I was interviewed for and quoted in the latest edition of Nature Medicine (oops caught by Ms Clark). The piece in question was an uneasy look at the continuing and escalating violent overtones emanating from the mercury militia – parents who believe against all evidence that their kids autism was caused by vaccines.
The piece started with a look at the experiences Paul Offit faces now and then:
….as Paul Offit, a vaccine expert who served on the committee, tried to make his way through the crowd, one of the protestors screamed at him through a megaphone: “The devil–it’s the devil!” One protester held a sign that read “TERRORIST” with a photo of Offit’s face. Just before Offit reached the door, a man dressed in a prison uniform grabbed Offit’s jacket. “It was harrowing,” Offit recalls.
He has since received hundreds of malicious and threatening emails, letters and phone calls accusing him of poisoning children and “selling out” to pharmaceutical companies. One phone caller listed the names of Offit’s two young children and the name of their school. One email contained a death threat–“I will hang you by your neck until you’re dead”–that Offit reported to federal investigators.
Offit’s crime? He’s performed science that doesn’t support the vaccine/autism hypothesis and spoke out about it.
His experiences mirror those of scientist Paul Shattuck who also published science that didn’t support the vaccine hypothesis. After a highly inaccurate smear campaign from the National Autism Association, Shattuck also received threats:
One person said, â€œDonâ€™t be surprised if you get a knock on your door in the middle of the night and Iâ€™ll be there.â€ Another message said it was easy in the age of the Internet to find out where people live.
Arthur Allen and Professor Roy Grinker have also been on the receiving end of threats of violence:
these people need to be horse whipped…
I’ve also been on the receiving end of various nastiness. From the cowardly actions of John Best who once compared my autistic daughter to a monkey after I related how well she was doing and his follow ups:
….My wife bought too many bananas so I’ll send some for your daughter …..
…Perhaps you can teach your daughter to swing from tree to tree…
we can see how little the mercury militia actually value children. John followed this up by joining the AWARES conference under the username ‘megan leitch’ and posting more cowardly material. John’s regulars at his blog thought this hilarious. John’s blog regulars are anonymous members of the Evidence of Harm Yahoo Group. People who say they care about autistic kids and the discrimination they face.
Recently, this blog was blessed with a series of short lived visits from Ray Gallup, the co-founder of the Vaccine Autoimmune Project. He started off with a series of sneery comments – par for the course and easily deflected. However, he then decided to start posting under the names of others, including fellow antivaxxer Alan Rees and the afore mentioned Dr Paul Offit. It was easy to spot it was him because the IP address was exactly the same.
Shortly after this I was forwarded an email from someone who had followed the Gallup idiocy (he’s banned now by the way) and had mailed him to ask what he was up to – here is the first reply:
I heard through the grapevine that the Kevin Leitch crowd and his fellow swine assholes where accusing me and Alan Rees of putting things on their website/blog. These people are a bunch of scumbags and I wouldn’t waste my time with dumb fucken people.
Except you _did_ Ray. So why lie about it?
Anyway, that was just the starter. The main course that followed showed yet again, the full extent of the bitter hate and violent tendencies of the mercury militia:
Since you seem to follow what is going on with the Leitch list let me know if Leitch, Deer and the others get hit with a fast moving truck or bus that leaves their carcasses mangled and bloodly on the street.
I will be devotely praying night and day that something like this happens to them and their followers. Especially since these creeps say such hurtful things to parents. They deserve all the best in something terrible happening to every last one of them and I will pray daily.
I usually pray for good things for families that suffer but in their case I will make a big exception.
Jim Laidler was also interviewed for the Nature piece. His words are worrying but I cannot deny their veracity:
This stuff is frighteningly violent,” Laidler says. “With the Omnibus trial looking like [the Cedillos] are going to go down in flames, I would be appalled, but not surprised, to hear that some act of violence was carried out.
Its certainly gearing up for that. It was only recently that Brad Handley of Generation Rescue said to me:
If we were on a rugby pitch, Kev, Iâ€™d put my boot in your eye and twist…
These are a set of people winding themselves up like a bunch of toddlers ready to have a major tantrum. But they aren’t toddlers. These are, amazingly, adults. I challenge them to find a single incidence of any Autism Hub blogger threatening violence towards antivaccers/autism believers.