Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Vaccination Question


Hate to start the New Year off with such a heated topic, but I was perusing my Brethren and Sistren's blogs this fine Sunday morning, as I await the final day of the regular season of the National Football League and hoping against all hope that Cleveland beats the Steelers and the Ravens beat the Bengals. That would be nice.

Someone posted a very lengthy comment, introducing himself and his story, in SingleDad's blog, in an older post. His story was...well, frankly astonishing. You should check it out.

The eerie and sad similarity between his son Kirk's tale and Bennett's?

The activation of seizures by a vaccination shot. Not the first time I have heard this tale, and I know that it will not be the last. A life, forever altered, a destiny forever shaped by one shot in the dark, so to speak.

There are stats, I won't go through them all here. They are staggering. You may seek them out if you wish. It only brings me down.


In the medical community here in the United Stats, it has been suggested to me by a friend of a friend that on the inside, in hushed whispers and dark corners, doctors very sadly refer to our kids as 'collateral damage'.

That vaccines are, overall, doing good in the amount of deaths they prevent and devastating outbreaks of certain diseases they have stopped, but that there is a willingness in the medical community to accept certain 'losses', ala our kids hearts, minds and souls, since they can't figure out what or why some of these vaccines have that neurological pre-disposition to react to whatever is inside our kids heads.

Saddest thing in the world one should ever have to hear about, especially when one of those kids just happens to be your own. Makes you think about things in life, a LOT of things, very differently.


Makes me look at the government differently, history differently. Everything. Makes me rethink the JFK assassination, if you can believe that. Yeah, I used to TOTALLY believe it was just one guy. I am not so sure about that anymore.

I am VERY suspect about the historical accusation that the U.S. Government was the first to use, essentially, a weaponized version of a disease against the American Indians, smallpox I believe, on blankets that were traded, thus being the first to actually create Biological Warfare.

I used to think that was bullshit. I am not so sure anymore. Just think about Slavery, Japanese-American (Nisei) Internment Camps, MK Ultra, Operation Keelhaul, the Tuskegee Experiment and many, many others.


Shit like that, and this vaccine stuff, makes me (at times, but not ALL times) embarrassed to be a member of not just this nation, but this species.

We are capable of SO much more humanity than this. It sucks we do not exercise it.

I hate the line of thinking that it is it is OK to sacrifice some to save others. That some lives are less valuable. Allow me to present some text from an article called Outside the Camp, written by by Marc D. Carpenter. Ironically it was one of the writings that originally fueled me to continue to try to release more Smart Bombs after the first ones didn't make a profit after the legal issues were settled, because I have a deep-seeded hatred for Atomic weapons, I can't stand that we created them.

Who knew that one day I would be using the piece in such a different way?

Eight years before the first atomic bomb was dropped (and 7.5 years before the first firebombing), the U.S. State Department issued a statement condemning Japanese bombing of civilian targets in China, arguing that 'any general bombing of an extensive area wherein there resides a large population engaged in peaceful pursuits is unwarranted and contrary to principles of law and of humanity.'

Almost a year later, the State Department issued a similar statement condemning as 'barbarous' the 'ruthless bombing of unfortified localities with the resultant slaughter of civilian populations, and in particular of women and children.'


On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, instantly killing an estimated 70,000 people. Subsequent death from radiation poisoning, injuries, and necrosis brought the total deaths up to an estimated 140,000.

On August 9, 1945, it was planned that the second bomb be dropped on Kokura; however, because of cloudiness over Kokura, the secondary target of Nagasaki was chosen. The bombing of Nagasaki instantly killed an estimated 70,000 people. It is estimated that another 10,000 people later died of radiation poisoning, injuries, and necrosis.


On September 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered.

President Truman, the United States military, and most citizens of the United States were of the view that the bombings were justified because they hastened the end of the war, thus possibly saving a million or more American lives.

When any Christian thinks about this justification for killing over 200,000 people, he will see the horrible implications of this kind of immoral reasoning. It is the 'numbers game'; i.e., it is okay to kill a certain amount of people (most of whom were non-combatants) in order that a larger number of people would be saved.

