Vaccines

Immune Compromised Woman Dies of Measles: Are the Unvaccinated Legally Responsible?

Measles outbreak kills woman in Washington State.

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MeaslesBaby
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A Washington State woman was the first person to die of measles in the United States since 2003. Unfortunately, she was one of an estimated 10 million Americans whose immune systems are incompetent at fighting off some infectious diseases. The immunocompromised include those who are being treated with chemotherapy for cancer, taking medications for chronic illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, have received organ transplants, or suffer from HIV/AIDS. Since immunocompromised individuals sometimes do not develop the rash characteristic of the viral disease, her infection was not detected until after her death. The dead woman had apparently been vaccinated against measles, but her immune system was suppressed by medications she was taking for other illnesses.

The woman was a resident of Clallam County in which five cases of measles were reported earlier in the year. The county health department issued a bulletin noting that four of the cases had occurred among individuals who were not vaccinated, and the fifth case occurred in a person who had received one dose of an early less effective version the vaccine in the 1970s. The dead woman was apparently in a medical facility at the same time as one of the infected people, but before that individual had developed the telltale rash.

Both the dead woman and the person vaccinated in the 1970s had taken the responsibility to try to protect themselves and others from the disease. It should be fairly easy to identify the measles carrier(s) who crossed paths with both, especially the dead woman who evidently acquired her infection at a local health clinic. What legal responsibility should the unvaccinated individuals (or more likely their parents who refused inoculation) bear in these cases?

As background, consider this information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

In the decade before the live measles vaccine was licensed in 1963, an average of 549,000 measles cases and 495 measles deaths were reported annually in the United States. However, it is likely that, on average, 3 to 4 million people were infected with measles annually; most cases were not reported. Of the reported cases, approximately 48,000 people were hospitalized from measles and 1,000 people developed chronic disability from acute encephalitis caused by measles annually.

See also Reason's debate, "Should Vaccines Be Mandatory?"

On Friday at 2:30 p.m. at FreedomFest in Las Vegas, I will be debating Dr. Bob Sears on the question: Should Vaccines Be Mandatory? Join us.

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  1. Are open borders people responsible for children who come down sick with third world diseases?

    1. Yeah, I have a feeling not all of the “unvaccinated” are brainless autism-fearing celebrities, and Reason might not like where demonizing the filthy “unvaccinated” leads.

      1. a: You might want to check out this reporting on immunization rates south of the border.

        1. Ron – YOU inserted the “South of the border” argument. Brochettaward and I believe that there may be more of the “third world” than just Central America. Do you have WHO stats for the rest of the “third world” handy?

          CB

          1. CB: The article to which I link has information on immunization rates in a number of different countries around the world.

            1. Ron – From the article:

              “The measles outbreak in the U.S., which includes most of the 102 cases in 14 states between Jan. 1 and Jan. 30 this year, likely did originate from outside this country. ”

              Now. Exactly how would requiring everyone in the U.S. (who can be vaccinated) have prevented the introduction to the U.S. of live measles virus? It wouldn’t have. So the dead woman might STILL have encountered the virus, and died from it.

              CB

        2. I followed a couple of the links. I found the CDC denials that last year’s unprecedented enterovirus outbreak was unconnected to last year’s unprecedented influx on illegal immigrant children to be . . . incomplete.

          They just kinda shrug their shoulders on the critical and basic epidemiology question: where did that unprecedented outbreak come from? Why did it happen?

          Saying that the particular strain existed in the US before the outbreak and influx of illegals doesn’t answer the question of why? Now, correlation is not causation, but it is certainly suggestive of productive lines of inquiry, which I don’t know that the CDC every pursued, for obvious political reasons.

        3. Fair enough, although South/Central America is hardly the only source of unvaccinated visitors to the US.

          1. And measles isn’t the only contagious disease, either. There’s also been some questions about the origins of outbreaks of tuberculosis, chicken pox, etc.

            So the question still stands, even if you eliminate this specific instance. Are immigration advocates responsible for harms (which I think could reasonably be extended to criminal activities, public service expenses, etc.) caused by immigrants?

        4. The statistic relevant here would be the immunization rate of those who cross the border South to North.

    2. Other than diehard anarchists, no one advocating open borders says we have to be idiots. We can still check for immunization records as people come in, just like we currently do for legal immigrants and visitors.

      It will even be safer with open borders, as it’s much easier to check people the people coming in through the front door than the people sneaking in through the bedroom window.

      1. This. You already have to present immunization paperwork to immigrate legally. It’s the illegal aliens who don’t. Legalize immigration and this stops being a problem.

        1. How? You have a guy X, who doesn’t have immunization record. He can’t legally migrate to US. He migrates illegally. Problem is still here.

          You have a guy Y who has immunization record. He can’t currently legally migrate to US. He migrates illegally. He never was a problem in first place.

          1. Are you saying that it is easier to travel from your home country to a US border and sneak in than it is to get vaccinated?

            1. Well this hypothetical guy didn’t get vaccinated for some reason over a period of 20 or so years. So yeah, I’m guessing it’s not just that he couldn’t be arsed to do it. If he’s a kind of guy who will go through with risky (although not hugely) and expensive (but not budget-breaking) process because it will benefit him in the end, presumably he’d get it done for his own benefit.

              Though I admit, could be that there’s some kind of macho culture that says vaccines are for pussies, but if it’s the requirement to placate stupid gringos to let you in, you might submit to it. So yeah, that situation might work – although it’s as likely to lead the guy to forge the documentation of immunization, putting your back at square one.

              1. Or maybe he didn’t have access to a clinic with all the needed vaccines. Or maybe he isn’t educated and doesn’t know the benefit.

                Easy solution:

                “Sir, you need to be vaccinated before entering the country. There is a clinic down the hall. It’s an extra $25.”

                1. When I got my Green Card, I went through the interview step in London. I didn’t have the full set of vaccinations, so I had to go to the *one* officially approved doctor to get x-rayed and jabbed to see if I had TB. Guess how cheap the government approved doctor with no competitors was…

                  The fact that I’d been living in NC for the previous ten years didn’t make much of a difference. Maybe the theory was that I might have picked it up at some Goth night.

          2. “He migrates illegally. Problem is still here.”

            Ah, but migrating illegally is risky or expensive and usually both. Whereas, if he goes back and gets the immunization that’s probably a smaller risk and a smaller expense.

            We’ll still get illegals; nothing is going to stop it completely. But if we made it easier to immigrate legally, we would get a lot fewer of them. And they would get less sympathy from their cultural fellows, and thus be easier to find.

            At that point, we could start to repatriate the illegals we found who didn’t have immunizations with somewhat more firmness. And punish those who put our population at risk somewhat more firmly.

      2. We can still check for immunization records as people come in, just like we currently do for legal immigrants and visitors.

        Absolutely.

        The problem is that our current administration is not doing that, at all, for tens of thousand of immigrants. Instead, it is shipping them, with zero information as far as I know about their vaccinations, etc., all over the country and sprinkling them amongst the population. You could hardly do more to invite an outbreak of infectious disease.

        1. Our current administration is a weird combination of brain dead convictions and bumbling incompetence. They really shouldn’t be in charge of a dog shelter, much less the nation.

          1. They can run community organisation really well. They create havoc and fear whilst doing so, but that is what community activist organisations are for. So, they do it well.

      3. I’m a diehard anarchist opposed to “open borders” as we would have them in a statist society like our own. In the same way I think roads need to have rules, even though we deal with the unfortunate circumstance that the procurement, safety enforcement and upkeep of those roads are almost entirely monopolized by the government.

        If you have open boarders AND non-discrimination laws, that is forced association. No one has a natural right to immigrate to anywhere, however everyone has a natural right to emigrate from anywhere. A right to immigrate is positive “liberty”.

        1. Seconded. I’m an anarchist, and I don’t recall seeing any memos about having property rights unless the violator has an accent and/or is less well-off.

        2. “If you have open boarders …” I see what you did there, Free. Nicely done

      4. I’m a diehard anarchist, and I’m OK with it. It’s a service that I hope would be employed in a decentralized way in my anarchic utopia, but so long as the state will claim this prerogative, it should follow sensible policies.

        Just as, so long as there are public schools, they may as well follow a sensible teaching plan of _______.

      5. Other than diehard anarchists, no one advocating open borders says we have to be idiots. We can still check for immunization records as people come in

        To a libertarian, the question of “open borders” just means that the state should not interfere with freedom of association across arbitrarily drawn national boundaries. That doesn’t meany anybody can migrate from anywhere to anywhere on a whim. Whether you can “immigrate” into a country depends on whether the private property owners allow you on their private property: their roads, their schools, their shopping malls, whatever, and whether you can actually survive and make a living where you migrate.

        In a libertarian society, there would be no government mandated vaccination requirements, there would be no government limits on immigration, yet there would likely be less migration and better vaccination rates.

        You’re making the typical statist errors in your reasoning: you assume that because people oppose government mandates to do X, they oppose X itself; you assume that without government mandates to do X, fewer people would to X; and you reason about policies as if you could consider mandating X in isolation, keeping everything else the same. None of those assumptions are usually valid, and until you understand that, there is no reasonable discussion possible with you.

        1. You’re making the typical statist errors in your reasoning: you assume that because people oppose government mandates to do X, they oppose X itself; you assume that without government mandates to do X, fewer people would to X; and you reason about policies as if you could consider mandating X in isolation, keeping everything else the same. None of those assumptions are usually valid, and until you understand that, there is no reasonable discussion possible with you.

          First problem, you need to look up the definition of “statist” before you go throwing it around at everyone who disagrees with you.

          Second problem, the existence of the state is the current reality, with nothing short of a civilization destroying catastrophe changing that. So we have to learn how to live with government. The reality is we have borders and any political proposal that does not take that reality into account is stupid. You can say “in a libertarian society” all you want, but we DO NOT LIVE IN A LIBERTARIAN SOCIETY! Stop confusing realists with statists!

          Given that we have a state and state borders and state schools and state roadz, etc., should be check the immunization records of immigrants? The answer is an affirmative YES! Pouting that there shouldn’t even be borders is not answering the question.

          1. First problem, you need to look up the definition of “statist” before you go throwing it around at everyone who disagrees with you.

            Do you support the existence of a state?

          2. You can say “in a libertarian society” all you want, but we DO NOT LIVE IN A LIBERTARIAN SOCIETY! Stop confusing realists with statists!

            I’m not “confusing” anything. You made a point about anarchists and what they want. That means you weren’t making a statement about real-world compromises, you were making a point about political principle. Therefore I analyzed your comment from the point of view of libertarianism, and according to your comment you are a confused statist.

            Second problem, the existence of the state is the current reality, with nothing short of a civilization destroying catastrophe changing that. So we have to learn how to live with government.

            The existence of a state can be in name only. In fact, the majority of Americans already hold libertarian views, and gradually scaling back government to the point where it is close to a libertarian ideal is not hard.

            Making the state irrelevant can be done simply by reducing the number of laws we pass and cutting government spending. As society and technology develops, laws simply become obsolete and irrelevant, and if they are not replaced by new laws, free market solutions take over.

        2. You’re making the typical statist errors in your reasoning: you assume that because people oppose government mandates to do X, they oppose X itself; you assume that without government mandates to do X, fewer people would to X; and you reason about policies as if you could consider mandating X in isolation, keeping everything else the same. None of those assumptions are usually valid, and until you understand that, there is no reasonable discussion possible with you.

          Or, as Bastiat says in The Law:

          Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

    3. of course the people advocating open borders are responsible especially democratic policy makers.

      As well as allowing dangerous criminals to re-enter and remain in the country to rape and murder.

      As well as taking the money they earn here and pay no taxes then send it to mexico so that there is a huge net loss of money for businesses and tax revenue which citizens have to make up

      The public school system must educate the children of illegals who do not speak English at tremendous difficulty and cost
      http://www.thenewamerican.com/…..60-million

      not to mention surpressed wages and lost jobs for american workers
      wonder why so few american teens are working? their low end jobs (landscaping construction, fast food restaurant and hotels etc… are being done by illegals

      So yes there are real costs of illegal immigration including that they have revived a whole host of diseases that American medicine all but eradicated decades ago.
      I know this because a family member of mine works in infection control and she has seen an enourmous increase in these diseases due to the illegal immigrant population here in Atlanta.

