September 15, 2019 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Column: Anti-vaxxer’s Violence Shows Cause Is Morally Bankrupt

By Thomas Elias

For years, anti-vaccination activists have demonstrated against laws compelling schoolchildren to be inoculated against diseases like polio, rubella, measles, mumps, diphtheria, whooping cough and others. Now for the first time, this cause has turned violent in an apparent recognition that it will get nowhere on the strength of its own merits and morality.

The violence was not severe – this time: Democratic state Sen. Richard Pan, the California Legislature’s only M.D. and a pediatrician sworn to protect and save lives when possible, was pushed aggressively from behind while walking a street near the state Capitol in mid-August, within his own Sacramento senatorial district. He did not fall and suffered no apparent harm.

The perpetrator (not named here because notoriety is often a goal of such assaults) resents Pan’s sponsoring several bills tightening California’s vaccination requirements. These have made matters difficult for parents who don’t want their children immunized, seeking to evade the shots while still keeping the kids in public schools. Anti-vaxx groups immediately denied association with the perpetrator, calling him a “lone wolf.” But they embraced him just last year, when he tried to oust Pan both in the primary election and via a still-active recall petition.

Pan’s latest bill requires the state health department to review exemption forms written by doctors who sign more than five such waivers in any one year. The bill aims to correct a scenario where hundreds, maybe thousands, of parents have sought out scurrilous physicians willing to sign spurious exemptions for fees of about $300 apiece.

The anti-vaccination effort mainly uses unproven claims that vaccinations cause autism and other serious reactions. A British study making those claims early in this decade was long ago debunked, its author recanting.

Little more than this discredited study, plus purely anecdotal claims confusing correlation with causation, has ever been used to justify exemptions for anyone other than kids affected by things like organ transplants, HIV or ongoing chemotherapy.

So the vast bulk of parents trying to exempt their kids essentially disregards the proven fact that vaccinations virtually eliminated once-dreaded diseases like polio and vastly minimized fatalities from measles, for one example which killed thousands of children annually as recently as the early 1960s.

On the basis of what amount to folk tales about autism, these parents choose to endanger all others with whom their children might come into contact if they are infected and contagious, but don’t yet know it. Such circumstances produced several significant outbreaks in California within the last six years, exposure to measles occurring at places like Disneyland and the Los Angeles International Airport.

The moral weakness of the anti-vaccination stance is obvious, no matter how often activists masquerade as crusaders for “medical freedom.” Medical freedom can be a just cause when, for example, cancer patients with terminal diagnoses are denied access to experimental drugs or remedies not yet approved by government agencies. Things are very different when the goal is avoidance of vaccines proven effective over many decades.

That contrast explains why Pan’s previous bills zipped through the Legislature, ending religious exemptions that formerly applied even when families involved followed no discernible religion. It’s also why the current bill had no trouble getting through state Senate committees and appears poised for Assembly passage and a signature from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The anti-vaccination camp has failed for lack of merit to convince many lawmakers of the morality of its cause, frustrating adherents like the man who assaulted Pan while live-streaming his action on Facebook. 

It’s easy enough to blame an episode like this on today’s contentious political climate, but devotees of morally bankrupt causes have long resorted to violence and threats. The Ku Klux Klan does this; so do other hate groups. And the anti-vaccination camp has never been reluctant to make veiled threats, often painting Pan as a danger to children who should be punished.

All of which makes the assault on Pan as much an admission of moral, intellectual and political failure as anything else.
 
Email Thomas Elias at tdelias@aol.com. His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It,” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit www.californiafocus.net

Related Posts

LA Street Food Fest, Batman at Westfield Century City: Century City Westwood News TGIF Show September 13

September 13, 2019

September 13, 2019

Century City Westwood News TGIF Show September 13 – all your fun local events and happenings in under 5 minutes. *...

West LA Civic Center Redevelopment

September 11, 2019

September 11, 2019

City considering options to bring much-needed repairs to mid-century complex By Sam Catanzaro The West Los Angeles Civic Center, home...

UCLA Medical Center Among Top Hospitals in the U.S., National Suicide Awareness Month: The Century City/Westwood Beat September 9, 2019

September 9, 2019

September 9, 2019

The Century City/Westwood Beat September 9, 2019 – all your local news in under 5 minutes!* UCLA medical center one...

Century City/Westwood News TGIF Show September 6

September 7, 2019

September 7, 2019

Century City/Westwood News TGIF Show September 6 – all your local events, happenings and in under 5 minutes!* Vigil for...

UCLA Medical Center #6 Hosptial in Country

September 5, 2019

September 5, 2019

Top-ranked hospital in California By Keldine Hull U.S News & World Report released its annual ranking of hospitals in the...

Man Defaces West LA Synagogue, Threatens Jewish Man and Infant

September 4, 2019

September 4, 2019

Country prosecutors charge Cameron Brunson Blake By Sam Catanzaro Prosecutors have charged a man who shared links of a neo-Nazi...

Banning Sleeping on Sidewalks? Realtor Arrested for Stealing from Local Celebrity Homes: The Century City Beat September 2, 2019

September 3, 2019

September 3, 2019

Century City/Westwood News Westside Today News Show September 2, 2019 – all your local news in 5 minutes or less!*Banning...

Hazardous Material Under VA Housing Site

September 3, 2019

September 3, 2019

Work resumes on site after delays. By Sam Catanzaro At the city, county and federal level, progress is underway in...

Century City Westwood News TGIF Show August 30

August 30, 2019

August 30, 2019

Century City Westwood News TGIF Show August 30 – all your local events and happenings in under 5 minutes*Paley Center...

Councilmember Paul Kortez Proposes Assault Weapon Ban

August 30, 2019

August 30, 2019

Paul Koretz introduces motion to prohibit the possession of all assault weapons in LA  By Staff Writer In response to...

UCLA’s New E-Transit Regulations

August 26, 2019

August 26, 2019

1 mph speed limit on Bruin Walk among other rules  By Keldine Hull The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)...

UCLA Adopts E-Scooter Regulations, Asbestos Delays VA Housing for Homeless Veterans: Century City Westwood News Westside Today Show August 26

August 26, 2019

August 26, 2019

Century City Westwood News Westside Today News Show August 26, 2019 – all your local news in under 5 minutes. *...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *