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Land of the Free To Be Diseased and Infect Others

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Three San Diego children who were too young to be vaccinated were part of a measles outbreak last month. Where do you suppose these babies got the measles? I’m guessing they were exposed to the offspring of the parents who thought better of vaccinating their children – nine of whom were also part of the outbreak.

Isn’t it great to live in a country so rife with civil liberties that one is often left without them? I not only have the civil right to decline vaccination, I also have the civil right to insist that ignorance onto my children in the form of a disease that can cause pneumonia, brain swelling, and death. What’s more, you can’t stop me from exercising this civil right even as it snatches yours right out from under you — and your children.

As if that weren’t enough freedom, I can also expose my diseased child to everyone else, including those too young to be vaccinated and the few whose vaccination provided no barrier. We could say the San Diego outbreak was the fault of the babies who were too young to be vaccinated, but that’s kind of like blaming the car of the sober motorist for having been in the drunk driver’s path.

Sybil Carlson has two young children who are immunized against some diseases, but not measles. What’s so special about measles? She did a little reading between shots. “Natural” parents subscribe to the unproven belief that vaccinations are linked to autism, neurological disorders, and asthma.

A couple of Freudian slips come to light when these parents start talking. “I refuse to sacrifice my children for the greater good,” Carlson says, but admits, “I cannot deny that my child can put someone else at risk.” Before anyone jumps up in her defense, let us put a second ear to what the woman is saying.

Carlson’s child could no more refuse a shot in the arm than the child could demand it. The child isn’t putting anyone at risk; she is – and a damned cheeky thing it is to place your child between yourself and your critics while at the same time wailing a battle cry on that child’s behalf. It is no accident that Ms. Carlson refers to her offspring as “children” and refers to your offspring as “someone.” She won’t take her children to the altar of immunization, but is more than willing to subject “the greater good” (your children) to the disease her child could contract.

During last month’s outbreak in San Diego, parent Linda Palmer wanted to send her son to a party where a child with measles would be in attendance, in hopes her son would get measles. Years earlier, her son contracted chickenpox at a party where she knew children with the virus would be in attendance. She declined his invitation to the measles party because she thought he might be ostracized if he became ill.

Ostracization or brain swelling. You can see the dilemma.

It’s hard to imagine a parent who, even after going to all the trouble of educating herself about the side effects of vaccines, could still be ignorant enough to rank the severity of measles with chickenpox. That’s like comparing cancer to the common cold. Selective armchair research of questionable Internet content is community-contagious and leads to the kind of thinking that has resulted in clustered outbreaks of measles, mumps, and pertussis.

I am reminded of an episode of BBC’s How Clean Is Your House? The environmentally friendly woman of one particularly filthy household insisted those sent in to clean her abode use only chemical-free products. She was opposed to bleach, but not the copious amounts of insect life, mold, salmonella, and Escherichia coli (E. coli) with which she shared a residence. It became clear in short order that she had, for years, used her opposition to chemicals to justify her laziness.

She had lived in her chosen condition long enough to have built up some immunities, but admitted to having had a few illnesses whose source she could not explain. Until laboratory findings proved to her in graphic detail just how potentially life-threatening her lifestyle was, she hadn’t made the connection between how she was living and how she was feeling. Still, that her home was a breeding ground for what could in turn spread to, infect, and infest adjacent homes was the least of her concerns.

It is not surprising that many doctors refer to parents who don’t immunize their children as “parasites.” Generally, these parents are themselves immunized because, when they were children, vaccinations were mandatory. They have suffered no ill effect as a result, and they are in no danger of suffering from whatever disease may come to plague their children. They are taking full advantage of the very thing they denounce.

It would be easier to take “natural” parents seriously if they practiced with any consistency and weren’t so brazen with their disregard for and exploitation of the rest of the natural world, specifically everyone else’s children.

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About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.
  • Mithra Green

    You make it sound so simple. Too bad in Virginia it’s all or none. If I want the polio and measles vaccine for my three boys but choose to wait on the Hep B and skip the chicken pox shots guess what? I’m charged w/medical child neglect and my children are remanded to a foster home. If instead I file a religious exemption form I have to decline ALL shots. The problem is that I’m not a consumer in a free market. I can’t buy what I want when I want it. Bean counters who have never met me are making policy for my family and enforcing it at the point of a gun. It’s insane.

  • Mary Potter

    Wow!!! I think the article was full of personal attacks, but that is just my opinion. I am 47 yrs. old and have never heard of anyone dying from the measles or chickenpox. When I was a little girl and vaccines were not yet a money making entity, children got the chicken pox and the measles and developed a natural immunity. I had both with no problems. It amazes me that all these children are dying but you never hear of it in the news. It’s only brought up when the pharma companies begin to lose money. It’s only in stories like the one above. How many people die every day of lung cancer? Are we banning cigarettes? What about alcohol? Drunk driving? These are real worries. Why not get the Pharma companies to make a vaccine against lung cancer or drunkeness? Oh well, whether or not vaccines work or don’t it still should be our choice to receive or not to receive a foreign substance into our bodies. Those who believe they work should have no fear. They are protected. That really should be the end of it. I have however seen with my own eyes healthy children become disabled shortly after receiving a vaccine. This is not something I read but have seen with my own eyes. Ok, the doctor says it wasn’t the vaccine. Right. The child must have been defective. There was already something wrong. Great. That’s all the more reason why I won’t vaccinate. How do I know if I have a defective child who will have a bad or permanent reaction? Hello. I’ll take my chances with the disease any day. I had one child have seisures from a dpt. The doctor admitted that. So when I had more children why would I risk them having seizures? I don’t know about you but I do not like seeing my child convulse.This is personal insight not stories.Thank you. God Bless.

  • It amazes me that all these children are dying but you never hear of it in the news.

    Children die from measles – even though it isn’t in the news.

    From the CDC: In 2005, 311,000 children under age 5 died from measles.

  • Jim

    Hey Diana,

    We have epidemic levels of auto-immune diseases in our children and you’re all up in arms over 12 kids who contracted the measles and will probably go on to live long healthy lives. 311,000 children died from measles because they suffered from malnutrition. A well nourished child suffering complications from natural measles is extremely low. The fact is that mortality rates for measles in the USA decreased by 95% before a vaccine for measles was ever introduced. That is a fact!

    Stop your fear mongering nonsense because you are obviously very naive when it comes to the history of vaccinations and the role of nutrition and improved living conditions in relationship to declines in mortality rates of childhood diseases.

  • Gayle Broad

    I am much more afraid of my kids getting the measles now that they have already been vaccinated for this disease. When vaccinated kids get the measles, they can get a much more severe case of measles known as “atypical measles” which has a much higher death rate than regular measles. The deaths mentioned above occurred primarily in other nations where nutrition and sanitation are not optimal. Allegedly, vitamin A is very important in helping a person to avoid getting this disease in the first place.