    4. Yes. And the penalty should be death by eating bad Mexican food.

      What about the parents who had children with compromised immune systems? Should we be sterilizing such people so they don’t have sickly babies that grow up to be sickly adults who can die of measles? More – perhaps a program that only allows the fittest and brightest to have children?

  2. “Immune Compromised Woman Dies of Measles: Are the Unvaccinated Legally Responsible?”
    No.
    That was easy.

    1. ^This.

    2. Yeah, that pretty much covers it. The term “slippery slope” was pretty much invented for something like this.

    3. Yes. They knowingly put others at risk. Depraved indifference.

      1. I cannot beget that the normal course of human existence is criminal. The invention of technology, such as vaccination, cannot make acts that were once legal into crimes. Furthermore, an unvaccinated but uninfected individual made no contribution to the death of this woman or to the spread of the disease. You can’t spread a disease you don’t even have.

        1. Exactly. Something can’t be an ethical principle if it’s not “universalizable”, i.e. applicable to virtually all times and places.

        2. The invention of technology, such as vaccination, cannot make acts that were once legal into crimes

          That’s not the point. The point is that we now know spewing viruses about can hurt other people as much as spraying bullets around. If we are obligated to ensure that we are careful with our bullets, why aren’t we obligated to ensure that we are careful with our viruses?

          1. Bullets result from your agency. Viruses are agents of nature. Your analogy doesn’t stand up to even rudimentary scrutiny.

            1. What about someone who has HIV and has sex with someone else without telling them they are infected and does not use a condom? Should that be a crime?

              What about the parent of a child who is showing symptoms of measles or whooping cough, knows the child is not immunized, but sends the child to school anyway? This happened last year and the year before at my sons’ school. YES, they are endangering others and the depraved indifference should be a crime.

              1. The overwhelming majority of people have already passed on viruses to others before symptoms have even exhibited themselves (in fact, many times symptoms are a sign that the disease is already being dealt with by the body and on its way out)

                HIV being a different matter since it is a long term persistent disease. One that most know they have and have had ample time to make considerations for. Most people with measles don’t even know they have it and are contagious until after they have touched hundreds of people. That does not come anywhere near criminality nor depraved indifference.

              2. What about someone who has HIV and has sex with someone else without telling them they are infected and does not use a condom? Should that be a crime?

                If the offending party KNOWS they have HIV and that they can spread it to others, yes that’s a real crime.

                What about the parent of a child who is showing symptoms of measles or whooping cough, knows the child is not immunized, but sends the child to school anyway?

                That could be considered negligence or some form of mea culpa.

                YES, they are endangering others and the depraved indifference should be a crime.

                Again that’s not the issue here. Simply being an unvaccinated person is not the same thing as knowingly being a carrier of some infectious disease and then through “depraved indifference”, negligence or malicious intent you spread that disease to others.

          2. That’s not the point.

            So? You can’t throw people into jail for the mere fact of existing. Unless you can show intent to spread the virus around, the virus is an independent agent of nature, not a weapon maliciously wielded.

    4. Yes. See? Easy!

      Some people can’t be vaccinated. Some people are too young to be vaccinated. Some people are religions that say they can’t be vaccinated. But without the herd immunity the lack of vaccination leads to death. Depending on the disease, 90% to 98% of the population needs to be immunized. When you deliberately refuse vaccinations you are reducing the threshold.

      Contrary to to the frothing Rothbardians, you actions AFFECT other people. The NAP does not provide an exception for reckless endangerment. You cannot shoot your gun into the air in a crowded city, even though you aren’t aiming it directly at anyone. In the same way, you cannot refuse vaccinate your children and then expose them to other children.

      That doesn’t mean the government has to be intimately involved in your medical decisions, but it does mean that Anarcho-Capitalism is not synonymous with anything-goes nihilism.

      1. That doesn’t mean the government has to be intimately involved in your medical decisions

        That’s exactly what it means, otherwise you have no mechanism for redress.

        1. That’s exactly what it means, otherwise you have no mechanism for redress.

          Without the government, who would interfere with your right to self-ownership?

          1. Slave traders?

            1. I said government didn’t I?

      2. Does NAP prevent pregnant women from drinking so as not to endanger the fetus? It’s not a crime right now (at least in Canada) but FAS seems to be a real thing. Even if you don’t allow that fetus is a person, is giving birth to FAS child equivalent to passing measles to a healthy child? Difference being, measles (vast majority of the time) go away, FAS is for life.

        I don’t have a problem with mandated vaccinations, but I’m a bad libertarian in some respects. However, body autonomy argument is pretty strong, and I don’t think I have a good response. “May affect other people” doesn’t count, so yeah, maybe tort law. Just like you can drink, and you should be able to drink and drive, but if you cause an accident, you are responsible.

        1. Just like you can drink, and you should be able to drink and drive, but if you cause an accident, you are responsible.

          It’s easy* to prove causality in an automobile collision. It’s much more difficult to prove causality in the spread of disease. Or more accurately, it’s very easy to prove causality (the disease spread because that is its purpose), but that doesn’t leave any person as the responsible party (diseases are agents, albeit not moral ones).

          * relatively speaking, anyway

          1. The wrinkle becomes, what if I find the person who gave me the measles? Are they sharing in responsibility? Ultimately responsible? Or is it all on me (I could have stopped it 99% or whatever chance if I was vaccinated)?

            1. Given your premise (which I would say is quite difficult to establish in practice), was it malicious? I doubt mens rea could be established. Seems like a tortuous act, though.

      3. In the same way, you cannot refuse vaccinate your children and then expose them to other children.

        Whether I can or cannot do that should be my decision and the decision of the parents of those other children, based on freedom of association and private property.

        The reason this is an issue is because people are forced to pay for public schools and roads through the political process and then are necessarily forced to live by rules again determined through the political process. And both the creation of those public properties and the rules are heavily driven by political lobbying, rent seeking, and fear mongering. To wit…

        But without the herd immunity the lack of vaccination leads to death.

        Bullshit. Measles are a pretty benign disease.

        but it does mean that Anarcho-Capitalism is not synonymous with anything-goes nihilism.

        Of course it is not. Under libertarian forms of government, vaccination rates would likely be higher and vaccine requirements stricter than under the kind of government and government mandates we have. People who object to government imposition of vaccination requirements to object to vaccinations, we object to the government mandates, as both dangerous and ineffective.

        1. Whether I can or cannot do that should be my decision and the decision of the parents of those other children, based on freedom of association and private property.

          Which does not describe public schools. Go ahead and don’t vaccinate your children, just keep your typhoid Marys OUT OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS!

          1. just keep your typhoid Marys kids OUT OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS!

            FIFY

          2. Keep your public schools OUT OF THE EDUCATION MARKET!

          3. Sweet, GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK!

        2. Maybe not a death sentence, but hardly a benign disease…

          “Complications occur in about 30% and may include diarrhea, blindness, inflammation of the brain, and pneumonia among others.”

          “It resulted in about 96,000 deaths in 2013, down from 545,000 deaths in 1990.”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measles

          1. Not only that but also measles resets the immune system so you’re no longer immune to diseases you’ve had and developed immunity to in the past.

          2. “It resulted in about 96,000 deaths in 2013, down from 545,000 deaths in 1990.”

            Those are deaths in developing countries, with poor nutrition, poor hygiene, widespread chronic infections, and poor medical care. In the US, the death rate (and likely the rate of complications) from measles is probably no higher than the typical flu.

            As I have said before, I think measles vaccinations are rational and reasonable, and everybody should get them. Furthermore, I think every private property owner should be free to ban people from their property for any reason they choose. In fact, I suspect that if we had a mostly private school system, the vaccination debate would simply be over, since almost all schools would just make vaccinations a mandatory condition of attendance.

            But when government tries to mandate or force people to undergo medical procedures, we cross a line we shouldn’t cross.

      4. SOOO many wrong assumptions underlying your argument.

        First, measles is only potentially lethal to persons who are already fragile and susceptible to any opportunistic infection. Measles in an otherwise normally healthy individual never was a death sentence.

        Second, herd immunity doesn’t at all mean what you think it means. Way too long to explain here, so read Flawed Science of Herd Immunity. Herd immunity does truly occur in populations that had the disease. That idea was adopted wholesale and applied to vax with no testing, proof, or even questioning that it happens.

        Third, shooting a gun is in no way analogous to spreading measles. An unvaxxed person may or may not ever be exposed to measles, so the mere state of being unvaxxed is not shooting the virus around; and vaxxed people can spread it too since (1) the vax is never 100% effective and (2) a vaxxed person sheds for weeks, potentially infecting everyone around.

        Fourth, how can this happen without the govt being intimately involved in medical decisions? Those who make the choice not to vax must be found by the govt and then coerced by the govt with threat of force to override their personal medical decision. What part of that does not involve the govt being intimately involved in medical decisions?

        1. I’d probably trust Suzanne Humphries on vaccines and immunity about as much as I would Mercola to cure cancers naturally.

      5. 1. Germs aren’t bullets. Firing a gun involves agency and foreseeable consequences. Not getting vaccinated is not an analogous situation, but…

        2. …if it were, then you couldn’t make exceptions for religious objection unless you’re saying that there are religious exemptions for murder.

        A more appropriate analogy would be the following: well-lit streets tend to deter crime, therefore if someone breaks into a house everyone who doesn’t have a porch light on is responsible. This is, of course, patently ridiculous. Not only can you not establish any kind of direct culpability, but how do you determine the light density needed to avoid culpability? Which lucky residents get to skate by with a dark porch, or is even one dim front stoop one too many? What about people who live in the country? How close do houses need to be for the light to be effective?

        If I deliberately contract ebola and then run into a crowd of people flinging bodily fluids wildly, then you’ve probably got a case. Otherwise, you cannot–and I mean cannot–establish the kind of direct connection necessary for anything like legal, let alone moral, culpability.

        The “frothing Rothbardians” might actually be on to something, here. At any rate, they’re not the ones claiming that I should be held responsible if my neighbor’s house is struck by lightning and I haven’t installed a lightning rod.

        1. Good analogies all around. Especially the “well-lit streets” analogy. I’ll try to remember that one for the next time Ron Bailey writes another article like this as if he hasn’t already been handily refuted by dozens of lowly commentors every other time he wrote this article.

    5. legally – no because it is too hard to prove
      morally- absolutely it is societal negligence not to immunize.

      guess who is the largest group of people who aren’t immunized?
      illegal immigrants!

      not only do they cause all sorts of problems from crime to the loss of low level jobs for young workers to education they also bring previously defeated diseases back into the country

      this is just one of the reasons that we cannot have “open borders”.
      Open borders sounds nice until you actually see it in practice

    6. Why isn’t the MMR vaccine maker held liable for a product that doesn’t work as advertised?

  3. On Friday at 2:30 p.m. at FreedomFest in Las Vegas, I will be debating Dr. Bob Sears on the question: Should Vaccines Steamed Broccoli and Healthy Exercise in the Fresh Air Be Mandatory? Join us.

    1. How do we mandate soap?

    2. HoD: Your lack of broccoli ingestion and sluggard behavior does not threaten to infect others with potentially deadly microbes.

      1. NO SPOILERS, RON.

        If the standard is controlling the life and body of another person because it might potentially affect you, then it’d be silly to stop at vaccination. Either my body belongs to me, or it belongs to the collective.

        1. HoD: As people are required to prevent noxious vapors and liquids emanating from their property from harming their neighbors, don’t they have a similar responsibility to control their own noxious microbes. Other people own their bodies, too.

          1. So why don’t the other people take the steps necessary to prevent themselves from getting infected? I understand that some people can’t get vaccinated, but they could choose not to associate themselves with or around people who are unvaccinated.

            1. Not so much in hospitals.

            2. R: So immunocompromised people should just stay out of any public spaces (as in this case a health clinic) and forbid people who do venture out from ever visiting them in their homes?

              1. Is a market solution inconceivable to you?

                If enough people made it* a priority, don’t you think more establishments would require current and up to date vaccinations before being admitted to the property?

                *It being wanting to associate only with other, properly vaccinated people.

                Why should someone else’s immunocompromisation necessitate my being vaccinated? Diseases are harmful, yes, and they are communicable. If you’re that worried about catching a communicable disease, take some measures for your own life before you force some measures on me.