This is 'greater good', 'ends justify the means', moral relativism at its worst. Is it okay to kill one person to save the lives of two people? ('Person' is not a person who is about to kill you or is threatening to kill you; it is the average person on the street who has no intention of harming or killing you.)

Is it okay to kill ten people to save the lives of 100 people? Is it okay to kill 10,000 people to save the lives of 100,000 people? (And in the case of the atom bomb, we cannot be sure that a certain amount would be saved; the justification of the killing of hundreds of thousands of people is based on the possibility that a million or more people would have been saved.)

Consider this scenario: Suppose there is a person who needs a heart transplant, another who needs a kidney transplant, and another who needs a liver transplant. Why not take a person off the street and shoot him, then take his organs and use them to save the lives of the three people? You have killed one to save three. That is the numbers game. And it is utterly repugnant.


But bombs are such long-distance killing.

Let us bring it down to face-to-face killing. Using the numbers rationale for the slaughter of men, women, boys, and girls in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, one would then have to defend the following: What if U.S. soldiers invaded Hiroshima and rounded up the civilian population, then the soldiers picked out all the young boys, 10 and younger, lined them up, and began systematically shooting them, one by one, in the head, until the government of Japan surrendered?

Suppose Japan then surrenders because it cannot take any more killing?

Those who would use the 'numbers game' to justify the bombings must also justify this heinous act, because, after all, this ended the war, and hundreds of thousands of people were possibly saved by just the shooting of a few thousand (or even a few hundred) boys. Any such thing could be justified, including systematic rape, systematic killing of families in gas chambers, or whatever, as long as more people are saved.

Now apply that same line of thinking to vaccines and the term 'collateral damage' being applied to your son or daughter whose life is forever and devastatingly altered by seizures, which, for whatever 'reason', started within 12-24 hours of receiving a vaccination.

Is it worth it?

Maybe for some families.


Not from my seat.

OUT.

18 comments:

  1. Out of the frying pan right into the shit, eh, Ken?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow ... hello 2011,in true Ken fashion!

    What could I possibly weigh in here with,without sounding like an idiot?So I'll leave it at this:

    February 6th 2008 a Tuesday,Zoey's first cluster of seizures.Her last set of vaccinations were 4 days prior.Just saying.

    Loved your last post.What a list.And that you still have it is what is also truly incredible.Not that my opinion accounts for much but I say definitely do the books.They would be amazing.The tattoos,you'll know when the time is right,this coming from a mom who acquired her's over the last few years.When I decided on the art,the rest was easy to commit to with no regrets.And finally, the art for others,I have ulterior motives on that one but I say do that one for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Same deal here. I've entered this "argument" so often and have said many times that it literally makes me sick to my stomach. It's always reduced to the most asinine and simplistic terms in the media where both sides are reduced to idiots. You've managed to overcome that simplicity, Ken, with simplicity.

    I can't think that anything will happen in the long run regarding vaccines (other than reactionary measures to make them safer) because of the vast implications to "public health." There will never be a true reckoning, either, with how we've replaced terrible diseases of old with new and perhaps even more terrible ones.

    Now, whenever someone questions my decisions (not to vaccinate my two boys after the disaster that fell upon us with Sophie), I generally ask them to guarantee in written form that should I vaccinate them they would have no negative side effects. There is no one who will do this, especially when I add that if the same fate were to be my sons as was to their sister, I would drive a car with all of us inside over a bridge.

    Lots of silence.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sorry Ken, My point being that few will enter into this discussion because it often generates a ton of very emotional commentary. It can get quite ugly...I have seen this blow up on blogs before.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh now I understand. The truth is, I have neither come out for or against vaccines, or suggested what I think should or should not be done.

    My statements here are simply in response to what I was told by someone that a doctor had said told her was standard terminology in reference to the entire 'Vaccination Debate' when it comes to the kids who are affected.

    And what set them off (I was waiting until the dust of 2001 settled a bit) was seeing Scott's gut-wrenching introduction in SD's blog, which simply re-ignited the feelings in me about these things in a major way.

    I have, and offer, no answers or suggestions about what is 'right' and what is 'wrong'. Besides...it is not up to me to make calls like that. Parents can decide what they want to do for their kids with no fear of judgment from me, that much they can be sure of.

