By Kent Heckenlively
There was a moment in the Larry King interview of the Polings in which Hannah Poling stretched up her arm and her mother scratched it for several moments. It was without doubt an odd television moment, but one I know very well. Every night as she’s laying down for bed my daughter Jacqueline stretches out her arm and I scratch it for several minutes.
It was great because for the first time I saw a child very much like my own on television, and terrible because I couldn’t help but notice how unusual the child must appear to so many.
My daughter is an aluminum child, and like Hannah Poling also has seizures, the cause of which has eluded both traditional and non-traditional medical experts.
The day was great because the Polings got so much coverage on CNN, both of their press conference and Larry King, but terrible because the medical experts didn’t seem to have a clue as to how to respond to this new information. They lamely continued their mantra of “vaccines are safe” and “parents should still vaccinate”, but even they didn’t seem to be fully convinced of their own opinions.
It’s said no battle plan survives contact with the enemy and that is no less true in this instance. In their press conference the Polings seemed energized, while on Larry King they appeared subdued. If anything, it seemed like Larry King was ready to rumble, and he couldn’t get a real fight going to save his life.
If anybody has a criticism of the Polings I simply say, you try to put your autistic child through a day with the media and see how you feel at the end of it.
I believe March 6, 2008 will go down as one of the pivotal days in the autism struggle. Our forces waded ashore and weren’t driven back into the ocean. In all future discussions of this issue, our camp will have a seat at the table. The war has begun, and we’re encountering resistance, but it’s crumbling quicker than expected.
The discussions of the medical experts had a strange disjointed feeling to them. CNN’s Dr. Gupta confessed to being confused by the gap between what the government had conceded in this case and what the CDC was telling people about what this meant. It’s a good thing they’re confused. From their confusion, greater clarity will emerge.
It may be the nature of human beings that when enormous changes are thrust upon them they act in ways which look foolish to the future. Recent letters from Abraham Lincoln show in the months before the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves in the Civil War, he considered paying the South $400 for the freedom of each slave, eventually ending the practice of slavery in 20 years. But we all know slavery ended much quicker than that. From the Emancipation Proclamation to the end of the Civil War was just a little more than 2 years.
The government has admitted that vaccines contributed to the autism of at least one girl. There are more than half a million autistic children. I don’t think it’s going to take 20 years to end the practice in which 29 vaccines are given to children by the age of 2. These things take on a life of their own. Lincoln was prepared to accept the end of slavery in 20 years. It took a little more than 2 years.
Personally, I think things will look very different by the end of 2008.
Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor for Age of Autism. (And a very good Dad.)