                  1. Shaming and shunning I’m down with–that’s a fine market solution.

                    Mandating vaccinations with the threat of violence, not so much.

              2. Ron-
                My wife who was born with CVID, already has to wear an N-95 or better (p-100) respiratory mask when in public spaces. Beyond that we have to constantly practice rigorous body-substance isolation protocols (bsi.) She is incapable of producing antibodies, which means immunizations are worthless in her case and in some cases deadly, such as varicella, which is a live virus that would likely cause her to contract chickenpox. Since CVID is typically diagnosed in the late 20’s, all mandated children who have CVID (only about 1 out of 20k-50k) would be at serious risk. Though the numbers are small, it would bring little comfort to the families forced to make their child perilously ill by a mandated immunization.

                1. Despite my own personal incentive to see everyone vaccinated, I disagree with any law which will make immunization mandatory. Yes, the link to autism has been debunked, but there have been thousands of cases where the onset of chronic disease immediately followed immunization. The same world-renown immunologist who told me this explained that it is likely that the patients already had a dormant congenital disease which would almost certainly have been triggered by an infection later in life anyways. My point is that immunology is an emerging, but mostly mysterious medical field. Most people should be immunized (and most are,) but mandates are immoral when they are based in a science that contains more questions than answers.

                  Also Ron, would be nifty if you added “or other immune-deficiency diseases” to your list of immune-compromised.

                  1. Link to autism is not debunked, just not admitted by Ron and the news.

            3. When herd immunity thresholds are above 90%, it’s not my responsibility to disassociate with you, it’s YOUR responsibility not to associate with me.

              Don’t insist that your libertarian ideology means you don’t have to vaccinate your children, and then at the same time insist that it means you can send them to a government provided PUBLIC SCHOOL.

              1. Don’t insist that your libertarian ideology means you don’t have to vaccinate your children, and then at the same time insist that it means you can send them to a government provided PUBLIC SCHOOL.

                Did I say anything about public school? Pretty sure my above comment implied private establishments, not government funded ones.

                Also, I don’t have kids and don’t want them. I get a shot for that. Just sayin’.

                1. …but the species NEEDS you to reproduce, Riven! It’s like you haven’t even seen Idiocracy.

              2. Don’t insist that your libertarian ideology means you don’t have to vaccinate your children, and then at the same time insist that it means you can send them to a government provided PUBLIC SCHOOL.

                To a libertarian, the fact that there are disputes about vaccine requirements (and curricula) at public schools is a symptom of the fact that the existence of public schools itself represents an infringement on liberty.

                Libertarians may lean towards having fewer vaccine requirements in public schools (and public places), but that’s not a principled position, just a natural preference. What libertarian ideology demands is that public schools be abolished altogether.

                Private schools can (and should) impose strict vaccine requirements for common childhood illnesses. But it should be the private school, not government, making that decision.

              3. Don’t insist that your libertarian ideology means you don’t have to vaccinate your children, and then at the same time insist that it means you can send them to a government provided PUBLIC SCHOOL.

                Show me a libertarian who claims a right to public school and I’ll show you a non-libertarian.

                1. And let’s add on to this that the existence of one immorality should not be justification of another immorality.

                  That public schools exist is wrong to a libertarian. But they are a reality. Let’s not compound that wrong by then piling on with a requirement to stick needles in kids arms.

                  We also have medicaid and medicare. Should that be justification for the government to force us to eat healthy or have a doctor scope our colons every year?

                  If parents are worried that their kids will be forced to go to public schools with unvaccinated kids, then get rid of the fucking public schools. Give parents vouchers (if we must pay for it) and let private schools set these rules. And when private schools that don’t require vaccinations start suffering epidemics, I can guarantee sentiment on the topic will change PDQ.

                2. Any libertarian that pays taxes and has a child claims a right to public school even if said libertarian disagrees with the system. Most of them also claim interstate and road access no matter how disgruntled they may be for paying gas tax.

              4. Wow, Brandy, did that straw man talk trash about your dead mom or something? Cause you’re layin’ into it like a rented mule.

            4. It shouldn’t just be the immunocompromised who refuse to associate with the unvaccinated. It should be everyone.
              Do your immunocompromised friends and neighbors a favor and tell the unvaccinated they aren’t welcome in your home or in your place of business. They can do something to change their risk, but the immunocompromised can’t.

              1. It shouldn’t just be the immunocompromised who refuse to associate with the unvaccinated. It should be everyone.

                The idea that society can change in a way that it is safe for the immunocompromised is delusional.

                They can do something to change their risk, but the immunocompromised can’t.

                Of course they can. For example, they can avoid public places, limit contact with people, and protect themselves with masks and gloves.

                1. They (we) do. Since she sees a GP and 8 specialists, we are constantly in healthcare settings. Here is a typical day at the doc: My wife has to wear a n-95 or p-100 mask (surgical masks only help contain airborne pathogens of sick people,) we open doors and push elevator buttons with elbows, I accompany her into bathrooms and sanitize EVERYTHING with alcohol, we request all equipment be freshly sanitized before use, we clean pens and clipboards that she will use filling out forms and constantly wash or sanitize our hands. If the waiting room is crowded, we have the MA fetch us from outside. When hospitalized reverse isolation protocols are effected (everyone wears gown, gloves and mask.) She still catches infections. It is a kick to the balls that she is allergic to over 90% of all antibiotics, and the common cold or flu is a legitimate life threat.

                  All of our friends and family who come into our house must not have been around anyone displaying symptoms of communicable illness for 72 hours, or have been to a school, daycare, hospital etc for the same period of time.

                  Its a hell of a way to live, but there isn’t any other way. Mandatory vaccines won’t fix it either.

                2. The idea that society can change in a way that it is safe for the immunocompromised is delusional.

                  It’s not delusional. When herd immunity will significantly protect the immunocompromised from these diseases, then it’s not delusional.

                  Go look up “herd immunity”. It’s a term a lot of libertarians hate, because it implies that their private actions may have pubic consequences, but it’s a medical fact.

                  1. It’s not delusional. When herd immunity will significantly protect the immunocompromised from these diseases, then it’s not delusional.

                    Whether herd immunity works or doesn’t work is completely irrelevant. It is delusional for the simple reason that we only have effective vaccines against a small fraction of all the viruses that are a deadly threat to immunocompromised individuals.

                    Go look up “herd immunity”. It’s a term a lot of libertarians hate, because it implies that their private actions may have pubic consequences, but it’s a medical fact.

                    Here, too, you are missing the point. Libertarians have no problem in principle with the benefits of widespread vaccinations. In fact, I expect that in a libertarian society, MMR vaccination rates would be nearly 100% because you probably wouldn’t have much of a life if you chose not to get vaccinated.

                    Libertarians have a problem with government forcing individuals to be member of government defined “herds” (or “publics”). Not only is that forced association a grave violation of individual liberties and has significant potential for corruption and abuse, it actually is counterproductive in achieving the goals you claim you want to achieve.

                    To put it differently, if you want 100% childhood vaccination rates for MMR, the simplest way of achieving that is to privatize all the schools, because private schools can make vaccination a requirement, and almost all of them would.

              2. The recently vaccinated pose a larger threat than unvaccinated kids to immunocompromised because of virus shedding. If you know anyone who has had been an organ recipient you would have known this.

          2. So argue that all infected persons with knowledge of their infection self-quarantine. After all, people are required to prevent noxious vapors and liquids from entering another’s property, but they are not required to rush into a burning building for the benefit of someone else. We do not and should not require a person assume bodily risk for another’s potential benefit.

            1. HoD: One problem: Measles is communicable before the person knows they have the disease.

              Communicable period. A person with measles can spread the virus to others for about eight days, starting four days before the rash appears and ending when the rash has been present for four days.

              1. And some sort of natural phenomena are undetectable prior to causing damage to other’s property.

                Let’s say you and I are neighbors, Mr Bailey. Without my knowledge, wolves take up residence on my property and sneak over onto your land and kill your cattle. Am I responsible for this natural phenomena only because wolves happened to use my land without my knowledge? I would think no. Likewise, I don’t see liability for someone who unknowingly transmits a naturally occurring virus.

                Now let’s say you identify wolves crossing my land from vacant land, across my property and into your land. Am I obliged to erect fences and wolf traps to protect your property? I would think the libertarian answer is no. This is analogous with your demand that someone vaccinate.

                The main case I could see some liability is if I engaged in active, positive behavior to create the danger. That means baiting wolves to my property, or feeding and caring for the wolves that I find there. If at that point I did not take appropriate actions to contain the threat I was actively nurturing, then any damage they cause would be my fault.

                I think there is a fair point to be made that, upon being notified that wolves are living on my property, I should be expected to do something about it. I should either evict the wolves, or take reasonable precautions if I would rather the wolves live there.

                But seriously people. Vaccinate your damn kids. I won’t force you, but don’t be stupid.

                1. my yorkies and huskies was better.

                  *sticks tongue out*

                2. But what if you deliberately refuse to protect your property from wolf infestation? In your scenario I would have ample legal grounds to sue you.

                3. Well stated.

                  Also, well done all. It’s been a civil, intelligent discussion all the way down. Momma’s so proud!

              2. Many things are communicable before one knows one has them. We’re discussing culpability without intent, and I cannot get on board with that.

                For example, what of the vaccinations for which immunity wanes over time? There are people right now who have been vaccinated, and have no reason to think they are anything but immune to the disease for which they have been vaccinated. Are they then culpable for their noxious vapors and liquids? Why, or why not? You did state that one is required to control these noxious vapors and liquids. Would the lady in this article be any less dead if she caught the measles from someone whose vaccination failed?

                It is logical to argue that culpability requires intent. Otherwise, we’ll spend all day carving out exceptions solely because there’s a specific end goal in mind, rather than rationality.

                1. I agree…but my yokies analogy…it was awesome.

                  I HATE YOU ALL!!!!!

                  runs away sobbing

                  1. Bandit- to be fair, I have been running with this analogy for quite some time on Ron’s vaccination articles. I’m glad that you came to similar conclusions (though I did offer a revision to your case below).

                    And I think it is constructive that both sides of this debate are using other property analogies to make their point more clear.

                    I know a bunch of people dislike this debate, but I think these grey areas are some of the more interesting areas of libertarian philosophy. They force us to really identify principles in a way that isn’t necessary in more clear cut “moment your fist touches my face” examples.

              3. Most people who catch measles are also vaccinated with MMR. Many infected at disneyland where adults. Why should vaccine makers be granted impunity while you ask the question whether unvaccinated should be liable?

          3. Ron this misses my point The noxious vapors were inflicted upon that house. Not at the request of the owner. Not due to their negligence since they don’t have the ability to buy the noxious vapor protetecto wrap on sale ate home depot. Let’s look back at my analogy. I do not have a fence on my property. A band of rabid dogs, against my will, comes onto my property. A passer by then gets attacked by the dogs trespassing on my property. What is the principle that states I am obligated to buy a fence? I don’t mean break it down by breed. If yorkies move onto your property you are indemnified cause yorkies are everywhere but huskies, those can be prevented in 87% of cases…That is not a principled argument.

          4. are we responsible for noxious vapors and liquids emanating from our own bodies?

            Is someone who unknowingly carries the HIV virus has unprotected sex and infects someone else, if it THEIR fault for having unprotected sex?

            Or, since the sex analogy provides the other person willingly entering into “risky” behavior, what about someone who unknowingly has HIV virus but is a high risk (relatively) subject and then bleeds on someone in a public setting… are they responsible for the infection?

            1. If someone knowingly has unprotected sex for years, picks up HIV and unknowingly infects someone else, is it their fault (should they be liable) for engaging in potentially unhealthy behaviors that subsequently affect someone else?

            2. Why are HIV infected people granted privacy and government protection while unvaccinated are not?

          5. As people are required to prevent noxious vapors and liquids emanating from their property from harming their neighbors, don’t they have a similar responsibility to control their own noxious microbes. Other people own their bodies, too.

            This analogy doesn’t work. A property owner has no legal obligation to preventnaturally occurring noxious vapors and liquids, only ones that they put there themselves or are somehow a result of their own agency. Microbes, unless intentionally placed in one’s body, confer no legal responsibility.

            A better analogy; A woodland property owner lives next door to a sheep farmer. The owner of the woodland has no obligation to fill his forest with wolf traps to prevent those agents of nature from crossing his property and attacking the sheep farmer’s property.