    I do believe this...it ('IT' being the 'THE PROBLEM OVERALL' with all the SHIT IN THE WORLD that is causing all of us a world of hurt) goes WAY beyond any ONE thing. It is tens, hundreds, likely thousands of toxic crap in the world that we bombard our systems with daily, most of which we don't even know is bad for us yet.

    How do you fight the entire WORLD?

    I don't even know if there is an answer to that. There may not be one. I wrestle with it ALL THE TIME. Hell, the wireless signal beaming into this laptop could be frying my balls with cancer.

    It never ends, and the more our 'civilation' progresses, the more our technology advances beyond our ability to understand it and control it, the more we put our fragile tissues at risk.

    Now, by the same token, that same technology ALSO can helop solve some of the billshit. But that wouldn't becessary in a lot of instances if we, as a species, would come to a collective agreement that it is OK to slow the fuck down. Even a little.

    Anyway...I'm not actually writing about my view on the Vaccine Debate, I'm asking a basic question about us as human beings...if experts KNOW that it will fuck a percentage of people up, does that make it OK if it saves a lot MORE people? And I thought the atomic comparison was a good one to give one food for thought.

    And besides, if anyone wants to come in and try to blast me over the way I choose to write in my OWN fuckin' blog...c'mon in and go for it. I'm always ready to put anyone in their proper place. Just remember, don't bring a knife to a gunfight.

    Anyway...I'll dig up some good booby pics or a story about poop for later in the week.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Annika here-- responding in two parts because apparently blogger hates me today.

    Interesting comparison. Personally, when looking at the US government's lack of humanity, I like to include that "we" knew what was going on in concentration camps, we knew which railroad tracks were being used to transport Jews, Gypsies, gays and others to the camps. And we very carefully bombed the hell out of other tracks but we had no problem leaving the tracks to the camps intact. But that's not the point.

    The vaccine question haunts me. I'm the parent of two children. One cannot have most vaccines because they'd kill her. She's also in a high risk category to develop severe (read: life threatening) complications from many of the conditions for which we regularly vaccinate children, including the flu. The medical community's best advice is to surround her with vaccinated people and hope for the best. Create a cushion of safety, so to speak, in those closest to her. When your kid's life could be at risk, a cushion of safety is pretty appealing.

    Which brings us to my other child. She has no high risk categories. But I should vaccinate her to protect her sister. I should get her "optional" vaccinations-- like the annual flu vaccine. So I should take on the risk of medically unnecessary vaccinations for her to protect her sister. And to protect her sister using logic a lot like the logic behind the bomb-- it may protect her sister from an illness that may or may not cause serious and perhaps life threatening complications. Or her sister could catch the same thing at the library or grocery store or dance class....

    The doctors all insist vaccination is the best option. My grandmother died in her 50s in the last big flu epidemic of the 20th century-- I'm very aware the potential complications are real. They insist the risk from vaccination are low. But my gut just doesn't buy it. So which child do I risk and how much? And how do I live with the worst case on either side?

    ReplyDelete
  7. and part 2:

    hen my younger daughter-- the high risk kid-- was very young, we tended to vaccinate the older. Nothing like waking up to a baby barely breathing and turning blue to sell you on the risks. But the more I read about vaccines, the harder it became to take that risk for the older-- with no medical indications she "needs" the vaccines.

    Do I cringe when there's an outbreak of measles and I hear parents talk about how they'd never vaccinate their kids while their kid is with my kid in a class or activity? Absolutely. I'm not talking about parents having a thoughtful conversation about the risks of vaccines-- I'm talking about the nutcases out there who believe polio never really existed and vaccines are a big government conspiracy. But I hesitate to vaccinate my own kid so how can I expect others to do it? When the news media was going to town on new super flu epidemics I was contemplating at what point I pull my kid out of school to avoid exposure and at what point I become one of the nutcases.

    No answers here, obviously, but the safety of vaccines, how much they're used, when they should be used and shouldn't be used and how we make them safer are important questions.

    Another side of this that gets to me. Internationally adopted children used to be required to be up to date (by American standards) on standard vaccines before they enter the US. If medical records are missing or just not up to the standards of the doctors associated with the US consulates in the sending countries, that can mean a pile of vaccines all at once. Often 6, 8, 10 shots. In one day. To a kid who has just been handed to strangers who don't speak his/her language, eat weird food and is about to be packed on a plane and taken to a whole new country.

