I'll admit it. I’m angry at anti-vaxxers and anti maskers. They are messing up our lives and plans. Yet only their anger is covered by the media? We get stories about how our officials are "frustrated" and "saddened" by their failure to get vaccinated. Where are the stories of our anger toward these "vaccine deniers and right wing loonies"?
What is bizarre to me is that the Anti-maskers are the ones showing rage. What are THEY so angry about? We are the ones whose lives they are f***ing up.
I'm having a hard time finding stories of successful prosecutions of these anti-vaxers who threaten violence against others.
— Spocko (@spockosbrain) September 8, 2021
I don't want to be like the right wing, screaming and threatening those who aren't wearing masks or getting a vaccine. And I don’t want to inappropriately use the law like they have been doing with their Texas abortion ban. But I'm pissed and I want people punished for the harm they are causing.
What can I do to satisfy my need for an emotional catharsis without becoming a screaming banshee?
I've been watching Unforgotten, a British murder mystery show about police solving crimes that happened 40, 30 or 20 years ago. It's excellent.
In the UK they call these cases historic crimes. Because they happened so long ago sometimes the person who committed the crime is dead. An arrest can't deter a dead person.
While the detectives try to solve the crimes, we see the stories of the pain the victims' family have suffered over the years. We learn all the ways people were damaged and when it comes time for justice, the detective asks the question: "What helps the families now?"
The lead, played by Nicola Walker, wants to solve the case. But unlike other murder mystery shows, she doesn't talk about finding out who did it for "closure." She wants to punish the people who did the crime.
Does punishment of the killers help the families now?
On the Majority Report a few weeks ago Emma Vigeland and Matt Lech were talking about enforcement and punishment of those breaking public health laws. Matt said we should avoid going after individuals who didn't get vaccinated who then infected someone in your family.
I listened to this and noted the difference between "punching down" at individuals and "punching up" at those whose intentional actions have led to infections of large groups of people.
On another episode of Majority Report I called in to discuss enforcement and punishment when Brandon Sutton made an excellent point. He pointed out how historically law enforcement in America it is often unequally applied. POC are incarcerated. Rich white people aren't.
Also, incarceration during a pandemic is a bad idea. But that's not the only way to enforce the law.
For example, citing and arresting suppliers of fake or stolen vaccine cards and individuals who buy and use them is a good thing to do. Both of these types of stories need to be publicized.
Even Fox "News" ran the stories of arrests of fake vaccination cards being supplied and used by individuals because breaking the law has consequences. Showing the arrests to the target audience can act as a deterrent. But arrests only happen if the laws are enforced. No one is arrested for failing to follow a recommendation.
I think that the federal government should spend resources NOW to arrest people for violating public health laws.
Why Enforce Public Health Laws?
My logical Vulcan side thinks enforcing public health laws will deter others from breaking them.
I think publicizing the charging and sentencing of people who break public health laws helps prevent future deaths.
Most people change their behavior when they see and/or experience personally the negative consequences to breaking the law
My human side hopes that enforcing public health laws will scare people into not breaking the law. Fear should act as a deterrent, because most people fear being arrested.
I want to hear them cry about how they learned their lesson and wish they wore a mask or got vaccinated. I believe that most people would get the point from watching that and get vaccinated.
But I'll admit my human side also wants people who intentionally broke laws to feel pain similar to the pain and suffering they caused others. As user Crathsor said on Reddit about Americans, "We don't care about justice nearly as much as we care about retribution."
Yep. There it is. I realize that I want others to be afraid, to feel pain, to suffer & be punished for their lawbreaking. I'm hoping that the fear, pain, suffering and punishment will act as a deterrent and a motivator.
I need to acknowledge I want people punished for intentionally acting in ways that harmed others and broke the law doing it. But since I don't want to end up like them, using anger to satisfies a desire for retribution, I tried to figure out how to not fall into gleeful retribution.
To do that I'm doing these four things.
- Ensure that the punishment fits the crime (Don't send people to jail during a pandemic!)
- Work to get the laws applied equally with a focus on intentional violators and high level abusers
- Push for appropriate next steps after enforcement
- Focus on enforcement of intentional actions that have led to infections on large groups of people
I feel anger when there are no consequences for people intentionally harming others. I always endeavor to help the families first, but seeing appropriate consequences for the people breaking public health laws helps me by giving me some sense of peace. What is the chant? No justice, no peace? So let's be specific:
An example of me seeking consequences for those breaking public health laws is my push to prosecute Trump and those in his campaign who intentionally helped spread COVID during their rallies.
Trump's rally in Tulsa happened in June of 2020. In today's news cycle that's an historic crime.
It led to pain and suffering for Oklahoma families and 100's of thousands of others. If you want to see the individuals who suffered and died from COVID in Oklahoma read this great series, Oklahomans' We've Lost from Frontier.
The people in Trump's campaign who committed those violations of public health laws in Tulsa are still alive. Would an arrest now act as a deterrent to others? Would it stop future superspreader rallies? I hope so.
On August 21, 2021 President Donald Trump held the largest political rally in Alabama history. The U.S. Secret Service estimated the crowd at 45,000 people, according to Deputy Chad Whaley of the Cullman County sheriff’s office.
As of September 9th 2021 an average of 83 cases per day were reported in Cullman County, a 61 percent increase from the average two weeks ago. New York Times COVID tracking Alabama Since the beginning of the pandemic, at least 1 in 6 residents have been infected, a total of 13,118 reported cases. Right now, Cullman County is at an extremely high risk for unvaccinated people.
Here's Trump talking about Biden reimposing about mask mandates on the American people. The crowd boos.
While the detectives in Unforgotten were trying to solve an old crime we saw the pain the victims' family suffered over the years. It showed how people were damaged by the perpetrators of the crime. The lead detective acknowledged her desire for punishment, and asked the question: "What helps the families now?"
We on the left need to push to enforce public health laws.
Especially in cases of people whose actions have a big impact on large numbers of people. The government didn't pursue these lawbreakers in the past, so people knew there would be no consequences.
The cases need to be big. The arrests publicized. That acts as an early deterrent. The prosecutor needs to show the intentions of the lawbreakers clearly and the harm that was done. Legal cases take a long time to play out and when they are completed successfully the results need to be promoted, big time.
This is about sending a message to people breaking public health laws right now. If you break the law you will be in the Federal Government's crosshairs. You will be arrested and tried. If you are found guilty, you will be punished.
Would these cases make me feel better when there are consequences for people who intentionally harmed others? Yes! I'll admit it. It's not just about me, but when I take actions I look for ways to focus my anger constructively. I ask myself these four questions:
"What is my goal?"
To prevent future deaths.
"Who do I want to punish?"
Intentional violators, especially those whose actions impact large numbers of people
"Who do I want to help?"
The families of those who suffered. Innocents who might suffer in the future.
"What can I do now?"
Encourage the enforcement of public health laws.