        2. So quarantines imposed on people with highly communicable diseases like small pox and tuberculosis are bad?

          I think in that situation you are essentially pointing a loaded gun at someone. It isn’t an act of aggression to disarm a person who might do you imminent harm.

          1. Also, Ron’s point is not about disease it is about vaccination. So yes quarantine has a much better libertarian argument (due to the intent and negligence angel) than liability for lack of vaccination.

            Purchasing the gun is not negligent.
            Pointing a loaded one at a peaceful crowd is.

            1. A gun that fires less than 90% of the time, and has a 1 in 7 chance of injuring the gun owner wouldn’t last long on the market. Why have vaccine makers and doctors been granted impunity?

          2. I don’t believe so. Quarantines seem to be the sensible solution, in fact. We would press charges against anyone who knows they have AIDS and has unprotected sex with another person without duly informing them of their infection. This seems to be the closest parallel (we’re going to have so many analogies in this thread before it’s over, man).

            If one knows one is infected with a potentially deadly communicable illness, and one wanders about touching things with their germy hands and coughing on people, then we establish not merely negligence but intent. That is, in my opinion, the important part.

            1. HoD: Think of vaccination as a kind of really effective and cheap self-quarantine.

              1. Which carries risk of bodily harm. Let’s not pretend vaccinations are as safe as water and mild as mother’s milk, with no potential harm or side effects whatsoever.

                Mandating someone else assume risk of bodily harm for the potential benefit of a stranger is not an acceptable legal standard.

                1. Nor does it have any basis in property rights, as Ron repeatedly claims with his utterly inapplicable property rights analogies.

                2. Let’s not pretend vaccinations are as safe as water and mild as mother’s milk, with no potential harm or side effects whatsoever.

                  Not only potential harm but actual death.

                  “Oh, well, your child’s death was a worthy sacrifice for the collective”?

  4. This is like going to a cat web site and proposing the debate topic: “Declawing Your Cat: Good thing or the best thing?”

    1. Well, I suppose if it keeps one person from dying of the measles…

      1. If it saves ONE child, HoD…

  5. Yes but only if you can prove there was contact/proximity with a specific individual that infected another.

    To me this falls under category of knowingly failing to maintain the brakes in your car and then injuring/killing someone as a result. You could have easily prevented an accident but chose not to. Your (in)actions have done harm to another.

      1. Except, supposedly, intent is still an important aspect of law in this country. You could prove negligence in the case of the automobile and gross indifference perhaps, but in a vaccine case the person’s intent may have (and most likely was) self preservation. The single most important natural right. The child with cancer did not get vaccinated out of self preservation, became a carrier, other imunocompromised person dies (assuming you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that infection came from the first person) you still only have one component of a crime.

        From a libertarian perspective I see the disease as the aggressor. A weak analogy may be i don’t have a fence to keep out rabid dogs, a dog enters my yard uninvited, that dog kill person walking by my yard. What is my responsibility?

          1. As a libertarian, I will entertain Civil Liability as a potential avenue for recourse (properly adjudicated of course. It should be stated I think our tort system needs better standards of evidence though). BUT I think the first time the family of a prostitute with aids (SLD) who died of measles sues a 6 year old leukemia patient things will be very interesting.

            1. Your analogy is also off, Cliche. In the case of vaccinations, it isn’t that a dog killed someone on your property. It is that the dog used your property to access someone else’s property where the harm occurred.

              I can see a reasonable argument that you are responsible for the protection of people invited to your property. But people illegally on your property, or another person’s property diminish the liability.

              1. I said passer by not on my property. I recognize the difference and that is the crux of my intent argument. The dogs were using my property to stage raiding parties without my consent. I have no means to prevent them as getting a fence would likely “kill me”. Hence I have no intent.

                1. But there are plenty of people that getting vaccinated would not harm, who still don’t get vaccinated.

                  I mean suppose you *could* put up a fence aorund your property to prevent wild dogs from crossing it to kill other people, and wild dogs are known threat in your area. But you choose not to because you think fences cause autism.
                  What then?

                  1. Does it matter why someone chooses not to get vaccinated?

                    You can’t just present your naked need to me as some kind of perverse justification that I must now submit to vaccinations, extra taxes, or anything.

                  2. But there are plenty of people that getting vaccinated would not harm, who still don’t get vaccinated.

                    Who gets to decide what constitutes harm and whether or not harm would occur?

                  3. But there are plenty of people that getting vaccinated would not harm, who still don’t get vaccinated.

                    Sure, the 300+ people who died from the measles vaccine in the past 25 years all could have known in advance? Are you really this stupid?

          2. From a libertarian perspective I see the disease as the aggressor. A weak analogy may be i don’t have a fence to keep out rabid dogs, a dog enters my yard uninvited, that dog kill person walking by my yard. What is my responsibility?

            CB: Civil liability?

            That’s absolutely ridiculous. What is your working theory of property rights, Ron? Because apparently you think humans should be made responsible for acts of nature.

        1. You could prove negligence in the case of the automobile and gross indifference perhaps, but in a vaccine case the person’s intent may have (and most likely was) self preservation.

          That approach only elevates the offense from “negligence” to “intentional”.

          The single most important natural right.

          Your subjective belief in what you need to do to for self-preservation doesn’t excuse anything and everything you do based on that belief. Even in the core self-defense realm, you have to be acting reasonably. If I believe (wrongly) that my neighbor and his family are plotting against me, I’m not allowed to burn their house down with them in it, even though I can say it was for my self-preservation.

          Not sure this gets you all the way home.

          The problem with making this a civil liability issue is the impossibility of identifying the specific defendant who gave you the disease.

    1. I’m a bit of a Heinleiner. Live like you want, but remember that we’re all equal when we interact publicly, and you’re not a special flower whose stupidity can affect my life without consequences. So out the airlock you go.

      1. Does that apply to the person carrying infectious disease in a medical facility or the immunocompromised individual?

        If we are forced to tailor behaviors/regulations to the lowest common denominator, then let the deluge begin.

        1. Immuno-compromised includes people with AIDS/HIV, some of whom became infected through their own negligence. Is everyone now culpable who coughs on such a person, or who visits a building where such a person might also be at? Or maybe it’s okay. Who knows.

          1. Includes, but not exclusively (perhaps not even a majority). Lots of people have suppressed immune systems through not particular behavior of their own.

            1. I was limiting my question to people who became immuno-compromised through their own negligent behaviors. It seems a relevant question, when we’re discussing culpability.

            2. Includes, but not exclusively (perhaps not even a majority). Lots of people have suppressed immune systems through not particular behavior of their own.

              It’s almost as though nature itself is the ultimate determining factor in how susceptible you are to the various ways nature tries to kill you. Nevermind, we should sue someone anyways.

    2. To me this falls under category of knowingly failing to maintain the brakes in your car and then injuring/killing someone as a result.

      I disagree. A car’s brakes are your property. Operating them while in a diminished capacity requires positive action on your part.

      Viruses are a natural phenomena. They pass through people, animals and the air. They are a fact of life on this planet. You are essentially saying that by no positive act than mere existence a person is required to undertake some action to protect you from a natural phenomenon. To me this is exactly the logic used to force people to buy health insurance.

    3. Or maybe all cars should be built so that it doesn’t matter whether brakes fail on other cars. Or maybe roads should be built that way. The point is: like the government experts progressives love, you can try to reason this through endlessly, but you’re probably going to get it wrong anyway.

      The only logically consistent way to resolve this is to privatize roads and let road owners and drivers work out the rules in a free market. I expect most private road owners would require brake inspections right now if you want to drive onto their roads. Ten years from now, none might require it because they have developed technologies that makes the question irrelevant.

    4. MMR works less than 90% of the time and doesn’t provide lifelong immunity. Even if going outside in a perfectly vaccinated world it would still be russian roulette. 9 out of 10 people with functional brakes would still be a traffic jam. Measles didn’t kill this person, pneumonia did. And if it wasn’t complications from the measles it would be from the flu.

      If I don’t have an airbag you should not get to sue me because your airbag doesn’t work when you’ve flipped your SUV from drunk driving in an ice storm and hit a wall. Mother Nature is a bitch, but implying personal liability for the act of nature is irresponsible journalism.

  6. OT. Popehat uses an……..interesting …..photo to illustrate a recent post.

    http://popehat.com/2015/07/07/…..t-dignity/

  7. It’s a Wednesday. Fuck it, let’s blow up the world.

    VACCINATIONS, ABORTIONS, ASSISTED SUICIDE, IMMIGRATION! BRING IT ON!

    1. DEEP DISH CIRCUMCISION!!11!!!!!

      1. Deep and circumcision are two words I don’t need to see in the same sentence.

    2. Oh, is it libertarian red meat you want? Why didn’t you say so????

      Her Son Died By Lighting Fireworks On His Head; Now She Wants Stricter Laws

      http://www.msn.com/en-us/healt…..ar-AAcGx67

      1. What!? The kid’s already dead, you’d thank that’d be punishment enough for him.

      2. I think what this case really illustrates is that we should have stricter laws about who can and cannot have children. Kathleen Staples obviously wasn’t up to the task.

  8. This post reflects the typical thinking of an Obama voter.

    1. I am reading through this article and I about threw up. I am more than a little embarassed for this magazine.

      Some quotes, from the For Whom are you Voting question (2008):
      Ronald Bailey: Obama. The Republicans must be punished and punished hard.

      Tim Cavanaugh: Barack Obama. All my life I’ve been waiting for a black presiden … Also, my kids like him.

      Craig Newmark: Barack Obama, since he’s a genuine leader, with a good program for cleaning up Washington, and will be very good for business.

      Steven Pinker: Barack Obama, because he most exemplifies Reason and Free Minds

      John Scalzi: I’ll be voting for Obama, because I think as a nation we’re about to descend into a pile of hurt, and I want someone who is smart, pragmatic, and not prone to temper tantrums working to get us out of it as quickly as possible.

      RU Sirius: Barack Obama. I could give 100 reasons, but I’ll just say civil liberties

      Needless to say, these made me laugh. And want to vomit. Too bad.

      1. Bailey and Cavanaugh were the only regulars at the time, if I recall, and their reasons are fine.

        I don’t think Pinker claims to be a libertarian.

        1. SJ: Sorry you’re feeling ill – I hope you’ve been vaccinated against the many preventable diseases out there.

          In any case, you might be interested in my 2012 vote:

          1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson. This dispiriting and especially mendacious presidential race has sorely tempted me to take [my colleague’s] Katherine Mangu-Ward’s advice and not bother voting at all. However, as I explained in 2008, I voted for Obama to punish the Republicans. I expected Obama to be a disappointment, but not THIS big a disappointment. The GOP has clearly not yet learned to value both economic and social liberty, so Romney and Ryan won’t get my vote.

          1. Thanks, Ron. It does, actually. (I am a principled non-voter, much like KMW, as I believe it is the only legit stance to take.)

            As for vaccination, yes, I have been vaccinated against said diseases. Including Whooping Cough. Twice, because my doctor lost the records and I had to go again.

            I got whooping cough anyway, when I was in college. So, that is cool…

          2. I daresay by voting for Obama in 2008, you only punished yourself.

  9. Are the Unvaccinated Legally Responsible?

    I guess the question is whether or not being unvaccinated qualifies as negligence.

    1. s: check out the “legal responsibility” link in the post.

  10. By the time I was 5 I had the mumps,measles and chicken pox.I then had both my legs broken and reset to straighten them..I do remember getting a small pox shot in grade school.Oh and TB..I don’t think you can protect everyone from every thing.

    1. And obviously, it damaged you for life, since you’re now hanging out on libertarian sites. /prog 🙂

  11. I see both sides of the argument here, though I think I come down on the “no” side.

    Should we hold people legally responsible for washing their hands? Should we mandate surgical masks for anyone that thinks they are sick?

    1. There is a slippery slope argument to be made.

      1. Slippery slope is a myth,see S.S ,medicare,obama care ,the patriot act,new deal,drug war and on and on.

        1. Don’t forget marriage “equality.” Nope, that would never be used as a weapon against those who disagree. No slippery slope to see here. Move along.

  12. Libertarianism is based on the non-aggression principle. You can aggress yourself on another person even inadvertently such as in cases where you are hosting an infectious disease that vaccinations are able to eradicate.

