Anti-Vaccine Activists Resort to Intimidation and Violence

Anti-vaccine activism is going from online chats to real life that include violent and intimidation tactics. The results are startling, if not downright horrifying. Never forget that anti-vaccine groups are largely influenced by environmentalists and now violence will be employed to achieve their aims to undermine or halt the spread of vaccines in order to kill humans off.

When the Political Guerrillas Come for You

by Noah Rothman, Commentary

‘The threat of in-person violence has always been there,” said Leah Russin, vaccine advocate and frequent target of anti-vaccination activists. “But I think the reality of it has escalated.” She’s right to worry.

In recent months, “anti-vaxxer” agitation has jumped off your Facebook timeline and transformed into an aggressive and menacingly effective movement. Last December, vaccination opponents launched a campaign of intimidation and harassment against Nevada-based restaurants that planned to host vaccine awareness events, scuttling the program entirely. That same month, attempts to limit religious exemptions to vaccination laws in New Jersey failed when protesters laid siege to the state senate. In September, California Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove had a cup of what appeared to be blood thrown at her by an anti-vaccine activist. Another irate demonstrator physically assaulted California state Sen. Richard Pan. Across the country, anti-vaccination groups are targeting physicians, advocates, and lawmakers in the effort to intimidate them into complacency.

These appalling (and occasionally criminal) displays of contempt for common standards of civic engagement are, to some observers, utterly inexplicable. How did these fringe activists come to adopt these guerrilla tactics? Vaccine advocates who spoke with NBC News speculated that this behavior was modeled after the Westboro Baptist church—a peripheral religious group that achieved infamy in the mid-2000s for picketing the funerals of U.S. soldiers and deploying grotesque anti-gay rhetoric. To the journalism advocacy organization Poynter, however, these maneuvers were too “similar to how anti-abortion protesters will stake out women’s health clinics” to be a coincidence.

It’s revealing that these primarily Democratic victims of the new normal must reach into the annals of history to find parallels that approximate their ordeals. It’s even more telling that the examples that leap to mind are only those committed by their political adversaries. The intellectual energy it must take to avoid acknowledging the obvious—that these tactics have recently been routinized by progressive activists—can’t be worth the effort.

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PHOTO CREDIT: A cartoon from a December 1894 anti-vaccination publication