Once more unto the breach of commonsense and science, they come. The anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers. Blinded by ignorance and feverish self-righteousness, it’s a wonder they don’t march off the edge of the flat earth.
On Saturday, crowds estimated in their 1000s protested in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. They were protesting for their freedom, and in the illogical way of these things, the freedom of all. In the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of lockdown, they believe their rights are greater than those of the great majority. As NSW police said, they had no bother with people protesting in relation to freedom of speech, but this was a public health issue.
It’s not too far a stretch, after all, people’s lives are at stake. Indeed, in Sydney, there have been deaths in the past weeks.
The Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said of Saturday’s protesters: ‘‘You’re either on the side of the virus, or you’re on the side of humanity. You can’t be on both.’’
The weekend’s protests follow ratbaggery in Melbourne recently when nurses at vaccination hubs were confronted with aggressive and threatening behaviour.
Security had to be boosted. Let that sink in. Security had to be boosted to protect those trying to keep people safe.
Foley at the time called such people ‘‘anti-science, anti-evidence dangerous fanatics’’.
‘‘Violence, physical and verbal threats against our healthcare workers and call centre staff is not OK and will not be tolerated,’’ he said. ‘‘No matter what whacky theory you might think is real, you are not entitled to abuse our healthcare staff.’’
The Age reported the comments of Alison Lamb, a nurse unit manager at one vaccination hub: ‘‘We’ve seen people yelling, screaming, threatening us with violence, threatening to make complaints and escalate things when all we’re trying to do is the right thing by the department. Nobody expects to come to work and experience violence and aggression.’’
Before the weekend protests, the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard was moved to comment on police arresting store owners who refused to wear masks: ‘‘Most of the community understand the weapons we have in this war: QR codes, getting tested if you’ve been at a venue of concern or if you have symptoms … wearing masks.
‘‘When you’re in a war, you don’t win it with whacko views … Unfortunately, we’re seeing that with some people, who think it’s OK not to wear masks.’’
And these incidents are but the latest that have run the course of the pandemic.
Through the past 18 months in Melbourne, quiet, sensible Melbourne, the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers, have taken to the streets to protest at the lockdowns and the vaccinations. Sometimes they are a ragtag gathering, sometimes a lone assailant, but all are part of the army of the ignorant.
Lockdowns are a necessary public health measure, the vaccination is urged but not law. You could, in a twist of logic, learn to love these protesters and their ways but that would be to give them an inch of verisimilitude in what makes them tick. And what makes them tick is a strange dark cave of potions and fiery cauldrons of eye of newt, bats’ wings, mysterious scientists and big government.
A person of reason might allow those who have protested against vaccination, and well pretty much everything else, if not the benefit of the doubt, at least the right to voice it. As one woman shouted at one protest, “I will never stop fighting for my rights and my freedoms” and “COVID is a hoax, do you think your mask is protecting you?’’
But their views are not grounded in solid science or proven experience – all the boring bits of facts, data, truth.
Now of course they all, each and everyone of them has the right to believe what they like. Tis a pity they can’t keep it to themselves.
And with exhortations from politicians and health experts to please vaccinate we still read of those who feel it is their right to threaten those as if to do gives their loopy views credence and a right of reply.
The thing is that the protest is based on a nonsense. People are vigorously urged but not compelled by law to take the needle. So why protest at something that it is not? If nothing else it shows a consistency of message: don’t let the facts get in the way of a thumping ignorance.
However, this being a pandemic, one would expect people would see the benefits of being vaccinated against coronavirus.
The latest casualty count worldwide from COVID-19 is 4.1 million dead from 193 million cases. In Australia the toll is 915 deaths. This can be seen as a success, of sorts. Vaccination is the ultimate shield. How anyone can believe otherwise is foolishness mixed with selfishness.
But as with all conspirators, a lack of history is no obstacle to feverish hyperbole. Step forward, protester Jacquie: ‘This is the most abhorrent war in the history of mankind.’’
Let’s pause, and take that in. The. Most. Abhorrent. War. In. The. History. Of. Mankind. Where to begin? Let’s start with the Holocaust. Hello Adolf, and then work through every international and internal war and genocide’s part in it. Hello Josef. Hello Pol Pot.
Then came this: the pandemic is ‘‘non-existent. There is no medical, scientific or physical evidence.’’
In other words, it was a conspiracy – governments, big pharma, the mainstream media. Making money, making laws, making lies. All for what? To trample our damn rights to be whatever the hell we want to be. And if we want to be dead or transmit disease to others, that’s our right.
Give it a rest.