    So if you can prove that an unvaccinated person infected an immuno compromised person I’d say that’s a tort.

    This does not apply to things like the common cold or the flu because there’s no reliable way to prevent the spread of those diseases, unlike with vaccinations for measles, polio, and other shit that used to kill thousands of people every year.

    1. How about the yearly flu,It kills thousands every year? Good luck with that.BTW ,a wood chipper virus that wipes out progs,neocons,ect,I would welxome.

    2. I would like to reiterate my point above about “intent” and standard of evidence. I can’t just SAY you gave me measles and I died. PLUS if getting vaccinated would be highly likely to kill me then well Self Preservation becomes MY standard.

      1. PLUS if getting vaccinated would be highly likely to kill me then well Self Preservation becomes MY standard.

        I imagine in that case you would have no difficulty finding a doctor to back your defense. In which case it ceases to be a crime or a civil liability case since you were not negligent in not getting vaccinated.

        I’m mostly thinking of holding parents liable civilly for not vaccinating their healthy children because they pose a risk to immune deficient children.

        1. I still don’t think you made it across the bridge here. If the parent even thinks their kid could be harmed by getting the vaccine (either holywood derp or misdiagnosed with cancer or whatever) then their intent is self (child) preservation. Intent “should” still matter in law and equity. IMO from a libertarian principle.

          Unfortunately in our current society anything goes so fuck it, but an important philosophical discussion none the less.

      2. I can’t just SAY you gave me measles and I died.

        Well I’d hope not. “I got better” isn’t going to cut it in that instance.

    3. So if you can prove that an unvaccinated person knowingly infected an immuno compromised person I’d say that’s a tort.

      FIFY

    4. Of the 329 people who died from the measles vaccine since 1990, who aggressed them?

      1. Of the 329 people who died from the measles vaccine since 1990, who aggressed them?

        A worthy sacrifice to the collective.

    5. I like the analogy of shooting your gun in the air. If the bullet comes down and kills someone, are you a murderer? Yes. What if you were with a crowd of revelers shooting their guns in the air, and it’s impossible to be know which bullet did the killing. Are you still a murderer? Yes. Must the government sit back and let you blindly shoot your gun in the air because no one has been hit by a bullet yet? No.

      Anti-vaccers aren’t being principled libertarians, they’re being dumb rednecks shooting their guns in the air.

      1. No they’re not. Not having a protection against a certain disease is not the same thing as taking a deliberate action to fire a projectile in a crowd. Ant-vaccers may not be the smartest people in the world, but they aren’t murdering people anymore than you are responsible for a wolf that crossed your property to get at your neighbor’s sheep.

        1. I didn’t say “fire a projectile into a crowd”. I said “shooting your gun in the air”. A few short days ago we had the Fourth of July. A LOT of people celebrated by shooting their gun in the air. Every year some people die when the bullets come back down. The NAP does not give you the right to unreasonably endanger other people.

          1. I didn’t say “fire a projectile into a crowd”. I said “shooting your gun in the air”.

            I didn’t say “into a crowd”, I said “in a crowd”. Those are positive actions that a person’s agency is wholly responsible for. That is not the same thing as agents of nature acting according to the laws of nature.

          2. Every year some people die when the bullets come back down.

            No they do not. Mythbusters covered this and wind resistance is greater than acceleration due to gravity.

      2. Anti-vaccers aren’t being principled libertarians, they’re being dumb rednecks shooting their guns in the air.

        Except that a gun is a man-made object that you must positively obtain, and intentionally pick up and intentionally fire in the air.

        Viruses will move through the population with or without your intent. They will even sometimes infect people who thought themselves immune.

        Every year you walk around with all sorts of viruses and parasites, including the yearly flu. That flu virus kills more people in a single season that measles has killed in 2 decades despite ready access to vaccinations (which are far less effective). If we are saying failing to take the positive action of vaccination is “shooting in the air” then why isn’t choosing to stay home during the entirety of flu season ALSO shooting in the air? After all, you know that vaccination is not effective at stopping the spread of the flu. And you know that it is spread by going around and living your life as normal.

        Once you have made the mental leap that declining to act is the same as positively engaging in a dangerous act, then we are just haggling about price when we say mandatory vaccinations versus mandatory house arrest. A pragmatist might find that conversation interesting, but from a position of principled libertarian values it is not.

        1. And btw, I don’t think Anti-Vaccers are being principled libertarians, or arguing from a point of principled libertarianism. They are confused idiots who have let more confused idiots convince them that a demonstrably safe prevention mechanism is a danger to them and their family. They should be derided and ostracized.

          I vaccinate my kids every year for the flu and any other disease recommended by my doctor. I am not an anti-vaccer. I am an anti-forced-vaccer.

          1. Don’t lump all anti-vaxers in the same boat.

            There are people that carry genetic “flaws” that make them more susceptible to adverse reactions to vaccines. Case in point, my son cannot excrete metals on his own due to a mutation of the MHTFR gene. This was not known to us prior to his many vaccinations. As a result, he suffered for years from acute aluminum poisoning and its myriad side effects.

            With any medical procedure, different people react in different ways. Our genetics are unique, yet government would treat us all the same way regardless of outcomes.

            1. With any medical procedure, different people react in different ways. Our genetics are unique, yet government would treat us all the same way regardless of outcomes.

              More to the point, Ronald Bailey would posit that there exists an ethical principle to vaccinate that could not possibly apply to virtually all vaccines, times, places and people. It’s wholly inconsistent and not universilizable, which necessarily invalidates it as an ethical principle.

            2. When I define someone as an Anti-Vaxer, it is someone who is against vaccinations as a whole. They campaign to stop vaccinations.

              People who have a specific case where vaccinations are lethal, and chose not to vaccinate are not the same in my opinion. If you feel I lumped you in with them, I apologize as that was not my intent.

              1. I understand, I just wanted to clarify. McCarthy is an idiot. However, there is a growing body of medical literature that questions the amount of medical treatment and pharmaceuticals that are given to children in their developmental years. The combination of more and more vaccines on faster schedules with antibiotics, acetaminophen, NSAIDs, and other meds seems to be having immunological effects that are unpredictable. There is case for concern and I think a conservative approach to medical treatment is warranted.

                Although I avoid mentioning it because I think it’s irrelevant to the question at hand, my own children are vaccinated for the major diseases. However, we will not vaccinate them for the flu or chickenpox, as the risk/reward calculation does not work out. My son will probably receive the meningitis vaccine later, but we will delay it as long as we can so that his system can better cope with the metals and we will have to prepare to deal with that.

          2. I am not an anti-vaccer. I am an anti-forced-vaccer.

            I don’t think Brandybuck recognizes the difference. Although if I believed that not getting vaccinated was the same thing as deliberately turning myself into a bioweapon and firing off infections like bullets as I cackle madly, maybe I’d feel the same.

        2. Ugh. Although I hate to phrase things this way, I “feel” that this answer is correct.

          I get where Bailey is going with his argument, but I think at some point you have to accept “shit happens”, occasionally. We’re talking about the first American to die from this disease in 12 goddamn years. It fails the piracy test of statistics. (I.e.: Do pirates kill more people per year than whatever is under discussion.) It’s significantly less common than death from being struck by lightning.

          1. There is more to measles than death. It’s a disease that not only causes pain and makes you miserable, can often cause permanent physical damage, including brain damage. Shit may indeed happen, but to pretend that immunization against measles is not important because it’s very rarely fatal is bullshit. Do you think the Non-Aggression Principle only applies to deadly violence? Really?

            1. Do you think the Non-Aggression Principle applies to microbes? Really?

            2. Stop talking about the NAP until you’ve actually read and understood what it is. It’s impossible to have an intelligent debate when you’re either deliberately or through ignorance misusing the term.

      3. Anti-vaccers aren’t being principled libertarians, they’re being dumb rednecks shooting their guns in the air.

        Balderdash!
        The absolute only way this can be even remotely true is if you can prove that not being vaccinated necessarily equals being infectious. You cannot. Therefore, your analogy is bullshit.

        Vaccines are not 100% effective, and vaccinated individuals can and do get sick and/or become infectious as well. It is infectious people, regardless of their inoculation status, going about their daily routine w/o taking precautions against spreading their infection who are even remotely like dumb asses, regardless of the color of their neck, firing guns randomly into the air.

      4. Anti vaxxers aren’t shooting guns, they refuse to wear shitty bullet proof armor with

    6. This does not apply to things like the common cold or the flu because there’s no reliable way to prevent the spread of those diseases…

      *cough*bullshit*cough*
      Get a cold or the flu: self-quarantine; cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze; wash your hands regularly and thoroughly; minimize your physical and social contact w/ others; do not sleep w/ your spouse; do not share food or beverages; etc. There are some pretty damned simple and reliable measures that can be taken to prevent/minimize spreading the cold and flu.

      Either it is a tort to infect someone else or it is not. The nature of the infection is irrelevant.

      1. This is basically right. It is absolutely possible to stop the flu. All you need to do is mandate that people displaying symptoms stay home. Many more people die yearly from the flu than have been killed or are at risk of death from the flu. So it seems, that we should apply the same logic to Ron’s argument about vaccinations.

        Ron, if it is ok to force someone to inject themselves with chemicals to protect you and an immunosuppressed individual from measles, should we not also mandate that people with the flu go into quarantine?

        (I find this line of reasoning hilariously ironic since the same educators on the bandwaggon for forced immunization are the same ones who insist I send my kid to school unless she is bleeding out her eyes. Seriously. I have had teachers and principals call me to ask why my flu-stricken kid is staying home when she has the capacity to stay awake at a desk.)

    7. it definitely is negligence. An action you did or failed to do caused an injury upon another.
      Proving causation is a different problem – who actually infected you and did the know that they were contagious.

    8. So if you can prove that an unvaccinated person infected an immuno compromised person I’d say that’s a tort.

      I think from a libertarian point of view, that depends entirely on the circumstances.

      Let’s say you live in an HOA that doesn’t require vaccination but send your kids to a school that does. If your kid catches measles at home, I don’t see why you should have a tort case. If your kid catches measles at school, you should have a tort case, with conditions determined by your contract with the school.

  13. I read the story & it’s still not clear whether they meant she died from wild virus or from the vaccination.

    1. R: She had gotten vaccinated years before and actually tested positive for antibodies to measles. Unfortunately, her other medical treatments had sufficiently undermined her immune system that it was not able even after vaccination to protect her from the disease caught from unvaccinated folks. In other words, she died of the wild virus.

      1. So let’s be clear here. You are saying that a person who, through no fault of my own, can die from a natural pathogen is ENTITLED to my protection during natural daily existence? You are essentially saying that because there is a tiny, tiny chance that I might be infected and there is a tiny tiny chance I might come in contact with someone who is unable to protect themselves, I must take a positive action to protect that person.

        I’m sorry, but I don’t see how that is my legal responsibility.

        Am I obligated to chop down all my peanut trees or install hermetically sealed domes on the off chance that one of my neighbors or their guests will have a serious peanut allergy? Hell no.

        It’s sad that people have all sorts of disabilities and challenges in life. And I applaud anyone who selflessly helps that person. But they are not OBLIGATED to do so (which to me is part of what makes their act laudable). Life is messy and there are all sorts of things we can do to make ourselves less or more susceptible to natural dangers. That doesn’t mean we get to force others to lessen the danger for us.

        1. Well DONE, sir.

        2. ^100%.

      2. When one of my employees catches the flu or the cold, can the guy who got my employee sick be held liable for both my employees lost wages and reimburse me for lack of performance too? People are always getting sick at work and the healthy guys must work overtime to stay caught up. I shouldn’t have to pay overtime; the guy who got my employee sick should have to empty his pockets.

  14. I’m curious to know if the other unvaccinated individuals were recent immigrants or native born Americans. I could forgive a recent immigrant for not knowing they should be vaccinated against measles.

    Side note: Again to me this is a clear case in which social shunning ought to be employed. Someone who is literally a disease risk is someone other people have the ultimate right not to associate with. By turning anti-vaxxers into social pariahs we raise the cost of not getting vaccinated, which should induce all but the most stubborn to get their vaccines.

  15. Are the Unvaccinated Legally Responsible?

    she was one of an estimated 10 million Americans whose immune systems are incompetent at fighting off some infectious diseases.

