About a year and a half ago, I began an intermittent series that I called How “They” View “Us.” There are several posts in the series now. Basically, given the amount of nastiness directed at those of us who refute pseudoscience, in particular quackery and antivaccine pseudoscience, by those who believe in it, I tried to envision, quite literally, how “they” view “us.” I even did a talk on the topic at the Science-Based Medicine workshop at The Amazing Meeting last year. Basically, I pointed out that we might think of ourselves on the side of right (and, let’s face it, we are), the believers in quackery (who are often also the victims of quackery) don’t see it that way. They view us as those evil people who are trying to keep them from saving their lives (or the lives of family members), stop them from “recovering” their child from autism, or to crush their freedom. To illustrate the point, I used an image of Captain America punching out Hitler to illustrate how I thought of myself when I was refuting Holocaust denial, then pointing out that in the case of quackery we’re not dealing with neo-Nazis, using images of those who lost their lives due to cancer quackery, such as Kim Tinkham and Jess Ainscough.
Throughout the years, I followed up with examples of how those whose use or embrace of quackery and dubious science I’ve criticized view their critics, such as the family of Gordie Howe, who believe that critics are trying to keep them from the only treatment that could reverse their dad’s stroke. Another example was Keith Olbermann, who was so emotionally invested in Gordie Howe as a hero that he heaped contempt on me on Twitter for suggesting that the stem cells didn’t do anything to help Howe and that the company who made them acted unethically. Through all these stories ran a central theme, namely conspiracy theories. Indeed, I’ve even postulated a central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement, namely that the CDC has “known all along” that vaccines cause autism but have covered it up. This particular conspiracy theory is why the antivaccine movement was so quick to latch on to the “CDC whistleblower” manufactroversy. It’s also why the invocation of this particular conspiracy theory was so attractive to the Nation of Islam, which was recruited to add to the opposition to California SB 277 on the basis of the claim that the CDC “covered up” results that showed that the MMR vaccine was associated with autism in African American boys.
In fact, the opposition to SB 277, a bill that would eliminate nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates, thus preventing parents from claiming personal belief exemptions and driving down vaccine uptake rates sufficiently in local pockets to compromise herd immunity and allow outbreaks to occur, has really brought out the crazy in antivaccinationists. With the vote in the California Assembly that could send SB 277 to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for signature coming up perhaps as early as today, antivaccinationists are doubling down. For instance, the other day at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, an antivaccinationist I had never heard of before, Jinan Robison, launched into Richard Pan, the pediatrician turned California Senator who introduced SB 277 with Ben Allen. Not unexpectedly, it’s everybody’s favorite quack conspiracy theory, the idea that anyone who supports scientific medicine or vaccines must be in the pay of big pharma:
SB277. It sounded like an EXCELLENT way to bolster your ratings. I get it. It sounded like a piece of legislation that would quickly fill your pockets with some big money, while holding hands and canoodling with powerful corporations. What an excellent deal, right? Work with Merck, make an ungodly amount of money, and boost your political career all the while ensuring that consistent donors are on your side. A good career move. It should fly under the radar, right? I mean only 2% of Californians hold a personal belief exemption. Such a small number to sacrifice. That had to have crossed your mind at some point. Take into account the large amount of American people who have long since lost hope in any sort of real democracy. Add in our own selfish values and you have a slam dunk bill right? I mean the American people are far too busy wasting incredible amounts of time on “social media” sharing videos of women fighting in Wal-Mart to worry about a little ol’ bill about vaccinations. We are so eager to claw into each other over ‘personal beliefs’ and spend our time de-friending our “friends” and relatives over whether or not they plan to address former Olympian as Bruce or Caitlyn from here on out. Clearly we are too busy to worry about vaccines. A large number of American people have given up on government and are ignorantly accepting legislation without a second thought. It should have been a slam dunk bill for you.
This is so full of derpitude that it’s hard to imagine how much worse it could be. Clearly Robison is unfamiliar with AB 2109, a bill that merely tried to make it more difficult for nonvaccinating parents to obtain nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates. To say that Pan was vilified by opponents of the bill is to put it mildly. Surely Pan knew exactly what he was in for when he first introduced SB 277. Certainly, he was under no illusions about how difficult it would be to pass, even in the immediate wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak.
