Yes, I went there. Why? Because antivaxers have been going there all week, since a teenager opened fire at high school in Parkland, Florida, USA.
Ever since Sandy Hook, when Shari Tenpenny blamed vaccines for causing the shooter to be autistic and rage against society, antivaxers have blamed mass shootings on vaccines and autism. It is not just pseudoscience but ableism of the worst kind.
Not much has changed since Shari made that statement. Antivaxers are still blaming all of society’s ills on vaccines. The antivax band and group. The Refusers, was the first one I noticed. Refusers is basically the brainchild of Michael Belkin, a man who believes his baby died from a reaction to the hepatitis B vaccine, although he has no evidence to back that claim.
Comments have been made around the internet
First of all, we don’t know if Nikolas Cruz was autistic. Secondly, it doesn’t matter. Humans have been violent since they first started to walk upright. Anyone who has ever read history, studied anthropology, or just bothers to be well-read knows that humans have tended to be violent since the dawn of our time.
“Medieval knights—whom today we would call warlords—fought their numerous private wars with a single strategy: kill as many of the opposing knight’s peasants as possible. Religious instruction included prurient descriptions of how the saints of both sexes were tortured and mutilated in ingenious ways. Corpses broken on the wheel, hanging from gibbets, or rotting in iron cages where the sinner had been left to die of exposure and starvation were a common part of the landscape. For entertainment, one could nail a cat to a post and try to head-butt it to death, or watch a political prisoner get drawn and quartered, which is to say partly strangled, disemboweled, and castrated before being decapitated.”
“Lethal violence increased over the course of mammal evolution. While only about 0.3 percent of all mammals die in conflict with members of their own species, that rate is sixfold higher, or about 2 percent, for primates. Early humans likewise should have about a 2 percent rate—and that lines up with evidence of violence in Paleolithic human remains.
The medieval period was a particular killer, with human-on-human violence responsible for 12 percent of recorded deaths. But for the last century, we’ve been relatively peaceable, killing one another off at a rate of just 1.33 percent worldwide. And in the least violent parts of the world today, we enjoy homicide rates as low as 0.01 percent.”
We have gotten less violent as we have gotten more civilized, primarily due to education and lawmaking. The USA may have the 31st highest rate of violence in the world, but that rate is also decreasing. A 2014 report from the FBI found “Violent crime, however, is about 0.7 percent lower than five years ago, and 16.5 percent lower than a decade ago. The violent crime rate – nearly 373 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in the U.S. – is almost half the 20-year high reached in 1996.”
So, why does USA have so many mass shootings, particularly mass shootings in schools? Well, without good research, which the NRA blocks, we don’t really know. It certainly has nothing to do with vaccines since we know that human’s tendency to violence is nothing new. Perhaps it relates to easy access to guns. Perhaps it is about social media attention. Maybe shooters want to go down in a blaze of glory. Until we have some research, we won’t really know what this is all about. One thing for sure, this is not about mental illness.