    There’s your answer.

  16. What legal responsibility should the unvaccinated individuals (or more likely their parents who refused inoculation) bear in these cases?

    None, unless you think you own my body and can thus force me to do things to it that I disagree with, in which case —

    fuck off, slaver.

    I suppose I could put that more politely, but I’m tired.

    1. p: So you’re free to endanger other people’s bodies?

      1. Curious to know whether you are limiting mandates to measles, or if “any and all” vaccines are on the table?

      2. p: So you’re free to endanger other people’s bodies?

        Nature is endangering other people’s body. You are not responsible for the damage to your neighbor’s wood siding because the woodpecker nests in your woods. Your theory of property rights is irrational.

      3. You’re arguing that you’re free to endanger other people’s bodies, Ron.

      4. @Ron Bailey

        p: So you’re free to endanger other people’s bodies?

        This is worth repeating, ad nauseum, until the message gets through: Not being vaccinated does not endanger other people’s bodies. It does not put other people at risk. The fact is that some unvaccinated individuals will go their whole lives without ever being exposed to the disease. If they never become infectious, then how in the hell are they putting others at risk simply by not being vaccinated?

        It is infectious individuals, regardless of their innoculation status (yes, even the vaccinated can catch the disease and/or become infectious with it), that may or may not, depending on what actions they take to limit their exposure to others, endanger anyone else.

      5. Ron, this is the kind of deliberate logical fallacy I expect from the Salon.com staff. I’m disappointed to see it here, and from the “science guy” no less.

      6. You are more likely to get struck by lightning than die from measles in America.

    2. fuck off, murderer

      I suppose I could put that more politely, but I’m out of coffee

      1. Out of your mind, more like.

  17. The first person since 2003 to die from measles.

    HOLY FUCKING SHIT, EVERYBODY PANIC

    Using the MedAlerts search engine, which facilitates an online search of the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) database, as of December 14, 2014 there have been 6,962 serious adverse events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) in connection with measles vaccine since 1990, with over half of those occurring in children three years old and under. Of these events 329 were deaths, with over half of the deaths occurring in children under three years of age.

    I’ll decide what is safe and a good idea for my children and when, based on their personal medical history and genetic makeup. Take your lame-ass externalities arguments somewhere else.

    1. VAERS reports everything. Someone is dying of pneumonia, gets vaccinated against measles, then subsequently dies of pneumonia, it gets reported to the VAERS. Someone gets vaccinated against measles, steps in front of a moving train, it gets reported.

      1. half of the deaths occurring in children under three years of age

        Children are checked for general wellness before they are vaccinated.

        1. LG: CDC data mentioned in blog post is also relevant when balancing the costs and benefits to your children and to other folks:

          In the decade before the live measles vaccine was licensed in 1963, an average of 549,000 measles cases and 495 measles deaths were reported annually in the United States. However, it is likely that, on average, 3 to 4 million people were infected with measles annually; most cases were not reported. Of the reported cases, approximately 48,000 people were hospitalized from measles and 1,000 people developed chronic disability from acute encephalitis caused by measles annually.

          In other words, somewhere around 12,500 people would notionally have died since 1990 without the vaccine. Make your risk benefit computations accordingly.

          1. Well … IF measles were a killer infection. Even before vaccines, death from measles was exceedingly rare, mostly among the elderly and infirm, or infants. It’s never been a dangerous disease, except among the population that is endangered by any infection. A vaccine that purportedly prevented 12,500 infections cannot remotely be assumed to have prevented 12,500 deaths from the same infection.

          2. The risk-benefit calculation is only relevant from a personal standpoint. It is a decision that every person and parent must make for themselves and their children. I am not making that decision for or in regards to other folks, nor would I allow them to make that decision for me.

            And speaking as someone who has experienced the adverse effects of vaccines within my immediate family, it is a decision I take very seriously. Probably more seriously than 99% of population who usually just take their recommended meds, no questions asked.

          3. In other words, somewhere around 12,500 people would notionally have died since 1990 without the vaccine. Make your risk benefit computations accordingly.

            The issue is not about my risk benefit computations, it is that you want to impose your risk benefit computations on me. I object to that in principle, even if our computations happen to agree in the case of measles.

            That is, if you accept the principle that the government can force you to undergo unwanted medical procedures because of their risk benefit calculations, you are not a libertarian, you are a totalitarian. There really is no middle ground.

        2. No they are not. No one is checked for mitochondrial problems before getting vaccinated. EVER. It’s cost prohibitive.

    2. LG: Please note from VAERS:

      When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established. Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event. …

      A report to VAERS generally does not prove that the identified vaccine(s) caused the adverse event described. It only confirms that the reported event occurred sometime after vaccine was given. No proof that the event was caused by the vaccine is required in order for VAERS to accept the report. VAERS accepts all reports without judging whether the event was caused by the vaccine.

      1. Regardless, the risk of harm is non-zero:

        As of March 1, 2012, there have been 898 claims filed so far in the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) for 56 deaths and 842 injuries that occurred after MMR vaccination. Of that number, the U.S. Court of Claims administering the VICP has compensated 324 children and adults, who have filed MMR vaccine injury claims.15

        One example of an MMR vaccine injury claim awarded compensation in the VICP is the case of Madyson Williams. Madyson was growing and developing normally until May 12, 2006, when she was given MMR, varicella zoster and Hib vaccines simultaneously during an office visit. Six days later, she developed seizures and died.

        On Oct. 10, 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services conceded Madyson died from a reaction to MMR vaccine and her parents were awarded $250,000, the maximum amount allowed for an acknowledged vaccine-related death in the VICP.16,17

        1. LG: Information from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program:

          From 2006 to 2014, over 2.5 billion doses of covered vaccines were distributed in the U.S. according to the CDC. 2,975 claims were adjudicated by the Court for claims filed in this time period and of those 1,876 were compensated. This means for every 1 million doses of vaccine that were distributed, 1 individual was compensated.

          Again, just to help in balancing risks and benefits.

          1. Again, just to help in balancing risks and benefits.

            Again, you are missing the point. The debate isn’t about the risk/benefit analysis for MMR; I think almost everybody here agrees that MMR has greater benefits than risks. It is about the question of who gets to make such determinations: government or individuals.

            You seem to argue that the government is entitled to make such determinations when it is objectively right, but that is circular reasoning.

          2. It’s nearly impossible to. My child was vaccine injured and my pediatrician never brought up vaccine court or injury reporting. Pediatricians aren’t even taught to look for vaccine reactions. I didn’t learn about vaccine court until several years after the fact.

  18. Has ANYONE ever died as a result of receiving a measles vaccination? ANYONE? EVER? For any reason (like an infection from a dirty needle; not as a result of the measles vaccine.)

    If the answer is Yes, then the answer to Ron’s question is clearly No.

    CB

    1. Has ANYONE ever died as a result of receiving a measles vaccination? ANYONE? EVER? For any reason (like an infection from a dirty needle; not as a result of the measles vaccine.)

      Almost certainly, numerous people have died. MMR is a live attenuated vaccine, so it causes disease, and in addition, there are infections and contamination. On the other hand, MMR is a very safe vaccine and serious side effects are extremely rare; you’re far better off vaccinated than not.

      These kinds of risk/benefit analyses are missing the point, however. The question isn’t whether MMR is safe and effective, the question is who gets to make that determination. Letting the government make that determination for MMR because people overwhelmingly believe it is the right decision means that you have agreed to the principle that government may make such decisions. It means that the government can (and has) forced people to get sterilized, both supposedly for their own good and for the good of society.

      People who are saying “we only let government force people to get vaccinated when government is right” are employing circular reasoning. Either government or the individual decides which medical procedures people undergo, and no matter who decides, they will get it wrong some of the time.

      1. Thank you WB. You got it… and Ron Bailey missed it.

        CB

    2. Yes, the USA requires some of the most vaccines per person and also has the highest infant mortality rate for a civilized nation. Mississippi is the strictest in vaccine control and also has the highest infant mortality rate.

  19. What legal responsibility should the unvaccinated individuals (or more likely their parents who refused inoculation) bear in these cases?

    None. If you’re immune compromised, there are thousands of viruses that can kill you, most of which we can’t vaccinate against. Furthermore, measles is very rarely deadly (less so than many other common viruses). If such a miniscule increase in risk formed the basis of legal liability, an enormous number of daily activities would result in liability, effectively making our society totalitarian.

    From a libertarian point of view, this is mainly a property rights issue with respect to public property. Obviously, you can remain unvaccinated on private property if the property owner allows it. On public property, there is no good libertarian answer: the existence of public property itself means that government must impose a solution. In the case of measles, the “best” solution may be to force people to get vaccinated, but make no mistake: once that principle is established, it is subject to rent seeking and lobbying, and you will sooner or later be forced to get vaccinated in ways that are not in your own personal interest or even in “the interest of society”.

    1. Well since public land is stolen one way or another, the rules the government impose are merely practical, not moral. Thus there is no ethical principle to be derived from the just use of public property since public property itself is unjust.

      1. Correct. And the quick and simple answer to the question of “how do we achieve nearly 100% vaccination rates in schools” is: privatize the schools. Almost no private school would want the disruption and risk resulting from measles, so they pretty much all would require it. And unlike government, private schools can make that choice with no fuss.

  20. Let’s say for purposes of argument that, in principle, somebody who is unvaccinated is legally responsible for someone who catches that disease.

    The problem, as I see it, is that there’s no good way to provide a remedy. The usual civil liability depends on having a defendant that you can prove caused the harm. I don’t see any way to prove that one particular individual infected another particular individual (outside of edge cases like Ebola, where there is a very small number of potential vectors who can be tracked and won’t “overlap”).

    The alternative is to pass a law requiring anyone who isn’t vaccinated to pay a fine, in effect, into a fund to pay people who catch that disease.

    And, frankly, this isn’t something I’m willing to kill people over, so I don’t like that approach either.

    1. If Ron wants to use property rights as an analogy then he should make an apt analogy. Are you responsible for the damage to your neighbor’s sheep flock by a wolf because you don’t fill your yard with landmines and wolf traps?

      1. FS: Actually I grew up on a farm where we did hold our neighbors responsible for the sheep their dogs killed. How did we know it was their dogs? My father and I slept in the barn at night and shot the rampaging dogs (unfortunately not always before they’d killed some lambs). In order to prevent losses to our flock, the neighbors could have kept their dogs chained or not owned them in the first place. No analogy is perfect, but think of vaccinations as “chaining” your microbes.

        1. They aren’t my measles. Simple as that. As a matter of fact they could be your dogs running onto my property then back onto your property to kill your sheep. Soooo..you are legally responsible then?

        2. FS: Actually I grew up on a farm where we did hold our neighbors responsible for the sheep their dogs killed.

          Their dogs. It was someone else’s property that damaged your property. Last I checked, sufferers of infectious diseases have not domesticated those microbes.

          No analogy is perfect, but think of vaccinations as “chaining” your microbes.

          Your analogy is singularly unsuitable to the situation. You conflate that which is owned and controlled, like domesticated animals, with that which exists independent of human ownership i.e. nature.

          Now if it’s your position that you do in fact own those microbes, then it’s the same as saying that I own the woodpecker that damaged your house because it makes it’s nest somewhere in my woodlands. Such a claim has no basis in property rights or even tort law regarding negligence or anything else.

        3. FS: Actually I grew up on a farm where we did hold our neighbors responsible for the sheep their dogs killed.

          Your point would be apt if we were considering a person who intentionally acquired, cultured and housed a virus that later infected someone else.

          Your neighbor’s dogs are not the same as a wolf using their land as a vector of travel.

          1. Your point would be apt if we were considering a person who intentionally acquired, cultured and housed a virus that later infected someone else.

            Your neighbor’s dogs are not the same as a wolf using their land as a vector of travel.

            You must give him credit for artfully dodging the issue. Does Ron literally think that domesticated (owned) animals doing damage has the same legal and ethical ramifications of unowned agents of nature doing damage to property? If so then his theory of property rights is that of unlimited liability, if not then he’s being disingenuous.

    2. I guess everyone agrees that its not even possible to create an acceptable remedy, and wants to go back to wanking over analogies and abstractions.

      Cool. Its a big internet.

