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Vaccines caused the Virginia Tech rampage?

I hadn’t planned on writing again about the horrific massacre at Virginia Tech. After all, what more could I say that hasn’t been said before in the blogospheric chatter that’s erupted in the five days since the killings? Despicably, everyone’s blaming their favorite cause. Fundamentalists are blaming atheism, secularism, and even Charles Darwin for the rampage. We have people making the ridiculous claim that more liberal concealed carry gun laws would have stopped the rampage before so many people died. Never mind that the price over the years for maybe–just maybe–stopping a rare homicidal maniac would be students pulling out those concealed weapons and capping each other when they get drunk every weekend, which would no doubt account, over time, for far more deaths of innocents than a lone gunman. But, hey, never let a little reality get in the way of a delusion, right? One blogger even lists at least 47 things that people have tried to blame the VTU shootings on.

He missed one.

I thought I had seen it all when it comes to people blaming their favorite hobby horse, be it gun control, secularism, or evolution for the rampage. Then I saw this:

THE grandfather of Cho Seung-Hui said yesterday: “Son of a bitch. It serves him right he died with his victims.”

Kim Hyang-Sik, 82, said he had a doom-laden dream of Cho’s parents the night of his murderous rampage – and woke to hear the news of the massacre and his grandson’s death.

He watched Cho’s sick video of himself holding a gun to his head.

His sister Kim Yang-Sun, 85, who also saw it, told the Mirror that afterwards her brother was so distraught he had “gone away for a few days to calm himself down and avoid more questions”.

She too repeatedly referred to the killer as “son of a bitch” or “a***hole” and said his mother Kim Hyang-Yim had problems with him from infancy.

Yang-Sun revealed the eight-year-old was diagnosed as autistic soon after his family emigrated to the US.

She said: “He was very quiet and only followed his mother and father around and when others called his name he just answered yes or no but never showed any feelings or motions.

“We started to worry that he was autistic – that was the big concern of his mother. He was even a loner as a child.

“Soon after they got to America his mother was so worried about his inability to talk she took him to hospital and he was diagnosed as autistic.”

(More from a more reputable news source than The Mirror, namely the AP, here.)

Uh-oh. You know what’s coming next, don’t you?

Granted, Cho Seung-Hui’s grandfather sounds like a such a lovely, caring grandfather who, from his statements, sounds as though he may well have contributed to the abuse that Cho suffered, and it’s quite possible that Cho carried a diagnosis of autism or ASD. Be that as it may, whenever you hear autism, what’s not far behind?

Contemptible ghoul Alan E. Moses of The American Chronicle, that’s who, as he blames Cho’s rampage on vaccines, specifically the thimerosal in vaccines:

There is another contribution to this that many feel has caused problems with their own children. An ever growing number of parents feel that vaccines are causing all types of mental disorders. The neurotoxin thimerosal has been questioned for some time. This is a mercury based antibacterial still used in the production and contained in some vaccines. And a quick look at some of the vaccines that Cho received will shock many of the parents that feel that thimerosal is dangerous to children.

Children in South Korea where Cho and his family migrated from receive a vaccine for Encephalitis as this nation like many Asian countries have outbreaks every year. It is a major health issue. Twenty years ago the South Korean government implemented a program to vaccinate children to ward off this disease. The vaccine of choice was what is known as the Nakayama vaccine or JE. Many travelers to the Fareast today receive this vaccine as a precautionary measure. A South Korean child of 15 may have received 14 of these thimerosal containing vaccines. A booster was required every year as immunity would dissipate. By 1995 this practice was halted due to concerns over excessive vaccinations and the adverse effects that were reported. A new Chinese made vaccine without thimerosal. SA14-14-2 became the booster as it didn’t require yearly injections. (Ref. Young Mo Sohn, Yosnei University college of Medicine, Seoul South Korea)

Once Cho and his family came to the U.S. he had to have his U.S. vaccines brought up to requirements in order to attend school. The question remains just how many Thimerosal vaccines did he receive and in how short of time before he began school here? In 1992 many U.S. vaccines still contained this mercury product and we must remember that boosters were required again at 13 for one Hep-B.

As his symptoms reveal, was Cho an undiagnosed child that suffered from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? He rarely made eye contact, rarely spoke and preferred to be alone as he seemed to have lacked social skills. During his time in grade school many ASD children went undiagnosed as this phenomenon had yet to explode until the late 90’s. There was little information and many doctors put the word shy to over use. And as many of these early ASD children he was ridiculed by classmates and teachers. ASD and mental retardation do not go hand in hand as many believe so Cho’s intelligence is not uncommon but may have created the lack of intervention as it is assumed that to be ASD you also have trouble in learning.

Moses seems to be claiming that, if only Cho had been chelated for his “toxic vaccine injury,” he might not have gone on a killing spree. In other words, according to Moses, the mercury in vaccines are responsible for a “toxic injury” that led to his becoming a homicidal maniac.

Lovely. Just lovely.

Never mind that blaming autism for the rampage is bad enough, but Moses has to compound the vileness by implying that vaccines can turn children into killers. Never mind that there is no good evidence that the mercury in thimerosal in vaccines in any way contributes to the development of autism or autism spectrum disorders. Never mind that the latest statistics from, for example, California show no decrease and, indeed, a continued increase, in its autism caseload in 3-5 year olds in the first quarter of 2007, now four years since thimerosal was removed from all childhood vaccines other than the flu vaccine, when by now, if mercury causes autism, we should have seen a huge decrease in the caseload. Never mind that there’s lots of other evidence that shows no link between vaccines and autism.

Alan Moses is just another digusting, opportunistic ghoul piling on.

ADDENDUM: It figures. As vile and despicable as Alan Moses’ article was, it didn’t take long for me to find one even worse on the same topic:

If Cho was autistic, I want to see it publicized. I want it to be well known what mercury does to brains. The ultimate cause of this horror began in 1931 when Eli Lilly started poisoning people with thimerosal. The fact that the media removed that comment from Cho’s aunt just says that the media is hiding autism from intense scrutiny. Intense scrutiny of the ultimate reason for this horror might produce the truth for the whole world to see. We don’t know if Cho was poisoned by mercury like my son was. Does anyone think that fact will be covered up if a tox screen reveals it? If Cho had thimerosal induced autism, the vaccine manufacturers and the medical profession must accept the blame for the lost lives. The truth is the only thing that can prevent more of the same.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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