Among the too-small group actively working to end the damage caused by the current vaccine schedule, some spend their time trying to make that group smaller still. If you believe, say, that the main task is to get mercury out of the flu shot; or that promoting a more selective schedule could significantly reduce morbidity and mortality; or that preserving choice is the heart of the matter – well, you risk being run out of Autism Town if that doesn't happen to be their agenda du jour.
It’s their way or the highway, preferably underneath a Mack truck -- a Mack truck that backs over you (and your little dog, too) several times.
I know people who have been slapped down hard by our own side because they said they might consider even one vaccine for their child out of the 16 now recommended by the CDC. One? Heresy! Or because they said that thimerosal in the flu shot is an outrage, but they are not taking a position on vaccines in general – or, God forbid, that they even support them. Smite them with thy staves, ye righteous ones!
Different approaches and priorities can lead to disagreements within activist communities, and that’s fine. There’s room for that within the broad coalition that believes autism is a man-made, vaccine-driven epidemic, and may the best tactics and strategies prevail. But these people descend like Hitchcock’s screeching birds at the least sign of ideological impurity. This week AOA got an e-mail from someone who likes to call themselves “Censored” because we don’t publish every nasty thing they say – I call that Editing. In fact, I got so tired of them (see why below) that now I won’t print anything they write, which is my prerogative because I'm the Editor and that’s what I do – I Edit. Let them create their own blog and ban me!
Last week when I announced our successful matching fundraising campaign and thanked the community, Censored snickered: “If your community support is as strong as you claim, you'd have no need to censor dissenting views within the community. You'd have the confidence to post them. But it's doubtful AoA can withstand or even survive criticism. So you eliminate it.” And then comes the threat: “That won’t be possible on Amazon.”
Say what? Well, Mark Blaxill and I have a book coming out next month called Vaccines 2.0 (it went to press Friday – yay!) that is subtitled, “A Careful Parent’s Guide To Making Safe Vaccine Choices For Your Family.” We labored on this for over a year, and we developed our own Reward-Risk Rating for each vaccine; parents can refer to it as they make their own choices – note well, their own choices. And their choice might be not vaccinating at all, an option to which we give considerable and respectful attention. The book opens and closes, in fact, with a father who decided not to vaccinate his daughter.
No matter. Censored is already foaming at the mouth to start trashing our book on Amazon without our hateful censorship – sight unseen, of course. “I hope your safety claims and recommendations are well supported,” they wrote. “It's hard to imagine how any infant vaccine can be justified based on a risk vs. benefit analysis.” So we are on notice that a book that by any reasonable standard is exceptionally hard on vaccines will be under attack from our own side for its ideological impurity. Oh, great.
And, oh, the injustice – we chose not to publish this comment on AOA! I mean, does cluttering up a comment thread with obscure threats regarding a book not yet published that is deeply embedded in the autism activism community further any useful mission? Uh, no. Intent is everything, and over time people reveal what they are really all about. A few months back they sent an e-mail saying we at AOA “promote an agenda that will not end the [autism] epidemic ASAP - but will prolong it. … Hope you can wash off the blood on your hands.”
Perhaps you see why I'd had enough. Blood on our hands? Yikes, that’s what the other side says. Those who choose to harass and insult others within our small, striving community just because they disagree can go elsewhere and post to their merry little hearts’ content – and they can expect me to call them out for what they are: Bullies.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.