  21. Fact: Vaccinations are not 100% effective. Therefore, getting vaccinated does not guarantee anything.

    Fact: Not vaccinating does not equal being infected or being a carrier. Not being vaccinated, alone, does not make someone a “risk” to others.

    Fact: Both groups are capable of carrying and spreading a disease.
    “[Transmission] of measles can occur within a school population with a documented immunization level of 100%”
    Measles outbreak traced back to a fully vaccinated patient

    [cont.]

    1. [cont’d from above]
      It is my understanding of the NAP and libertarian philosophy that individuals can only properly be held accountable for their actions and not for inactions. Not vaccinating is an inaction. The behaviors that spread diseases are the actions; not self-quarantining; not covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze; not regularly washing your hands; not minimizing social and physical contact with others; etcetera.

      If you are going to hold people accountable for spreading disease, then do so according to their behavior(s) that spread disease with no regard to their innoculation status. The vaccinated that get sick and go about their daily routines without taking precautions to prevent sharing their microbes are equally guilty as the unvaccinated. Or else, nobody is guilty.

        1. S.M & LG: Addressed NAP concerns earlier elsewhere:

          ….one of the cornerstones of libertarian philosophy is the non-aggression principle. There is no canonical version, but at its heart is the idea that people are not permitted to initiate force against others except to defend themselves. That perspective is pretty well summarized by an Oliver Wendell Holmes quote I cited in my original article: “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” Just as an individual is responsible for where his fist is located vis a vis another’s face, so too is he responsible for his microbes with regard another’s health.

          Some people object that aggression can only occur when someone intends to hit someone else; microbes just happen. Well, in medieval times, when diseases were blamed on demons and miasmas, people could not be expected to be responsible for their microbes. In the post-Pasteur era, people no longer have the excuse of ignorance. Being intentionally unvaccinated against highly contagious diseases is, to carry Holmes’ analogy a bit further, like walking down a street randomly swinging your fists without warning. You may not hit an innocent bystander, but you’ve substantially increased the chances that you will.

          1. S.M & LG: This too:

            One might usefully analogize the risk of disease to a crapshoot. A person’s chance of being infected is, as Dr. Singer acknowledges, a matter of luck. But is it really OK for the unvaccinated to load the dice to increase the odds against other people? If so, by how much?

            1. But is it really OK for the unvaccinated to load the dice to increase the odds against other people?

              So you tacitly admit that being unvaccinated does not necessarily equal being infectious?

              To answer the question: absolutely. As self-owners, it is their lives to take or not take whatever precautions they see fit to mitigate their own risks of catching a disease. Again, it is what they do when they are knowingly infectious that matters, not what they did (or did not do) to avoid getting sick in the first place.

              Counter: But is it really OK, simply because they took one measure to limit their chance, for the vaccinated that get infected anyway to go about their daily routine and infect others?

          2. Ron:

            I know that metal-bearing vaccines cause very real harm to my son, through experience and testing, including genetic. A harm that must be balanced against risk of infection.

            THAT is a known risk. Is it really OK for others to mandate my son’s medical treatment to lessen their own risk?

            1. LG: I explain how the resort to the precautionary principle by government bureaucrats led people astray on the alleged dangers of thimerosal here.

              See also this May 2015 case-control study that concluded: No convincing evidence was found in this study that MMR vaccination and increasing thimerosal dose were associated with an increased risk of ASD [autism spectrum disorder] onset.

              1. Ron: No matter the generalized study you can dig up, it does nothing to address the fact that my son a specific, known, genetic defect that hinders his capability to expel metals from his body.

                MTHFr C677T (+/+) = homozygous mutation. Both genes affected. The enzyme systems works very sluggishly which significantly impairs the process of methylation.

                It is a known risk for him. He had the genetic testing to verify it, once suspicion was voiced by a pediatrician who actually understands bio-chemistry (a rarity).

                I am not pulling fears out of the thin air here. I know what exactly why vaccines are a significant risk for him specifically and I have the labwork to demonstrate it.

                Additionally, I am aware that the MMR vaccine does not contain aluminum. However most children’s vaccines do contain aluminum in a fairly large dose, as it was increased in order to offset the removal of thimerosal. It acts as an adjuvant, increasing the body’s immune response to the vaccine.

                So the question remains:

                Is it really OK for others to mandate my son’s medical treatment to lessen their own risk?

          3. Being intentionally unvaccinated against highly contagious diseases is, to carry Holmes’ analogy a bit further, like walking down a street randomly swinging your fists without warning.

            The absolute only way that this is true is if the condition of being unvaccinated, in and of itself, necessarily means that the unvaccinated individual is infectious. The irrefutable fact is that is not true. Being unvaccinated does not equal being infectious. It only means that the individual has not been artificially exposed to a pathogen for the purpose of fostering the development of antibodies as a prophylactic against catching the disease. Therefore, simply being unvaccinated is absolutely not analogous to walking down the street randomly swinging fists or shooting guns into the air.

            The only way that analogy works is if the person is infectious (and fails to take any precautions against spreading their contagion). Since vaccines are not 100% effective, even the vaccinated can and do get sick, become infectious, and spread the disease(s).

            Inoculation status is irrelevant. What is relevant are the actions an individual takes (or does not take) when they know they are infectious.

          4. Just as an individual is responsible for where his fist is located vis a vis another’s face, so too is he responsible for his microbes with regard another’s health.

            Wait, so I own those microbes? When and how did I decide to acquire them? If they’re like my fist, or like other property I own, how do I go about relocating them? Because otherwise this sounds suspiciously like that “social contract” thing I didn’t sign but am somehow governed by.

    2. They aren’t even 90% effective, otherwise there wouldn’t be a Merk whistleblowers claiming they lied to the FDA to get MMR approved. Merk has refused to retest to prove efficacy. Here’s more on the merk whistle blower: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/l…..81914.html

  22. Ronald Bailey are you an infectious disease and vaccination expert? Do you have a background in immunology?
    Can we start suing anyone between the ages of 18-25 who have not received an HPV vaccination and you can trace the origins of an HPV infection that leads to cervical cancer and death to a specific person? Because it’s the same thing.

    If we want to go a step further why don’t we sue anyone who is an asymptomatic EBV carrier. Did you know these people exist Ronald? Did you realize if one of them kisses your grandchild or shares a drink with them they will develop mononucleosis and lets assume your grandchild dies as well. People can die of mono…it doesn’t happen often…kinda like death from measles…
    Seriously…Reason is becoming like every other news site out there…crap.

    1. Reason is becoming like every other news site out there…crap.

      Meh not really. Reason is pretty good, but some of it’s writers have blind spots. Ron Bailey has this vaccination thing as his hobby horse and it prevents him from looking at the issue rationally.

      Instead he makes a bunch of analogies about property rights that are just really bad analogies. He’s basically saying that an unvaccinated person is the property equivalent of a chemical factory owner who actively dumps toxic waste onto your land. An analogy so bad that you can’t possibly think he’s approaching the issue rationally.

      1. I hear ya…Maybe I’ve just grown tired of the same debates…but I find myself coming to this site less and less. First it was story after story of bad policing…now it’s more vaccination debate. 1 person in the entire United States of America! ONE! Its not even news…this is scare tactics.

        1. It’s why the “Shingles” vaccine commercial doesn’t mention…”If you have had the chicken pox…OR THE VACCINE…you are AT RISK for shingles!” Could you imagine if the commercial SAID this?! It would be awesome!

        2. I spend more time at FEE.org and Liberty.me, nowadays. Neither one is the adfest Reason has become, and the articles are a little less cosmotarian cause du jour and a little more economics, philosophy, and policy. Reason has become the Weekly World News of libertarianism, I’m afraid.

      2. FS: Not “actively dumps” – negligently dumps.

        1. Even still what is being dumped belongs to him and is not in fact an agent of nature, but a product of his property. Not true of microbes. Your analogy is not valid.

    2. H: You ask: Are you an infectious disease and vaccination expert? Do you have a background in immunology?

      No, but I have interviewed many who are and read fairly extensively in the literature.

      1. Food Babe makes those same claims Ron – Thanks for answering the tough question! 😉

      2. No, but I have interviewed many who are and read fairly extensively in the literature.

        But you are missing the forest for the trees. Whether herd immunity works or MMR is effective simply is irrelevant; the question is who gets to make the determination. And the answer to that question determines whether you are a libertarian or a totalitarian.

        From a practical point of view, the fully libertarian answer rooted in free association and private property would almost certainly result in better vaccination rates than the government mandates you seem to favor.

        1. Win Bear you brought up my exact point in my “discussion/argument” with my significant other. EVERYONE should have the information. ALL information: GOOD AND BAD. Sure you will have whacko Jenny McCarthy’s out there, but anyone with half a brain realizes these people have NOTHING TO DO with understanding science.
          She showed her boobs and starred in BasketBall. God its like this Playboy Playmate on Fox talking about trading on WallStreet after learning about it in a few months. So she’s an expert now on day trading. Give me a break!

          A small % of people can have EXTREME reactions to vaccinations. Sorry Big Pharma, I know you want to cover up any vaccine related injuries because there is no alternative solution. This is where my discussion with my BF turned ugly. I used the hypothetic situation vaccines or DISEASE (such as EBV) could potentially lead to autoimmune issues in certain individuals (NOT AUTISM – I AM NOT ANTI-VACCINE).
          No one wants to hear a vaccine they received as a child may be responsible for MS at age 30…or the kissing disease. Getting MONO or a vaccine now seems slightly dangerous because we are unable to predict every person’s long term immune response and what sort of complications having elevated antibodies in the blood stream even mean….However it does not give big pharma or science the right to ignore dangerous that come with vaccination and disease.

      3. Some immunologists believe in the link to autism and write books on vaccine flaws. I would be awesome if you had an open mind instead of echoing fox and cnn.

  23. Let’s see. The legal responsibility of an unvaxxed individual passing measles should surely not be more than that of a freshly vaxxed individual out in public, since measles can be shed and passed for weeks after a shot. Factor in the responsibility of the doctor who gave the shot and didn’t quarantine the person getting it; OH, and don’t forget liability of the company that manufactured it.

    Correlation does not equal causation. Since more people are vaxxed than not, she is more likely to have caught it from a newly vaxxed person than from one of four unvaxxed individuals in the entire county. So before we can even address the issue we must address the assumptions that have been made: WAS she in contact with an unvaccinated person with measles? And was she NOT in contact with any freshly vaccinated individuals?

    And back up: there is another question to answer first. Were there any other conditions present that could have caused or contributed to her pneumonia? It WAS pneumonia, not measles, that killed her. The headlines all shout that measles killed her, then the 2nd or 3rd paragraph points out that it was pneumonia. It can sometimes be triggered by measles, but this poor woman was on immune-suppressing drugs that rendered her vulnerable to any number of opportunistic infections that could have contributed to or caused her pneumonia.

    Grabbing at the first hot button answer that presents may be politically expedient, but it has never been good science.

  24. Ron has to have the highest overall tally of comments on his articles of any Reason writer by far.

    My problem with forced vaccination or with holding unvaccinated responsible for the illness of others is that this can easily be carried over, and already has, to virtually any other area. What concerns me the most are the parallels with the characterization by the AGW crowd of ‘deniers’. Deniers are characterized as a fringe group with kookie beliefs that motivate them to engage in behavior that harms everyone. If you can prosecute deniers of vaccines, why not deniers of AGW? Granted, the science behind one is pretty solid and the other is not but that rarely concerns cause warriors.

    1. Vaccine penaltaxes, coming right up.

    2. I think Richman beats Ron. When he drops a turd it splashes big!

      And your argument is why progs love externalities. You can prove anything is damaging to someone if you try hard enough. Private cars? Externality. Non-mandated health insurance? Externality. Suburbs? Bet your ass they are one huge externality. So yeah, AGW denial can and will be prosecuted.

      1. Barring a show of intent to infect, this is exactly an externalities argument.

      2. I think Richman beats Ron. When he drops a turd it splashes big!

        Constipation?

    3. What alarms me is that his roots his position in an analogy of property rights. When in fact, your neighbor doesn’t have a right to hold you liable for the damage to his house because the woodpecker who damaged it has a nest in somewhere your woodlands. As a property owner, you are under no obligation to exterminate all wildlife that could potentially harm your neighbor’s property.

      1. He roots his position in emotion and pictures of infected children, otherwise he would present the actual risks of the vaccine, which are non-zero.

