How To End The Anti-Vaccine Movement Once And For All: Prison

It’s really quite simple: Throw them in jail. And, yes, I’m completely serious.

We’ve all heard about the anti-vaxxer movement and their smug insistence that they know better than actual doctors. We’ve seen their “arguments” that vaccines cause autism persist even after the source of their claim was utterly and completely debunked. They just “know” they’re right, and facts be dammed! Their precious children are too fragile for all those “dangerous” drugs and no one can force them to “pollute” their loved ones.

Well, fine. Let them not vaccinate. This is America and people are free to believe whatever psuedoscience nonsense they want. As long as they’re willing to pay the price in jail time.

That’s right, I said “jail time” as in “actual prison” not a country club for spoiled rich people.

It’s not a hard concept to grasp. When people refuse to vaccinate their child, they are not only gambling with the lives of their children, they’re gambling with the lives of everyone else’s children. But the reason so many spoiled and affluent people are willing to take that chance is because there are no consequences when their little Petri dishes spread Measles to dozens of people at Disneyland.

Why not? They knowingly put other people at risk. Why shouldn’t they be held accountable?

You see, unlike the flu and the common cold, diseases like Polio and Measles are easy to prevent. Therefore, if parents refuse to vaccinate their children and they spread a preventable disease, the parents have assaulted everyone their children infect. Remember, these are not simple “cough cough I feel better in a few days” afflictions; These are dangerous and potentially lethal diseases that kill millions of people a year.

At their core, these parents are self-centered narcissists and, as always, they’ll think of themselves first. We just have to give them the proper incentives. It really is that simple: vaccinate or risk going to jail for assault. And if anyone should die, the charges should be increased to manslaughter or murder by way of depraved indifference because let’s face the facts here: Anti-vaxxers know they’re risking the lives of other people. They just don’t care.

And there is ample legal precedent for this. We’ve jailed Christian Scientists for letting their children suffer and die from easily curable afflictions. Anti-vaxxers are no different. Actually, that’s not true. Anti-vaxxers are worse. At least Christian Scientists deprive their children of modern medicine because of a deeply held religious belief, no matter how misguided it may be. Anti-vaxxers deprive their children because of a combination of breathtaking arrogance and daytime television.

Conservatives (who, despite their general anti-science attitudes, are not at all a significant part of the anti-vaxxer movement) will back me up on this because they believe in personal responsibility. Sure, they wouldn’t necessarily like to force people to vaccinate against their will but that freedom comes with a price and you’d best be prepared to pay it.

Liberals (the vast majority of which are not under the sway of anti-vax nonsense) will back me up, too. They understand, quite well, that putting others at risk is reprehensible.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying the parents of all unvaccinated children should be at risk of jail. There are many kids that cannot be vaccinated for perfectly legitimate reasons (chemotherapy, allergies, naturally compromised immune systems, etc.). If anything, these are the children we’re trying to protect.

I’m not even saying we should go after parents of children that are deeply religious and refuse to vaccinate. Many of the most extreme cases are homeschooled anyway and there just aren’t enough of them to pose a threat to the public’s health (as evidenced by the fact that outbreaks of preventable diseases were rare and unusual before the anti-vax movement).

But the spoiled brats of the “scientific” anti-vaccine movement? The should not only face prison time but also massive lawsuits. The main reason the anti-vax movement is centered in affluent neighborhoods is that, as Chez Panzienza has suggested, they are so safe and comfortable in their wealth that they have to make up boogeymen to be scared of.

If they refuse to fear a preventable disease that forced people to live in an iron lung, I guarantee they’ll fear the loss of their comfortable lives whether through prison or crippling lawsuits from their victims. The threat alone would be like a vaccine against anti-vaxxer stupidity.