You always hear about crazy people on the Internet who don’t believe in vaccinating their kids, but have you ever actually met one of those wackos in real life? It’s like, I personally think it’s nuts, the anti-vaccine argument. And pretty much every single person I know thinks it’s nuts also. And so you don’t really have to defend your position that often. We just kind of take these things as a given. Yes, we’re supposed to give out vaccinations to stop the spread of really bad diseases. And yes, there exists a small group of people who don’t believe in vaccines, but they all live far away, and so it’s nothing that I’ll probably ever have to deal with in real life.
But one time I met an anti-vaccine guy. He was my age, so he didn’t actually have any kids yet. I don’t have any kids either, and so, in retrospect anyway, I’ve tried to go back in my mind and think about how this conversation about vaccines actually got started. If I’m certain about one thing, it’s that I didn’t bring it up. No, like I said, I’m part of the majority of normal non-looney human beings who don’t doubt vaccinations as being what they are: a crucial tool in helping to keep us alive and healthy. So I don’t go up to random people that I’ve only just met and start talking like I’ve got to go on the offense against the controversial arguments of a fringe group of vaccine deniers.
My friends and I had gone out with a bigger group of friends, and so there were a lot of people I didn’t know. Like I said, I don’t know how I started talking to this one guy about vaccines, but all of the sudden there I was, this dude was in my face, challenging me to defend the use of mass vaccination. At first I thought he was joking. I thought he was making an over-the-top vaccine joke, and so I responded in a similar fashion, making some remark about Jenny McCarthy or Rob Schneider.
But this guy got a really serious look on his face. He was like, “Look man, I’ll send you some Internet articles, and I’m telling you man, you read this shit, you won’t put your kids anywhere near a vaccine.” And again, I don’t have kids. “You have kids?” I asked him. “Nope.”
And what do you say to a person like this? Because no, I’ve never done any hard research. I’ve never gotten under a microscope and checked the actual science. I’m not qualified. But every single news source that I trust, every doctor I’ve ever met in my life, they all tell me the same thing, that these vaccine deniers are deluded, that the overwhelming majority of actual science doesn’t really have anything to say to these people other than, you’re wrong, you don’t know what you’re talking about, please stop spreading misinformation.
So when I was actually confronted with a vaccine denier, I had nothing really to say. I just kept being like, “Oh yeah? Really? You think vaccines cause autism? Huh? You think the government’s trying to control us through vaccines? Really? Is that what you believe?”
And the guy was like, “Yeah man, that’s exactly what I believe. And they don’t want you to know that I know that they know. You know? I’m telling you man, just check out these Internet articles. What’s your email address?”
And what do I say? What could I have said to change his mind? Nothing. He had that crazy look in his eye that all fanatics have. There was nothing to be done. This guy was already lost. So I gave made up a fake email address and said I had to go to the bathroom.