        1. lol yes he does now that you mention it, I notice that pretty much every one of these article he writes features a visibly disease ridden child. Think of the children!

        2. They may be non-zero, but they are far less than the risks of the diseases they guard against.

          1. That assumes that you cannot predict your own risk outside of the “herd”.

      2. That is a pretty good analogy Free Society and the correct position.

        It is worth adding that all the way back when I was a child people were very familiar with the death and mayhem caused by infectious diseases that people now only think of as abstractions. There wasn’t much opposition to vaccination and vaccines and boosters were given for free at school in the first or second grade. They were mandatory. People lined up for them with enthusiasm.

        1. Thanks 😉 I wish Ron would directly address that analogy that I’ve posted in the threads of almost every one of these articles he’s written. He’s never once responded to this analogy nor has he responded to any of my criticisms about his own use of the property analogy. Which makes me wonder if he knows that he’s being disingenuous by using it.

          1. He finally did further upthread but he still conflates property with unowned nature. In this instance he equivocates wild wolves with domesticated dogs and says that his analogy is not perfect but still valid.

    4. Kooky. Apologies.

      Ironically have a three year-old grandson (vaccinated) running around the house screaming because he wants a cookie instead of his cheesy grits. That makes it difficult for me to focus.

    5. My problem with forced vaccination or with holding unvaccinated responsible for the illness of others is that this can easily be carried over, and already has, to virtually any other area.

      Hell, the issue is pretty sloppy within the strict field of epidemiology/immunology and internally carries all the telltale symptoms of Statist/Collectivist white-washing.

      Nevermind that the disease isn’t contagious in any real way or is contagious but can only be marginally prevented and is lethal in a fraction of people *defined by their elevated health risk regardless*… tetanus and flu shot(s) for you! I mean, we can’t just let people die while the market sorts out a solution, we *must* do something!

    6. [Ron has to have the highest overall tally of comments on his articles of any Reason writer by far.]

      On vaccines he takes the anti libertarian stance which heats up a debate. He’s vax-bating.

  25. Let’s say regular seatbelts don’t fit a person, or their doctor said they couldn’t wear one. Would I be liable for the extra injury caused during a car collision to someone who wasn’t wear a seatbelt? I don’t think so.

    There are lots of things those who cannot get immunized can do to limit their exposure, like wear a mask or limit their time in public. Why shouldn’t they have the responsibility to do those things?

  26. Immune Compromised Woman Dies of Measles: Are the Unvaccinated Legally Responsible?

    A person is only responsible for the death or injury of another if that person committed a clear act of aggression against the other person or, through negligence of his or her part or disregard for the lives of others, created the PHYSICAL conditions by which another person is injured or killed, for instance: by driving distractedly, which leads to a crash where another person is injured. Or by shoddy construction of a house or apartment complex or building.

    But HOW CAN YOU ascribe responsibility to someone who was NOT vaccinated of measles? What would be your evidence ? the viruses? How will you be able to separate the different non-vaccinated persons to find the culprit? Or are you going to kill them all and let God sort them out?

    1. But supposing for a moment that it was clear an evident from whom the microbes were unintentionally transmitted. Is that negligence? It could only be negligence if a wild woodpecker damaging your neighbor’s house is also negligence. Which it’s not.

  27. Am I the only person who is wondering if the doctors and drug companies are just covering their butts.

    Let’s see, I give someone a toxic brew of chemicals that shuts down their immune system, and they get measles. Who killed whom?

    And, did she get measles? And, was it a factor in how she died? She died of pneumonia – a common cause of death in immuno-suppressed people, and a common cause of death in hospitals. And, she tested positive for measles. So, they said she died of measles which caused the pneumonia. I don’t think that is a possible to know this.

    How could they rule out every other cause of pneumonia?

    I think this is vaccine scaring people.

  28. What legal responsibility should the unvaccinated individuals (or more likely their parents who refused inoculation) bear in these cases?

    None. Next question.

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    1. I hope you get measles.

  30. ‘The immunocompromised include those who are being treated with chemotherapy for cancer, taking medications for chronic illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, have received organ transplants, or suffer from HIV/AIDS.’

    I’m being presumptive and assuming the question of whether unvaccinated people are responsible for the deaths of people in the above categories is of the ‘devil’s advocate’ variety.

    Clearly what killed them are pharmaceutical compounds designed to suppress a healthy and normal immune system. They have higher rates of cancer too. Further, vaccines have been linked to much higher incidence of autoimmune diseases for which such drugs are prescribed in the first place.

  31. Stevens Johnson Syndrome is a brutal condition similar in symptoms to ebola typically caused by a bad reaction to a pharmaceutical drug or vaccination.

    Should ‘vaxxers’ be held responsible for the deaths due to Stevens Johnson Syndrome? Should they be held responsible for the excess cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome following vaccinations?

    Expiring minds want to know.

  32. Reckless Disregard?

  33. Reckless Disregard!

  34. Immune Compromised Woman Dies of Measles: Are the Unvaccinated Legally Responsible?

    No more than people with colds or flu. Some people are just “selected out”. Per Darwin.

  35. Most cases of measles occur among the vaccinated. Vaccinating infants doesn’t even work: you need a functioning immune system to create antibodies from the vaccine.

    Unless the person who had the measles knew they had it, and knew the person who was exposed was in danger from exposure, and they recklessly or maliciously exposed them, there is no moral or legal liability, regardless of whether the first carrier could have been vaccinated or not.

    I had two kinds of measles, chicken pox, mumps, and many cases of the ‘flu. I have never had a ‘flu shot even though ‘flu can kill some people. One ‘flu shot won’t work on my blood type (B) unless there is a booster, anyway. And the vaccines can kill people, too.

    Frankly, my immune status is nobody else’s business, but mine. People who deliberately depress their immune systems have the sole responsibility for dealing with the risk that entails. It’s time to stop believing that government is our Savior, and has any responsibility for providing everlasting life, and that they can use their force for good.

    1. Please provide evidence of your two claims “Most cases of measles occur among the vaccinated. Vaccinating infants doesn’t even work.” If you can show evidence of either, it would be important to see this. And evidence is evidence, not circumstance, circumspection, or “stories” you have heard about.

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  38. The unfortunate woman above assessed her medical options based on her understanding of the risks and benefits and made choices that left herself vulnerable to measles.

    Other people have assessed their medical options based on their understanding of the risks and benefits (of inoculations) and made choices that left themselves vulnerable to measles.

    Umm… how are these two situations different?

  39. Over 16,000 unintentional pharmaceutical drug deaths versus one measles death, and from a woman who had a compromised immune system. Maybe we should be worried more about the pills that BigPharma pushes and the doctors prescribe.

    http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cm…..3pX3c.dpbs Paragraph 3.

  40. People who refuse to vaccinate themselves or their children should ABSOLUTELY be held responsible for spreading preventable infectious diseases. In America, we are free to do many things, as long as what we do does not hurt others. People who willfully and ignorantly ignore the value of a vaccinated population and the resultant herd immunity created with high levels of vaccination should be held monetarily responsible. It’s bad enough that their ignorance and blatant denial of established science hurts their own kids, but when it hurts others, it crosses the line where their willful actions, which are based on false premises and a total lack of education about how the immune system works, create dangers for others and the society as a whole.

    1. People who get vaccinated and shed their disease should also be held liable too.

  41. To think herd immunity is not real is just plain stupid and reading any basic Immunology text will prove this. You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. And the facts support herd immunity. People who don’t vaccinate are parasites on society, who enjoy the benefits of herd immunity in a vaccinated population without doing their part to maintain it. It’s gotten to the point where enough of these societal parasites are not vaccinating, and herd immunity IS being compromised. If one wants to go live in the hills and not be a part of society, fine. Don’t vaccinate. But if you want the benefits of living in a civilized society, and enjoy the many advantages of it (including freedom from vaccine preventable diseases), then you have a civic duty to do your part and vaccinate. If you want your kids to go to public school, then it’s only fair that your kids don’t put the weak, sick and vulnerable members of society at risk. Talk about a germ mecca–public school is just that. An ideal breeding ground for infectious diseases to wreak havoc, sicken, mutate to become more virulent, and spread to others. The same is true of any situation where large numbers of people are crowded together in small spaces. The only exceptions from vaccination allowed should be for medical reasons,and these are very rare. Thank you, Ron Bailey, for taking the view supported by science AND by Libertarian principles.

  42. Assuming they can prove that a specific individual infected this woman, then the answer is yes.

    It’s like texting and driving. Millions of people text and drive and don’t kill anyone, but if you’re texting and you run over a pedestrian, then you’re responsible.

    That’s a separate question from the question about whether texting and driving should be illegal or whether vaccination should be mandatory. The latter question is one of the level of risk one should be able to place on others. All libertarians agree that you should be able to risk your own life or even take your own life, but when it comes to endangering others, it’s less of a black-and-white issue.

  43. It’s going to be hard to make the case stick…or should I have said jab? Somewhere between 1 to 2 percent of the population refuse vaccines. If you consider the numbers of potential hosts from those who experience a failed response to the vaccine and add those that cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, those with a waning immunity due to times passage and the large numbers of visitors with unknown vaccination status who cross our paths every day, their numbers (at least 25%+) make it overwhelmingly evident that fear of the anti-vaxxers as they have been demoniacally tagged, is unwarranted.

    1. Guess it makes the concept of herd immunity a fallacy too…and while I’m at it…The article implies that the early 60’s introduction of the measles vaccine was responsible for a great reduction in measles cases, but if you examine the morbidity and mortality stat’s from the early 20th century peaks until now it becomes evident that measles had declined precipitously before the vaccines introduction and no significant impact on that downward rate can be attributed to the vaccine.

      1. I’m not sure which alternate reality you are referring to, Rodney, but your statement is absolute nonsense. Of course there are “waves” of infection, but if you want FACTS, you look at the number of infections verses the vaccination rate. You look at the before and after statistics. When a population is vaccinated for measles, the number of cases (and complications from them) go down. SIGNIFICANTLY! Measles is a world wide problem and is a significant health issue in many countries currently. If you compare vaccination rates to incidence of measles cases in these countries today, clear and significant differences are apparent following the introduction of vaccine programs. Vaccination works, and herd immunity works. Anyone who understands science, statistics, or possesses any degree of logical, deductive reasoning can clearly see this, and thousands of peer reviewed studies support it. If you think you have enough evidence to back your absurd claims, let’s see some peer reviewed science to back up your “facts”. Sorry, but Natural News articles and those from Dr. Mercola don’t meet the criteria of credible scientific sources.

        1. Personal insults diminish effective dialogue and whiff of waning credibility. I stand by my easily verified reference to USA morbidity and mortality statistics available from multiple and sound scientific sources that measles incidence dropped precipitously from it’s peaks in the early 20th century and that the downward trend was not significantly altered by the introduction of the measles vaccine in the early 60’s. Other diseases have followed the same course, once scourges, then diminished to inconsequential without vaccination. I’m not here to hold your hand. Like an old bio prof of mine, Dr. Charles Gadaire, was fond of saying as he’d tilt his glasses and look askance when asked a question that should have been apparent, “Why don’t you lewk in your bewk.”

          1. This graph clearly shows the “decline” you refer to, and then the almost virtual elimination of the disease in America (until herd immunity was breached by anti vaxxers like you). You can distort trends and try to spin the truth, but when the scientific method is employed, that facts are revealed. Vaccination reduces disease. If enough of the population is vaccinated, herd immunity is acheived. Hand waving and sidestepping the facts cannot alter the reality. http://www.vaccines.gov/basics/effectiveness/

            1. This chart compares measles deaths to when the vaccines started.

              http://vaxtruth.org/2012/01/measles-perspective/

              and

              http://www.everythingbirthblog…..ecline.jpg

          2. PS A decrease from 400,000 cases to less than a hundred is an EXTREMELY significant reduction by definition. Also, morbidity and mortality rates are NOT the rates that are pertinent to the conversation. Of course morbidity and mortality rates were declining because of the new drugs and procedures being developed by modern medical doctors. Things like antibiotics and supportive therapy. The correct thing to measure is the number of INFECTIONS in vaccinated verses unvaccinated populations. This is what scientists do, and this is how the vast majority of scientists, doctors and thinking, reasoning people in the world have come to the conclusion that vaccines prevent disease.

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