    After much lobbying on the side of the adoption community, that law has been changed. Adoptive parents now have up to one month from the time their child enters the US to get them up to date on vaccines. One freaking month.

    Imagine adopting an 8 year old who had no vaccines (or insufficient proof of vaccines). Anyone want to volunteer to put their kid through that many shots in one month? Anyone think it's a good idea to do that to a kid who is facing so many other changes? Anyone want to make new parents hold a terrified kid down through shot after shot? I'm not clear on the need to force the shots in such a short time-- particularly when parents can choose not to vaccinate if their child is born in this country or was not adopted-- nor do I see that getting a month is much of a win.

    --Annika

    ReplyDelete
  8. Three, parts, apparently. Guess I'm way too long winded. Sorry.

    Another side of this that gets to me. Internationally adopted children used to be required to be up to date (by American standards) on standard vaccines before they enter the US. If medical records are missing or just not up to the standards of the doctors associated with the US consulates in the sending countries, that can mean a pile of vaccines all at once. Often 6, 8, 10 shots. In one day. To a kid who has just been handed to strangers who don't speak his/her language, eat weird food and is about to be packed on a plane and taken to a whole new country.

    After much lobbying on the side of the adoption community, that law has been changed. Adoptive parents now have up to one month from the time their child enters the US to get them up to date on vaccines. One freaking month.

    Imagine adopting an 8 year old who had no vaccines (or insufficient proof of vaccines). Anyone want to volunteer to put their kid through that many shots in one month? Anyone think it's a good idea to do that to a kid who is facing so many other changes? Anyone want to make new parents hold a terrified kid down through shot after shot? I'm not clear on the need to force the shots in such a short time-- particularly when parents can choose not to vaccinate if their child is born in this country or was not adopted-- nor do I see that getting a month is much of a win.

    --Annika

    ReplyDelete
  9. The A bombs, and just about all parts of war, were specifically designed to destroy people. Even your shoot-one-person-to-get-transplants-to-save-three has part of its plan to kill. The vaccines are totally designed to save lives. The collateral for each are very different (and I do not believe there was any "collateral" damage with Fat Man or Little Boy).

    As in so many parts of life, most people operate under the notion of things are ok if they happen to other people, it's only when it happens to us is it wrong.

    Do we save 1000 people if one may die? Sure, as long as that one ain't my kid.

    And Ken, always remember, boobies trump poop any day!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Annika, that adoption thing of international kids I did not know. That's scary.

    And dammit SD...now I gotta come up with a better analogy. You shot holes in what I thought was solid but I see your point. I missed the target on it. I think what I was going for was more about the relationship of knowing that something will have 'X amount of bad outcomes and proceeding anyway' by doctors when it comes to the kids and the vaccinations compared to the many more kids who will be fine.

    Guess I need to dig deeper to find a more intelligent way to express the sentiment. DAMN YOU FOR MAKING ME THINK HARDER!!!

    But thanks for the booby advice.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don't even know how to say, or even what to say anything, except that my heart hurts for ya.. I'm deathky afraid of vaccines knowing what I know... (which aint much, but total distrust in the medical world, pretty much defines me)

    And since my little one got slammed with Guilliam Brae Syndrome at the age of 2 , or however you spell the F'n thing... seeing her body go through the ravages of nerve assault

    I'm never getting her vaccinated ever.. not only is it unadvised to let her be, I just will certainly put a bullet through anyone who tries to force the issue...

    My prayers to you Ken. ANd for your son, and the many others who've shared their pains here.

    Dan--

    ReplyDelete
  12. Where I come from, vaccination is compulsory and reinforced strictly, as "renegade" parents are subpoenaed and penalized. (Except if the vaccination is contraindicated for some medical reason, like history of bad reaction to vaccines.) This practice clearly puts public health above the individual's right to choose. On the other hand, compulsory immunization protects those who cannot be vaccinated and also puts huge pressure on the government to ensure the safety of vaccines since the government has to pay damages in the case of a vaccine injury. (Whether you can collect that money is a different question.) Here in the US, restrictions are much much looser on drugs and pharmaceuticals are way more powerful. I'm not arguing for compulsory vaccination, just saying. In the US you have a choice, which is a great thing, but with choice comes more pressure and more responsibility. The freedom to choose not to vaccinate also lightens the pressure on the government to make sure vaccines are safe, if it makes any sense. Either way, it's a sticky conundrum.

