ENOUGH: Lock Up Aggressive Anti-Vaxxer Hooligans

As the Denver Post’s John Aguilar reports, check out what eighteen months of misinformation and bad faith from one side of the aisle while a global pandemic raged has done for American society!

Besides 651,000 dead Americans, of course:

The head of Jefferson County Public Health pulled the agency’s three COVID-19 vaccination vans off the road over Labor Day weekend after nurses and medical staff administering shots to the public were jeered at and harassed by passersby.

JCPH Executive Director Dawn Comstock in an interview late Tuesday said that on Saturday, staff manning a mobile vaccine clinic in Gilpin County, which contracts with Jeffco for health services, were yelled at and threatened by passing motorists.

One driver, she said, ran over and destroyed temporary signs the clinic had put up around its vaccine tent. That same day, someone threw unidentified liquid at a public health nurse who was working a different mobile clinic stationed in front of a Jefferson County restaurant, Comstock said.

“Additional cars drove by screaming obscenities at vaccine staff and throwing garbage at them,” she said. “I will not put the hard-working public health staff in harm’s way.”

If you’re not totally incensed over some of our own neighbors harassing public health workers whose sole purpose in exposing themselves to such terrible behavior is trying to save lives in our community, then all we can say is that is a sad and ominous development for all of us. Americans today have easy access to vaccines literally billions of people across the world are dying for the want of, yet not only are millions of Americans convinced the vaccines (and for that matter, the pandemic) are a hoax, but some of them are driven by the overheated low-information rhetoric to do what we’re reading about today.

If you believe we as a community are better than this, it’s necessary to prove that. In this situation, that means not being intimidated by thugs, prosecuting said thugs, and maybe even some community support for mobile vaccine clinics instead of leaving them to be accosted.

And if you’re a Republican politician who has taken advantage of ignorance about COVID-19 and the vaccine over the last year and a half, you need to understand that this criminal behavior directed at public health workers is your responsibility. The people out there harassing health care workers at vaccine clinics aren’t likely to listen to mainstream media voices. It’s up to conservatives to speak out loudly against this before it gets any worse.

Or not. And that would be simply unforgivable.

15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gilpin Guy says:

    Gilpin County is going to relocate their vaccination van to the sheriffs parking lot.  Intimidation is the the logical next step to non compliance.

    • bullshit! says:

      These people make me want to fucking puke. The worst of America shining bright.

    • kwtree says:

      Good…let the anti vaxxers get arrested for freedumb.

      I have  a suggestion for the south Jeffco vaxxer van…in the parking lot by the new In n Out burger joint on S Wadsworth. I’ve seen four Jeffco police cars just overseeing the burger fanatics waiting half an  hour in line to get their mediocre burgers n fries. Making sure they don’t cut in line, directing traffic, etc.
       

      I went in to the in and out dining room, just to see what all the hype was about , and there were like 60 unmasked customers in there. So a vaxxing van would be a public service. 
       

    • ParkHill says:

      Would a bunch of 3-percenter Oath Keepers would protect health workers or encourage the anti-vaxxers. Anti-vax sentiment is high in police departments.

      Also, according to polling, Colorado Republicans rank much higher than national Republicans when it comes to anti-vax sentiment. Something like 70% for Colorado Rs, and only 50% for national Rs.

  2. doremi says:

    Probably because the sensible former R's left the GOP and became U's. 

    • Duke Cox says:

      Not according to CHB. He says moderates like Kevin Priola are in charge and the GOP is gonna be revived.

      I keep trolling for the names of GOP leadership who could be considered "moderate"…he has so far produced a whole none.

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        Thanks for misquoting me again, Duke. If you’re going to eavesdrop, kindly pay attention.

        Yes, you do try to troll. I’ll leave it at that.

        • Duke Cox says:

          Hey great…now that I have your attention, this would be a good time to simply answer the question you keep desperately avoiding. How about the names and leadership roles of all those moderates running the Colorado GOP? I did not misunderstand nor misquote you.

          The fact is, CHB, there aren't any. Your claims are bogus. Prove me wrong…put up or shut up. Let's have those names.

          You still support a Republican party that is no longer conservative. It is reactionary, conspiratorial, and determined to upend our democracy.

          And yet you persist in your delusion that the GOP has not become the GQP. Pitiful it is.

           

  3. JohnInDenver says:

    Staff ought to be trained to not react to shouts (First Amendment issues for me), but as soon as one of them or any of their property is touched, someone should be recording and police should be called.

    Legal folks can chime in on what charges can result — but as some of my fellow students in junior high learned, SOMEBODY is going to pay for repairs or replacements — and it might as well be the one(s) who damaged or destroyed it.

    I'm not certain the "broken windows" approach to policing works in broad situations, but in specific cases like harassing health workers, stopping outbursts early can probably limit escalations.

    • ParkHill says:

      When does shouting become harassment? When does it become disruption? What about profanity: "You f-in c-word." These are public health workers going about their jobs.

      It seems to me that threats, even oblique ones "you'll be sorry", should trigger at least a stern talking to from a police officer, writing down their names.

      I'm thinking also of when the Proud Boys tried to invade a schoolyard in Vancouver Washington, not to mention doxxing health or school board officials, and making threatening phone calls. Of course in Portland, the Proud Boys have a "friendly relationship" with the police force.

      • kwtree says:

        It always is illuminating to imagine the police reaction if these antiwaxxers were, say, Black Lives Matter protesters. 

      • JohnInDenver says:

        There's obviously a tension between First Amendment right of expression and the general sense of letting people live free of verbal harassment. 

        One strand of theory tries to clarify a person's “reasonable fear” as the boundary … with a resulting questions of who that person is and what counts as "reasonable." One interesting group considering the boundary from a motivated point of view:  "Stop Street Harassment (SSH) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to documenting and addressing and ending gender-based street harassment worldwide."

        Government in the US can also act when there are fighting words,  "speech that is used to inflame another and that will likely incite physical retaliation. Likewise, language that is meant to incite the masses toward lawless action is not protected. This can include speech that is intended to incite violence or to encourage the audience to commit illegal acts. The test for fighting words is whether an average citizen would view the language as being inherently likely to provoke a violent response."

        Last, speech veers into harassment when it prevents government agents from doing their jobs.  So, shouting near someone welcoming voters to a site may be more tolerable than the same level of shouting from a similar distance when an election worker is verifying eligibility, and certainly would be intolerable in a counting room.

         

         

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