By Erin K. Costello
No one likes to be proven wrong, especially in a debate or an argument. When it comes to something that we believe to be true we can often take it personally when we are shown that our intuition, our hunch was wrong. When our philosophy is found wanting, we can feel like a fool. However, in matters of science, most of us aren’t personally invested in what the facts are. Most of us are only vested in finding the facts. We don’t create our own theories and then look for information to support our conclusions. Instead, we form our conclusions from the information presented to us at the time. This information can change or grow. When this happens we simply take into account the new or additional information, and then adjust our conclusions as needed. Most of us are not personally invested in ignorance. Most people don’t become upset because they better understand an issue. Most people don’t turn away additional information simply because they don’t like it. And most of us do not threaten death, rape, physical harm, or wish disease on a loved one because you shared important information backed by evidence and study data. Those of us who aren’t anti-vaccine believers, that is.
Those who argue against vaccinations are not arguing science. They aren’t arguing for science or on behalf of science, so they aren’t interested in learning vaccine science. Their fight is fueled by their emotions and a belief system. The one thing that can destroy their adoptive narrative is scientific evidence. For this reason, scientific information is the enemy, and therefor anyone spreading such contradictions is an opposition agent. And they really hate the opposition.
Below are galleries of screen shots featuring private messages, posts, and comments received by myself, fellow admin, social media vaccine advocates, colleagues, doctors, professors, spokespeople, and even Chelsea Clinton. Basically, anyone who dared to challenge an anti-vaccination supporter became worthy of their fury, including the most hateful text you could imagine. I have separated dozens of screen shots into categories in order to establish context for better understanding.
The first image gallery featured contains private messages sent to many different vaccine advocates. I have redacted identifying information to protect the guilty, though I agree they do not deserve this protection.
This next gallery contains screen shots of messages, posts, and comments of threats, as well as horrific insults, against Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Dr. Paul Offit, and Senator/Dr. Richard Pan.
Much like my last blog post highlighting the antisemitism in the anti-vaccine movement, this third gallery features posts made by anti-vaccine advocates attempting to exploit racism, sexual assault, and immigration as a means to forward their agenda.
This last gallery showcases posts and comments made against many social media vaccination advocates. The last two feature comments made towards Chelsea Clinton and Ethan Lindenberger.
I am the first one to admit that the pro-vaccination community is not at all immune from such behavior. After all, the pro-vaccination community is every other human in society that isn't against vaccinations. Of course horrible behavior will also exist in the rest of society. However, I don't see those advocating for vaccinations attacking people in quite the same way through private message or posts. Sure, plenty of people are rude and insulting, but this is social media we are talking about after all. There's a difference between mean and threatening though. What you see featured here above is far past "mean" and deep into "threatening."
What's The Harm?