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The Plague and Them

vaccinations and its alternatives

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, February 04, 2015.

I grew up in the last days of polio's terrifying potential, and remember how excited and happy the folks were when the vaccines came out. It had obviously been a scary part of life every summer, and now it was gone. During this period, the exploits of Walter Reed in killing Yellow Fever, another summer joy, were revisited in the media, and medical heroes were honored.

Over the years, we later learned that Walter Reed ran an entirely racist system of testing his vaccines, and that an awful lot of dark skinned people were given placebos, and that Reed and his buds - lionized for taking the vaccine in tests - already had a solid idea that it worked by understood process. A lot of people died, perhaps unnecessarily, so that a lot more would live.

During the polio years I got the measles, considered a childhood disease and more of an irritant than a concern. It knocked me out for about two weeks, and I only remember sleeping a lot in the infirmary. Not a big deal. But, as with the underlying bugs and viruses that give us Scarlet Fever, German Measles, and Chicken Pox, there were connections between diseases and their presentation that we didn't know back then. If anyone knew Shingles and Chicken Pox were gifted by the same virus, doubtful so many parents would have had Pox parties to get the kids sick, cured, and forever impervious to Chicken Pox as early as possible if they knew they were condemning them to god awful Shingles later in life. I never had Chicken Pox or German Measles, and so escaped. And anyway, there were vaccines for Chicken Pox. Measles, Yellow Fever, Polio, and German Measles pretty much died out because of the vaccines.

But, measles are back. They're all back. An outbreak at Disneyland has focused attention on the great numbers of parents who do not get their kids vaccinated. And it seems Colorado's kindergarten population has the lowest vaccination rate for measles in the entire country, but Wyoming hasn't reported yet. Although the Disney Plague has only affected one Colorado child, it is reasonably feared with so many unvaccinated children we're going to get hit with a major outbreak. Colorado's low vaccination rate is attributable to the state's high exemption rate, one of twenty states allows parents alone to make that decision for any reason they want.

The fear of autism by vaccination, a big deal years back, was pretty much demolished after the prestigious English medical journal Lancet, which had originally supported and published a crook's fake evidence for a connection between vaccination serum and that terrifying condition, recanted. It removed all guilt from the parent, and so it was hard to give up that story. It's still promoted today. Parents vote, and the GOP's clown car is pushing this again, Ron Paul is the latest.

The most powerful lobby group in this country is the Federation of Crappy Parents. Politicians pander to it. It's not an entirely fair theory, but it started with the media discovering how many children were killed in tenement or house fires in centuries past. It was concurrently discovered that many or most of the fires were due to drunken parents falling asleep in dangerous firetraps with a cigarette in their mouth. What to do?

Certainly not hold the drunken parent responsible, nor the landlords for their tinderbox housing. They voted. So, society demanded fireproof clothing and material for the child and house insulation, which brought asbestos into our lives. When the startling horrors of asbestos were discovered and the product restricted and banned, attitudes against smoking and alcoholism had changed, and things have worked out for the better. But the obvious cause of initial concern - parents drunk, smoking, often poor, and no building codes - was never actually addressed constructively. Or in time.

If you grant parents the right to harbor Typhoid Marys in their household, are they guilty of any deaths caused? And besides, if vaccinations work, get them for your kid and my kid can't hurt them. Win-win.

We don't actually know what autism is, or its cause, and I can never shake the thought parents suspect their own past drug use as responsible for their child's affliction, can't accept the guilt, and want to append it to someone else. I do think that for the Shingles potential alone it is better to get the Pox vaccine.

And Rand Paul should be forced to support his claim that vaccinations cause autism.