    ReplyDelete
  13. hmm...really didn't mean to start such a firestorm and I'm not near as brave as I used to be. The vaccine trigger is a part of my son's history and it's inclusion wasn't meant to start something.

    Though I have spent many years researching and working to change the way we measure vaccines effectiveness, over time I've softened my approach to the issue with the uninitiated. Precious few are able or want to see all I've uncovered regarding the one vaccine that was the culprit here.

    I'm not keen in walking down that road any longer. I tried for years to get government and industry to track injury closer and work to develop profiles of children more likely to be at risk for injury. Including simple skin tests prior to receiving the shot.

    The issue is a clear one for me. Vaccination says our children are born imperfect -that their immune systems need a boost right out of the womb. I see little point in priming an immune system before the infant even develops one. The logic that man knows better supports what I've come to know about ourselves. We are arrogant.

    Vaccines are a product like any other and no less fallible - no more needs to be said about that. The 5 in 1 vaccine I refer to has it's roots in the US but is manufactured here in Canada.

    I will say this..it takes a strong person to stand for what they believe is right against the wind of popular opinion - "The benefit outweighs the risk."

    No one knows what the specific risk is in your child for reaction against any of the components of the vaccine. Fermadahyde, phenoxyethanol2, thimerosal (mercury still in flu shots).. or sensitivity to any of the various animal organs the bug is cultured in. (egg embryo, monkey or bovine liver). Reactions can and do occur or manufacturers wouldn't put it in their monograph. (Guillain Barre syndrome is named along with various other injuries related to brain swelling)

    We all love our children and so I accept that others hearts are in the right place no matter what their stance on this issue. Everyone is free to choose what they feel is right. If vaccines work as they say, it shouldn't matter what my decision is.

    Much love to all families touched by this.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I read here a lot but haven't commented before. My son was born with a rare disorder, and everyone in my husband's family is horribly allergic to any kind of mercury. We opted not to vaccinate our son because his condition affects his brain and his vision, and knowing that if there is something in the vaccine he is allergic to he could die or become paralyzed (as my sister in law became when she had one of her childhood vaccinations) we decided not to take the risk.

    We've taken a lot of flack from people for our decision, but I don't care. It's not their child, and I am not putting my child at risk needlessly. If he has a severe allergic reaction and goes into anaphylactic shock it would be on my head, not the doctors or other parents.

    I'm glad medical technology is advancing and that it's saved many lives, but at the same time I feel that I have to weigh the benefits and risks when it comes to my child. And in our case, it's just not worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. About 17 people die each day due to kidney failure waiting for a matching donor for their non-functioning kidney(s). Yet, at the same time, there are thousands of good matches walking down the street.

    Just imagine, thousands of people with a cure for your child and not one helps while the clock is ticking.

    This doesn't have much to do with vaccinations and the question of whether to vaccinate or not. But it has everything to do with your questions about morals and sacrifice and "collateral damage" and egocentrism.

    In the same way that you and I will most likely NOT donate our kidney, doctors and parents with "normal" kids do not pay much attention to vaccination issues that affect a few...Until someone close to us (them) is one of those few.

    I guess my point is that while we need to fight to put good science behind vaccinations, we dont'n have the right to hold a grudge against those who don't care. We are as much guilty against many, many others.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Is English your first language? I'm only asking because I need to know before I actually respond to what you just said. Put things in perspective for me to know that, Mr. Anonymous.

    ReplyDelete
  17. You might not have realized it but you've got international blog readers. English is not my first language. It's not even the second :)

    My comment was not addressed to you personally. So, please don't feel as if I called you out.

    My comment came about after I read your post and a few days later I listened to this very interesting podcast . Not entirely sure why but it brought me back to your post. I'm putting the link out in case you want to check it out.

    ReplyDelete