Unfortunately, this derpitude is yet another example of what antivaccinationists really believe about Sen. Pan, and the threat inherent in Robison’s last paragraph is unmistakable:
So, Senator Pan enjoy your Merck sponsored vacation because when we are done with you, you may not have a career left. When you unite people together from all walks of life, then ignorantly insult them and spew your agenda on them, I can assure you, you will not be left alone! Your name will not be forgotten. We will win, this bill may get signed, but one way or another, we will win. Our lawyers will win. Our children will win. For you, this bill may have meant luxurious and lucrative kickbacks, but for us this bill is about our children and messing them only means one thing. It means war.
Note the assumption that it’s Merck who’s behind SB 277 and the “Braveheart”-like bravado about freedom and ultimate victory. “They” can’t believe that anyone would not believe that vaccines are harmful and don’t cause autism based just on their own understanding of the data; so to them anyone who is pro-vaccine must be compromised, as in being paid by big pharma. The problem is, in most cases this is not an act. At least, in my experience it doesn’t appear to be an act. They really, really believe that “we” are evil, and a manifestation of that evil is that, in their eyes, “we” are willing to take filthy lucre from pharma in order to support the poisoning of children.
If you want more evidence of this, let’s move on to a different incident that occurred last week:
The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said they received a report about a body in the Rocky Broad River in Chimney Rock on June 19.
Deputies said the body was found by a fisherman. The body was removed from the river and was identified as James Jeffrey Bradstreet of Braselton, Georgia. Bradstreet had a gunshot wound to the chest, which appeared to be self inflicted, according to deputies.
Divers from the Henderson County Rescue Squad responded to the scene and recovered a handgun from the rivers, according to deputies.
Bradstreet’s body was sent to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for an autopsy on Wednesday. The case remains under investigation.
For those of you who don’t know who Jeff Bradstreet was, I’ll simply point out that he was an autism “biomed” practitioner and prominent antivaccine advocate who was associated with Andrew Wakefield. Given that he just died last Friday, I don’t feel it’s time to do a post discussing the full depths of his promotion of antivaccine beliefs and autism “biomed.” Let’s just say that, in life, he was not immune to a bit of not-so-Respectful Insolence and has been discussed elsewhere. All you need to know about him for purposes of this post is that he was a prominent “autism biomed” practitioner. In any case, the lesson that Jeff Bradstreet’s death, whatever the cause, teaches us is just how deep into conspiracy theories antivaccinationists are. For example, just check out this comment by Peggy Rose:
If this does not stink to high heaven I don’t know what does. A fisherman finds his body with a gunshot wound that appears to be a self inflicted. Just how the hell would they know that. Amazingly they happen to find the gun in the river. Wow that is some amazing detective work.
There’s this comment by Ben Melman:
It’s obvious that he was deliberately killed off because he spoke out against federal deceit, CDC, etc and was a life-saver for many like myself. My name is Ben Melman, I’m a former patient of his, I spread this story to a forum which went somewhat viral from there. He did so much for me, and it’s time to return the favor, whether it means putting my life on the line, idk. But he was at the top of his game, obviously many of higher ‘authority’ didn’t approve of that and Liz might be a paid shill, idk, I won’t judge, but the truth is out there and I’m on the hunt, I’m not the only one on the hunt either. The truth will get out, Jeffrey, you **** well better know it deep down inside, you’ll always be in our hearts and on our minds, god bless you for eternity, RIP…
And this comment by melysue:
He did NOT kill himself! He was murdered for who he was speaking against, what he knew, and what he was doing about it. He was brilliant kind compassionate doctor with amazing abilities to heal. He was taken. Stopped. Silenced. Why would a doctor who had access to pharmaceuticals and could die peacefully shoot himself in the chest???? And throw himself in a river?? THIS IS OBVIOUS! MURDER!!
Elsewhere, there’s this. Note the scare quotes around “self inflicted gunshot wound.” The implication is clear. If you don’t think so take a look at the GoFundMe page to which the article linked, which comes from the Bradstreet family:
To find the answers to the many questions leading up to the death of Dr Bradstreet, including an exhaustive investigation into the possibility of foul play. Thank you for your support!
So, yes, before the police investigation is complete, the conspiracy theories have started to flow, not just on the part of the family, but on the commenters, some of whom believe that Jeff Bradstreet was murdered. Indeed, Erin Elizabeth (a.k.a. the Health Nut) notes that another prominent alternative medicine practitioner (whom she hasn’t yet named) died on the same weekend and goes on to observe in her article:
Shelby is a small town of 20k people, and the same town where they just apprehended the Charleston South Carolina mass church killer Dylann Roof last week. Some doctors are reading this tonight and writing me that they find the story suspicious and are concerned. I too am concerned, as my other half is a prominent controversial doctor as well, and not sure what to think. I suspect we’ll know more as the investigation continues.
