Editorials

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Enough of Big Brother

Sitting in my living room watching the news is usually a relaxing thing for me. I catch up with what's going on in the world, have a cup of coffee and relax for a few minutes before I start a hectic day. Today, however, has proven to be kind of irritating. I'm watching as thousands of parents in Prince George's County, MD are being forced to comply with a new school district policy that requires immunization. Luckily they do offer the option of signing a waiver to NOT immunize, but are being forced to either vaccinate or sign a waiver. They have no choice, they must comply or face fines of up to $50 a day and 10 days in jail. If this isn't a scene of Orwellian proportion, I don't know what is.

The Government seems to want to butt into everything in our every day lives. What to eat, what medicines to take, what's safe, what's not safe, what we can own, what we can do. Every day I hear of something else that the Government wants to regulate, ad nauseum, but this one takes the cake.

They tell us when to immunize, they tell us its safe, then its not safe, then, wait, we're not sure if it's safe. We're investigating. We're researching. Hrm. I don't know about you, but I don't like being told what to do, when to do it, how to do it, why to do it, etc. etc., particularly by people who don't seem to have a bloody idea of what they're doing.

I certainly hope that the residents of Prince George's County, MD who have children with autism opt to go to jail. I know I would. It's not that I believe mercury causes autism. It's that I'm not sure, I suspect that maybe it! does, and I'm not willing to take that chance. I don't trust wh at they say, and when it comes to my children, I'd rather err on the side of caution. And who, exactly, is the Government, to tell us that we have to?

Unless Circuit Court Judge Philip Nichols (who, incidentally, is lecturing parents on the necessity of vaccinations) spent time in the labor room giving birth to your child, he has no say in whether you choose to immunize. Who is HE, or anyone else for that matter, to tell you how to raise your child?

I received a letter from my our school district just the other day telling me that I have to prove that my sons have been to the dentist, by state law. I politely wrote on the form that it's none of their business. It's not that they haven't been to the dentist. They have. Several times. It's the audacity of the State to require me to prove that I've been a good little parent that gets my goat. Who are YOU to ask? Who are YOU to tell me what t! o do with my child?

And something as important as immunization? I hope those of you in Prince George's County, MD stand up for your rights. I hope you tell them to buzz off and stop impeding our rights to make decisions as parents. I wish I were there to help you tell Big Brother to go find something else to do. I have a few suggestions:

  • #1 -- Make sure the districts are following Federal IDEA laws.
  • #2 -- Find out what's causing autism.
  • #3 -- Stop spending $500 for hammers.

    I could go on, but my political beliefs are not of interest to you, I'm sure. Big Brother needs to go find someone else to pick on, because I think they bit off more than they can chew with parents of children with autism. We're not very nice when we're angry.

    Cindy Waeltermann
    Director, AutismLink



    Responses:

    Good for you Cindy! I thought you would enjoy the letter I sent, and the reply I got! I’m tired of it too! I was accused of child abuse because I chose the “Biomedical Approach” as one of my son’s treatments, so I have been screaming the “It’s my choice, it’s my son” line for a year now!


    This was by far one of the best editorials yet! Thank you for this wonderful read on a Saturday afternoon. Also, I called the Gov. of Maryland and a woman answered and was very nice. She too has a child with autism that she claims was injured by vaccines. Told me she agreed but the Gov has no statement on this YET...Of course, I encouraged her to share her story as well with him and she wholeheartidly agreed to inform him of my call. She was very nice and she and Ilaughed as the phones were ringing off the hook and she had to put me on hold four times ormore...thanks to lenny shafer's autism report. I also called that ivey guy and oneof his staffers called me back ( i was sure to leave a very long message to tie up their machine! HA!) He was nice at first until we disagreed. I told him pretty similar things that you wrote...He said when these parents enrolled their kids they signed a form stating they would vaccinate in order to enroll their kids. I said..so then, knowing this, you should put the school district personnel in jail for threatening to deny a public education to american children if their parents make informed medical decisions... Wouldn't you agree cindy that ...forcing people to sign a paper stating you will immunize or else your child will not be able to participate in public ed is breaking the law??? This just angers me incredibly...I hope tooo they go to jail...too bad we didn't know ahead of time and some agency could pay for a bus for all of us, and our kids, to take a trip to maryland to be in the court room...can you imagine a courtroom will all of us and our kids?? Do you have connections with a charter bus company???? I think we need to become vigilanteesss.....!!!! I am so sick of this govt mandating our lives....


