As some of you might know, I spend a lot of time arguing with anti-vaxxers. And I don’t mean your run-of-the-mill, scared shitless mothers who think they’re doing the right thing. I seem to find the rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth, utterly ridiculous, intellectually dishonest walnuts who enjoy sending folks death threats. Those death threats are usually sent to those of us who spend time refuting them, but are also sent to parents struggling with either a child who is very ill or a child who has passed on.
The trouble with these folks is that when you find them in Facebook groups they run, they go power hungry. They get drunk on power. And instead of taking a joke or letting people actually debate, they ban us over the most trivial of statements, including calling them out on their own hypocrisy.
One of those Facebook groups, “Vax vs Anti-Vax vs Vaccine Abolition” (yes, you read that right), is run by a lawyer named T. Matthew Phillips, a dour, hawkish man staunchly opposed to SB2777. So opposed, in fact, that he brought a lawsuit up about it in California. Skeptical Raptor has some really good articles about this, and T. Matt.
The lawsuit against SB2777 failed.
He’s still pretty butthurt about it. So butthurt, in fact, that he’s sent some pretty reprehensible fan mail to those of us who supported SB2777 and vaccinations in general. His messages have included wishing death upon a mother and her child, and telling folks to rape themselves.
Wait, I have more screenshots.
He behaves in such an unprofessional manner, I’m not sure how anyone could take him seriously, let alone hire him for anything and yet here he is, trying to run a Facebook group.
And he’s just one example of the rabid, hateful, spiteful anti-vaxxers in that Facebook group.
I was in there for all of a few hours before I earned myself a 12 hour mute for a relatively tame joke, of all things.
However, when these people come into other debate forums on Facebook, run by pro-vaxxers, they cry foul when we mute or boot them for sending death threats, refusing to believe that wishing harm or death upon anybody is a reprehensible offense. Can you sense the hypocrisy yet?
We ask them for evidence of their claims in pro-vax groups. We ask that since they’re making a claim about, for example, vaccines causing autism, that they provide a peer-reviewed study proving their claim. In their groups, they demand we provide proof that we’ve been vaccinated, demanding to see our medical history as if it’s not a violation of privacy.
And this isn’t the only example of these people demanding medical documentation as proof.
Asking invasive questions about a person’s medical history has to be one of the creepiest things I think I have personally ever seen. And it just keeps going.
Jackie T., as mentioned in the screenshot above, is on a whole different level of intellectually dishonest. She tried twice to join one of my groups, but refused to read the rules, saying she couldn’t find them. When I PMed her a link to the rules, she demanded to know my stance on vaccinations and then asked where the answer to one of our questions was within the rules. She had no intention of reading or following them. Much like T. Matt.
When arguing with these folks, if by some miracle you manage to have a conversation where they don’t call you a shill for Big Pharma, they will go for your throat if you so much as snark at them. Anything and everything is fair game. Have a sick kid? They’ll insult your parenting. Are you immunocompromised? That’s your fault for getting vaccinated. There is no end to the excuses and mental gymnastics they will come up with in order to blame vaccines for everything.
The difference between groups run by pro-vaxxers and anti-vaxxers (and abolitionists) is very clear. We police our own. I’ve personally kicked and/or banned pro-vaxxers from my groups for behaving like rabid animals. Most pro-vax groups have a zero tolerance policy for abuse of any kind and many of us refuse to associate with those who have been abusive to anyone in the past. We at least hold ourselves to a basic standard of respect for everyone. And compared to their groups, we let these reprehensible people get away with murder in ours just so they won’t cry about us being unfair.
These anti-vax run groups ban at the drop of a hat. If you don’t agree with them, you are booted in short order for almost anything under the sun that they find ‘abusive’, even if it’s comparatively mild. Like calling them out on their hypocrisy. Or calling the admins ‘potatoes’.
These walnuts are so easily upset by the slightest slip of the tongue that all you can do is baby them. If you don’t, they cry foul. But they can call everyone else ‘sheep’ and ‘shills’, tell us to kill ourselves and that they hope our children die. They don’t know how to play nice. They are grown-up versions of the school yard bullies we all hated when we were kids. They can abuse us all they want, but if we fight back, they run screaming back to their echo chambers about how abusive we are.
They don’t know how to hold themselves and each other to a higher standard. And because of that, no one should bother trying to argue.
And if you’re reading this, it’s my official flounce post from Vax vs Anti-Vax vs Vaccine Abolition. I’ve had enough of these unhinged walnuts, and I hope the rest of you pro-vax folks in that group will leave them to their echo chamber too. In fact, I encourage it. It’s beyond clear that they don’t want to admin properly and none of us should put up with that kind of abuse.