There is this large electronic billboard on I-35 that acts as a death toll clicker here in Austin. Just last week it read, “3,318 Deaths This Year on Texas Roads.” I watch the number rise each year starting in January. It doesn’t move up one by one – deaths are batched, and the total gets upped every couple weeks or so. On average, 3,500 lives are lost by the end of each December.
As I drove down the highway last week, I realized – I don’t know ANY of these thousands of people. In all my years driving Texas highways, I haven’t known anyone who has died on these roads. Yet, there are thousands of lives lost, thousands of families in mourning, thousands of partners without their other halves, and thousands of children without a parent. My heart hurts for these nameless souls. And even though I have no idea who they were as living human beings, I never – for even one second – believe that they don’t exist.
I mean, how offensive would that be? To say, “Yeah, it’s not really that many. Injury and death on Texas roads are far less than you think. The families who say they lost a loved one are, quite frankly, flat out lying. And really, the risk of injury or death when driving is so low it might as well be zero. It’s RARE. Get in your damn cars and DRIVE, people!”
No, we human beings aren’t that cold-hearted. Quite the opposite – we get curious. We uncover reasons for injury and fatality and spend millions of taxpayer dollars on campaigns that increase awareness and promote driver safety. Turns out that in 40% of fatal accidents, the deceased was not in a seat belt. In half of motorcycle fatalities, drivers were not wearing a helmet. Twenty-seven percent of fatal accidents involved a driver under the influence. And a whopping 14% are due to “distracted driving” (a nice way of saying “looking at your smart phone”).
As a People, we very fastidiously uncover these predisposing factors to roadway fatality, and we advocate for safety. We all know that when you drive, you should wear your seat belt, wear a helmet if you are on a motorcycle, have a designated driver if you’ve been drinking, and stay vigilantly aware. If you need to sleep, pull over to find a well lit and populated spot to nap. Text later. Follow the speed limit. Share the road. The safety slogans are endless. We would NEVER tell folks to drive in cars without seat belts, to forego the helmet, to go ahead and chance it on a few drinks, or to keep on driving during a sensitive texting conversation. Why would anyone advise against safety?
Yet. That is exactly what we routinely do to the hundreds a year in Texas who are vaccine injured. Let me tell you how this goes down:
- It started right then – when you read the words “vaccine injured.” To suggest in the slightest that vaccines cause injury makes hair instantaneously stand on end, fight or flight hormones to kick in, and prepared scripts to fill our minds (regardless of where you fall on beliefs). This subject is CHARGED.
- Then, after you get suitably riled, those who suspend all belief regarding the risks of vaccines mentally change the billboard click tally to ZERO. Some may rely on a “one in a million” statistic, but most just floor it all the way to null and void. Vaccines are unequivocally 100% safe, after all.
- Next, the bullying and name calling start in. Just anecdotally, I have received death threats, been told my children should be taken from me, that I should be jailed, and that I can’t science (funny that, given that I’m a bonafide scientist and all). I’m not even super vocal, nor have I mentioned my family’s personal health choices – I just advocate for CHOICE for all of us. That’s enough to enrage the mob. Imagine the mass bullying towards families whose children suffer adverse reactions. It’s like the “She’s a witch!” script from Monty Python.
- And last, all the witches must be burned. Senator Pan out of California is all about witch hunting and burning, and Texas is taking notes and following suit. Last legislative session, Texans for Vaccine Choice helped to kill 17 bills that would have taken away our medical freedom of choice. This year, session is only about to get started, and 7 bills have already been filed to very blatantly steal away our rights. They are building the stakes and readying the flames. They’re also writing bills to identify and quarantine all of the witches as well. I’m not kidding.
How can we, as human beings so capable of boundless compassion and complex thinking, be so callous? To those of you with vaccine injured children, I am so sorry that your friends and your family members discount your stories and are oblivious to the truth. I cannot think of any other present day example where people act like such sheep. Vaccine injured families deserve layers of compassion more.
To those of you still reading who are in favor of government vaccine mandates, unruffle those feathers and take a deep breath. Realize that some families DO NOT have a car with seat belts. Conceive that they might be more prone to accidents if they are forced to drive their cars. Stop yelling at them to get in the damn car and DRIVE! And instead allow them the choice to drive, to call a friend for a ride, or to bike or walk to their destination. Allow them the freedom to keep their families safe.
Back in the day, sacrificial children were used to appease the gods, hopeful that the offer of their lives would end some long-stretched famine or bring much needed rain. The vaccine injured are our sacrificial children, friends. We are blindly offering them up to the vaccine-death-toll clicker god. Except, I can’t say we are even remotely meeting that historical level of “noble” in asking for food or for rain. In our case, the injuries and deaths are just plain senseless.
I have a friend whose child is nonverbal with severe autism and documented autoimmunities. She lives in a vaccine mandate state and doctors will not provide a medical exemption for fear of losing their licenses. Yet, the parents have no choice but to work, and the child must be fully vaccinated to be in school. Every time he is vaccinated, he further regresses.
My friend’s family has no seat belts in the car. And her state is telling her – get in the damn car and DRIVE! She has cried out to them, “We’re driving! And we’re trying not to get in accidents, but it just keeps happening to us. Help!” The toll clicks once for her son, and then her fellow humans pull the total back to zero. They deny her son’s injury, and reprimand her for daring to suggest the clicker clicked. She and her family are burning at the sacrificial witch stake.
Do not let this happen in Texas, y’all. The “seat belt” equivalents are out there. We know many factors that contribute to vaccine injury susceptibility, yet there is no structure in place to screen children for them. I do not believe it is because we don’t care – I believe it is because there is much money to be made by our staying unaware that some vehicles just don’t have safety restraints. Take off the veil and look around you with fresh perspective and an open compassion. See the actual clicker total for what it is – hundreds upon hundreds of hurting Texas families each year.
Texas legislators are actively proposing the building blocks to vaccine mandates. Do not complacently hand your medical rights over to the government. When there is a witch hunt, while you may not think you or anyone you know is actually a witch – you’ll find that unexpected loved ones will burn at the stake.
Just like I don’t know any of the people who have died on Texas roads this year, you may not know a single vaccine injured family. Do not fall prey to an act of pure folly and mentally pull the clicker to zero. Vaccine injured families EXIST. There are hundreds of nameless injured and dead each year in our state. Keep your hearts and minds open as we move into this legislative session. Look for the unintended consequences of medically restrictive bills, and fight vigilantly for our freedom. Together, we can preserve our right to choose.
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