    Editorial Counterpoint

    Most times I find myself nodding in agreement while reading one of Cindy Waeltermann’s AutismLink editorials. Was I nodding this time? Not so much. My disagreement with the editorial does not make me a proponent of vaccinating children. It only indicates disagreement with Cindy’s views in her editorial.

    The first point of contention in her editorial was forcing families to sign a waiver or paying a $50 fine or 10 days jail time. I find nothing wrong with making families accountable for their children’s medical health. The school district is not saying vaccinate or we will arrest you. They are saying that sometime between birth and mandatory school age, take personal responsibility for your child and make a decision. They are not, however, telling parents what decision to make.

    This situation does not strike me as Orwellian. It is a reasonable response to possibly thousands (tens of thousands nationwide) of children entering the public school system not having been vaccinated. The reality is that, while vaccinations or the combination of multiple serums may cause autism, but the diseases they vaccinate against can kill children. My personal belief is that dead is not better than autism.

    When my son was vaccinated, I asked the doctor lots of questions. Probably more questions than he expected or wanted. He was honest in his answers and explained that there are risks to vaccination. I understood this. (Years ago my doctor discovered that I am sensitive to the medium they use on TB tine tests. Every single test will show that I am positive for tuberculosis. When testing is necessary, they inject me because that serum is different and the test is always negative.) The doctor explained that the vaccination itself could have caused a high enough fever to kill him. While I did not like the risk, it led to a discussion about the pros and cons of vaccination. He provided me with the information I needed to make the decision for my child.

    Now onto Big brother…The government is not bad or evil. I think that while oftentimes they move either too slowly or too quickly, we are fortunate to have some government control and oversight over medications, food safety, and sanitation. While the FDA is not always perfect (Vioxx is an example), medications are safer due to clinical trials. While we have had meat, peanut butter, and spinach recalls during the past year, our food supply is one of the safest in the world. E. coli has been held at bay and, unlike England and many European countries, we are still able to sell beef on the bone and we have not experienced the devastation of Mad Cow Disease. I, for one, am happy that someone is watching over the food that is being sold to me. I remember all too well the national outrage and anger just months ago over the poisoned pet foods. There was a great hue and outcry for more intervention of the US government to make sure components of pet foods were safer for our four legged family members.

    This all circles back to accountability. The government wants to hold people responsible for the foods they grow and sell, medications they make. The school wants to make sure that children have had their vaccinations to prevent outbreaks of serious childhood illnesses that have killed countless children throughout history. It is their right to know if children are at risk of serious diseases while in their care during the school day.

    As for the dentist, most districts have access to one dental hygienist. Their goal is not to chastise parents for not taking their children to the dentist. Schools want to make sure all children have access to dental health professionals. By writing back, “It is none of your business,” this most likely ensured a dental examination for both of the Waeltermann children – taking time away from the hygienist to see children with no dental insurance.

    While it was obvious that Cindy’s goat was definitely gotten, I say there is nothing wrong with schools saying, “PROVE IT!” In real life my employer could insist on a drug test tomorrow, my bank requires photo identification, and the bank wants collateral if I ask for a loan. I find nothing amiss with schools wanting to ensure that children have access to minimal dental care or insist families take responsibility for their choice to vaccinate or not vaccinate their children.

    Karen Woodings