Another doctor (whose name I cannot yet disclose) died suddenly on Father’s Day here on Florida’s East Coast. He was healthy and fit with a thriving practice, had an additional PhD in Nutrition from Harvard. We are saddened by the sudden death of both doctors.
Note how out of left field Elizabeth managed to insinuate a relationship between the recent tragic mass shooting in an African-American church in Charleston.
We will continue to update you as more information comes in about the death of Dr. Jeffrey Bradstreet and of the other unnamed doctor whose name I cannot share yet. More info is coming in at this late hour about #CDCwhistleblower and other sources I need to vet before posting. (It’s complicated) Our hearts go out to both their families and friends during their time of loss.
Note how she also manages to insinuate a relationship between Bradstreet’s death and the (now) grandmother of all antivaccine conspiracy theories without actually saying there is one.
That’s because “they” view “us” as part of a conspiracy, either vast or not so vast, to enact forced vaccination and silence critics like them trying to reveal The Truth to The People. Is it possible that Bradstreet was murdered? Of course, although it doesn’t sound like it. Is it likely? Not very, based on the little we know now. Even if he were murdered, how likely is it that it was on the orders of the enemies of alternative medicine (whatever that means) in order to “silence” him for some reason? Very unlikely indeed.
Unless, of course, you view people who disagree with you as part of a conspiracy or paid off by the conspiracy, in which case in your world there’s no depths to which your enemies won’t descend, even murder. As someone posting under the name “Jolly Roger” put it:
That’s what you get for trying to expose the link between vaccines and autism. The big pharma button man puts one in your chest.
Let’s see…. I’m going to commit suicide. Should I end my life quickly with a shot to the temple that will probably kill me before I feel it?
Na…. That’s no fun. I’ll shoot myself in the chest, so I can suffer agonizing pain, possibly for hours before I die.
Of course, if you shoot yourself right in the heart you won’t remain conscious very long before bleeding out. Bradstreet was a physician. He knew where to shoot, assuming, as all indications point to, that that’s what happened.
Be that as it may, I think the above comment encapsulates the world view of so many in the antivaccine movement. Many of them really do believe that Sen. Pan is promoting SB 277 only for the filthy pharma lucre and that if you try to “expose” the nonexistent link between vaccines ant autism big pharma will send a hit man to put a bullet in you. Of course, Bradstreet had been practicing his brand of “autism biomed” for many years; so that leaves the question of: Why now?
I’m sure someone will related it to SB 277 or something. In fact, I predict that within a week or two we’ll see Mike Adams do one of his deliciously unhinged posts declaring much the same thing as “Jolly Roger,” only with a lot more made up detail. Just wait. It’s coming.
ADDENDUM #1: It’s been pointed out to me that I missed a doozy about Jeff Bradstreet, namely a pharma hit list:
Dr. Jeffrey Bradstreet was trying to treat and heal children with autism disorder, and brought information to light regarding the vaccine industry. He did not commit suicide. He was suicided by the pharmaceutical industry, because he brought out so much damning information against the pharmaceutical vaccine industry that they bumped him off, just like many others we know. They are trying to make it out to be a suicide, which it was not, and then on the next breath they say, “Bradstreet’s body was sent to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for an autopsy on Wednesday. The case remains under investigation.” I hope they keep it under investigation, because this doctor was murdered for speaking out against the pharmaceutical industry for injuring all of these children he was trying to save.
Read more: http://www.foxcarolina.com/story/29391296/body-located-in-rocky-broad-river-in-chimney-rock-identified#ixzz3dx1ljnWU
When I heard he died, I had a feeling he was bumped off by the pharmaceutical industry. The war has just begun, and it is going to be a war. Look at all the scientists they were afraid of being exposed that were suicided and died under suspicious circumstances. Look at the of the banksters that were suicided last year. The truth is coming out, and united we stand, and some heads need to roll, and these people are going to prison.
That’s some weapons-grade conspiracy mongering.
ADDENDUM #2: The plot thickens. The FDA visited Bradstreet’s clinic during the week before he apparently committed suicide. Now the conspiracy theories will really start stirring.