed til there’s nothing left of you, then finish you.
I just need to get a few things in order before I do it, but I’ve been wanting for a long time, and I’ve finally decided I have to do it, no more f#cking around. I want to make you scream so bad, to taste your blood and watch you scream bitch. I’m gonna kill you and I want you to know that when it happens, you could have done something. And you didn’t. That’s gonna be the best part you see, because I’m tellin you plain and simple. I’m comin now. Let’s see if you’re prepared when I get there for ya, or whether you look like a total deer in the f#cking headlights when I blow your f#cking head off.
See you in hell.
At this time, I’m going to assume that this is a real email from a really deranged human being sent to Humphries. It is over-the-top violent, and unless this author of this screed is pretty wise about hiding IP addresses, I hope that whatever police agency is involved in examining this email tracks down the author and deal with him appropriately (which may be some psychiatric intervention).
Of course, there’s nothing there that indicates it’s a “pro-vaccine” writer. It could be an angry patient of hers (if she’s still seeing patients). It could be someone who had some business deal with her. Because vaccines aren’t mentioned once. However, Humphries herself is making the claim it’s from a pro-vaccine writer, and she even makes a claim that it’s some Merck shill or someone who has written her because “Dr. Humphries is extremely influential and effective.”
No pro-vaccine hate speech, please
All that being said, I, and almost everyone I know on the pro-vaccine side of the fence, would categorically never advocate or suggest violence against her or any of her comrades on the pseudoscience side. I contribute to several pro-vaccine Facebook groups, and administrators immediately delete anything that could be considered pro-vaccine violent speech.
Allison Hagood, one of the authors of one of my favorite pro-vaccine books, “Your Baby’s Best Shot: Why Vaccines Are Safe and Save Lives,” has been the subject of some awful attacks privately, in her job, and on social media as a result of her support of vaccines. Despite those withering attacks, Ms. Hagood, as one of the administrators of the Facebook group hated far and wide by the anti-vaccine religion, Anti Vax Wall of Shame has a firm rule about anyone advocating violence against anyone – she immediately deletes the post and bans the author. The rules about violence are clearly stated in a pinned post in the group.
The anti-violence Orac wrote in a recent article about this story:
OK, full stop right here. If you’re a pro-vaxer and want to make death threats against anyone, even antivax loons like Suzanne Humphries, you are not on my side. I don’t care what your reasons are. I don’t care if you weren’t serious. I don’t care if it was your idea of a sick joke. I don’t care if you were just trying to rattle her (which you clearly succeeded in doing in a spectacular fashion in this case). I disavow you. I condemn you. I spit on you. I hope the authorities find you, even though I know the chances for a successful prosecution in these cases are low.
I have interacted with literally hundreds of people on the pro-vaccine side of the fence. Many of them are “friends” on Facebook, some are friends in real life – these are the leading lights in advocating for vaccines to protect our children. And I have never seen any indication from any of them that they want to cause harm to anyone on the anti-vaccine side.
Most of us are liberals who, along with our vaccine stance, also stand against gun violence, racism, and hatred. We are generally pacifist liberals. I cannot imagine any of us writing such a statement.
And as for Merck? I doubt that they know Suzanne Humphries at all. They know all of the science supports the safety and effectiveness of their vaccines, so they think of the anti-vaccine forces as background noise. Humphries has an odd image of the pharmaceutical world, but they are all highly professional and respect the law. They just wouldn’t risk a lawsuit. Then again, I don’t think Humphries presented any evidence of Merck’s involvement, it was just random speculation.
Let’s be clear
If you advocate violence against anyone, you are not my friend. I do not support you. I do not like you. I hope you rot in prison.
If you are pro-vaccine and you advocate violence against anyone, even someone as loathsome as Suzanne Humphries, you are not my friend, you will never be my friend. I would contact law enforcement within nanoseconds of knowing you wrote crap like the letter above. And I would hope you would rot in prison.
The whole point of my advocating for vaccines is because I don’t want children, teens, young adults, and us boomers to get sick and die of vaccine-preventable diseases. And I am not alone in the emphasis on lives of humans – we are all here for that and that alone. And please, spare us the idiotic ad hominem arguments about any or all of us. They are laughably stupid, and they contribute approximately 0 data to the discussions about vaccines.
But if you’re some lonely guy (and obviously the email was written by a male) who has taken up vaccines as some cause to allow them to be violent, we don’t want you – your violent commentary also adds nothing at all to the discussion.
The anti-vaccine religion has made it a point to use violent metaphors in hate speech against many of us. WE generally ignore it, because we know that the anti-vaccine side has zero evidence supporting their nonsense. Suzanne Humphries is an ignorant science denier, but she is a human being, and as such, we don’t want her to be threatened by violence. We simply are not proponents of pro-vaccine hate speech.
Let them look like the creeps that they are when they pass along their violent speech. We have the science and the evidence, let that be our defense against their ignorance and hate.