Reckless Endangerment

I’ve noticed that when I’ve had too much to drink, specifically too much scotch, my ability to spell goes to shit. I backspaced and retyped the title to this post, which will soon resemble a rant, repeatedly until it finally passed the built in spell check, without which I’d write completely illegible gibberish.

So this measles outbreak and the resulting nonsense spewing forth from the average ignorant moron is really pissing me off. The sad thing is that measles are back, after being eradicated from the entire Western Hemisphere. They’re back because people are stupid. People are willfully ignorant. And people choose the wrong things to be skeptical about. As George Carlin  once said, put a sign on the wall that reads “Wet Paint,” and people will have to touch the wall to be sure. Tell them there’s an invisible man in the sky reading their minds and they say, “Oh, okay.” But the outrageous thing is that people in power; Senators and Governors of various states, are defending those parents who recklessly endanger the rest of us by not vaccinating their children against infectious disease by saying it’s their choice. Well hang on there buckos.

There’s a legal concept in this ongoing experiment in self-governing called endangerment. The all powerful, yet often maligned Wikipedia tells us that endangerment is “conduct that is wrongful and reckless or wanton, and likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm to another person.” There are many types of endangerment, and this one seems remarkably apropos:

Public endangerment is a criminal act that can be prosecuted in a court. It is usually applied to crimes which place the public in some form of danger, although that danger can be more or less severe according to the crime.

This concept is why we have laws against driving drunk. It’s fucking dangerous to the rest of us! No one gives a rat’s ass if I want to get shitfaced drunk like John Bonham and shut down my own body’s defenses against idiocy so that I vomit in my sleep and suffocate to death. But they get very excited if I have a few drinks and get in my car. Why is that? Because I’m going to harm someone else. In fact, I should have known I was putting others in harm’s way, which makes my conduct reckless:

“Reckless” conduct is conduct that exhibits a culpable disregard of foreseeable consequences to others from the act or omission involved. The accused need not intentionally cause a resulting harm. The ultimate question is whether, under all the circumstances, the accused’s conduct was of that heedless nature that made it actually or imminently dangerous to the rights or safety of others.

When you, as a parent, choose not to vaccinate your children against infectious disease, you have put the public at risk. Measles, for example, is the most infectious disease we know of. It’s unbelievably effective at surviving and passing itself along to additional hosts (Thanks a lot God). So you may not give a shit if your kid gets measles and dies a horrible, miserable, totally avoidable death, but the rest of us don’t want that shit. There are people who legitimately can’t get vaccinated. Kids with cancer (Thanks a lot God), kids who are allergic to the ingredients in the vaccine, and kids below 12 months of age, who are all susceptible to this monstrous fuck of a disease and need the rest of us to get vaccinated so they don’t fucking die.

As a society of people, we have determined that certain rules must be adhered to for the common good. All of these rules, aka laws, aren’t particularly effective as they’re all made by humans, who are only a half-chromosome or so away from a chimpanzee. But at least we’re making the effort. We don’t let people smoke in restaurants any more because we now know that cigarette smoke will kill you in horrible, nasty ways. We want to protect people who choose not to welcome cancer into their bodies from those who do, so we infringe upon your freedom (sorry smokers, but you just have to suck it) and prevent you from fucking up the rest of us. Go suck on your cancer stick outside. We don’t let your kids go to public school without a shot record showing they’ve been vaccinated against all the nasty microscopic bugs that kill us (Thanks a lot God), because our kids shouldn’t have to die because you’re an asshole.

It’s almost incomprehensible that in the year of our Lord 2016, we will have to listen to candidates for President of these United States actually argue about whether or not we can enforce vaccinations. If we’re going to let kids run around with smallpox and rubella, I say fuck it, remove the speed limits from all of our roads, stop making people take driving tests and let’s have some freedom baby. Every motherfucker for themselves. Screw the public health and well being. God dammit why are we forcing companies to clean up their toxic waste when it’s so much more convenient and inexpensive for them to just dump it in my yard? What about their right to have a say in things and make their own choices? Seat belt laws are an outrageous infringement upon my constitutional right to fuck myself up in hideous ways when I disregard the speed limits that are an outrageous infringement upon my rights to plow into an unsuspecting minivan filled with kids while driving at 100 MPH.

The fact is that none of this has anything to do with freedom or choice. We don’t have any freedom because we willingly sacrifice it to have some semblance of safety and security. If you want real freedom, go live on a ship in international waters. Somalia is also pretty Libertarian with nothing that even closely resembles a government. You can live there. If you live in the US, you’re voluntarily living in a Police State. Sure, you’re free to get in your car and drive somewhere, Woo Hoo, freedom! But you can be forced to stop at any time for any reason by a representative of the government and asked to show papers that allow you to be driving around. If you can’t produce them, you’re going to have a bad time. Maybe you’ll be shot dead, just for the hell of it. There’s some of your freedom right there. The government is mining your telephone data and internet use, they know where you work, how much you make, how many kids you have and probably whether or not you like anal sex. Your freedom is an illusion perpetuated by the same people bugging your phone.

The anti-vaccination people are of the same mind as the holistic medicine people, the astrology people, the lucky rabbit foot people, the “I’ll pray for you” people, and the Bigfoot followers and the 911 was an inside job conspiracy theorists. They think it’s cool and smart and hip to be skeptical, and it is, but they’re skeptical about the wrong shit. If you choose to be skeptical that the Earth is a spherical, rocky planet in orbit around the Sun, you’re a moron. If you choose to be skeptical about the moon landing, you’re a moron. If you choose to be skeptical about gravity, evolution, tectonic plate theory or the germ theory of disease, you’re a moron. These things can be proven to be true. Demonstrated to be factual in nature. As close to real truth as we can get. Like knowing that 2+2=4. That there’s no such thing as a square circle. We can show that vaccination against measles is safe and shockingly effective at preventing anyone from getting measles. We can prove it. We can show it to be as close to truth as we can get. So choosing to be skeptical about measles vaccines by claiming Big Pharma is just making money off the gullible means you’re a moron. But it also means that you’re recklessly endangering the rest of us.

Anyone who sends their child out into the public without vaccinating them against the known infectious diseases for which we have effective and safe vaccines should be tried criminally for reckless endangerment, and if it can be shown that they caused actual harm to others, then they should also be tried civilly, as they need to compensate the victims of their stupidity, willful ignorance and negligent conduct. In simpler terms, put the fuckers in jail and make them pay up.  Maybe that will bring an end to the fucking madness.

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