It’s not logical, but I want anti-maskers & anti-vaxxers punished

I’ll admit it. I’m angry at anti-vaxxers and anti maskers. They are messing up our lives and plans. Yet only their anger is covered by the media? We get stories about how our officials are “frustrated” and “saddened” by their failure to get vaccinated. Where are the stories of our anger toward these “vaccine deniers and right wing loonies”?

I don’t want to be like the right wing, screaming and threatening those who aren’t wearing masks or getting a vaccine. And I don’t want to inappropriately use the law like they have been doing with their Texas abortion ban. But I’m pissed and I want people punished for the harm they are causing.

What can I do to satisfy my need for an emotional catharsis without becoming a screaming banchee?

I’ve been watching Unforgotten, a British murder mystery show about police solving crimes that happened 40, 30 or 20 years ago. It’s excellent.

In the UK they call these cases historic crimes. Because they happened so long ago sometimes the person who committed the crime is dead. An arrest can’t deter a dead person.

While the detectives try to solve the crimes, we see the stories of the pain the victims’ family have suffered over the years. We learn all the ways people were damaged and when it comes time for justice, the detective asks the question: “What helps the families now?”

The lead, played by Nicola Walker, wants to solve the case. But unlike other murder mystery shows, she doesn’t talk about finding out who did it for “closure.” She wants to punish the people who did the crime.

Does punishment of the killers help the families now?

Unforgotten Season 1, Episode 1

I want to find who caused a pain that’s very much alive today–who took his life, who took hers–and I want to punish them.

DCI Cassie Stuart, Unforgotten, written by Chris Lang

On the Majority Report a few weeks ago Emma Vigeland and Matt Lech were talking about enforcement and punishment of those breaking public health laws. Matt said we should avoid going after individuals who didn’t get vaccinated who then infected someone in your family.

I listened to this and noted the difference between “punching down” at individuals and “punching up” at those whose intentional actions have led to infections of large groups of people.

On another episode of Majority Report I called in to discuss enforcement and punishment when Brandon Sutton made an excellent point. He pointed out how historically law enforcement in America it is often unequally applied. POC are incarcerated. Rich white people aren’t.

Also, incarceration during a pandemic is a bad idea. But that’s not the only way to enforce the law.

For example, citing and arresting suppliers of fake or stolen vaccine cards and individuals who buy and use them is a good thing to do. Both of these types of stories need to be publicized.

Even Fox “News” ran the stories of arrests of fake vaccination cards being supplied and used by individuals because breaking the law has consequences. Showing the arrests to the target audience can act as a deterrent. But arrests only happen if the laws are enforced. No one is arrested for failing to follow a recommendation.

I think that the federal government should spend resources NOW to arrest people for violating public health laws.

Why Enforce Public Health Laws?

My logical Vulcan side thinks enforcing public health laws will deter others from breaking them.
I think publicizing the charging and sentencing of people who break public health laws helps prevent future deaths.

My emotional human side feels that enforcing public health laws will scare people into not breaking the law.
I want those who intentionally broke laws to suffer-especially when what they did led to the pain and suffering of others.
I want to see them shamed.
I want to hear them cry about how they learned their lesson and will never do this again. But don’t want to be like them. So what do I do?

First I’ll acknowledge there are emotional reasons I want people punished. Then I’ll figure out ways to keep from falling into retribution. To do that I remember to do these four things.

  • Ensure that the punishment fits the crime (Don’t send people to jail during a pandemic!)
  • Work to get the laws applied equally with a focus on intentional violators and high level abusers
  • Push for appropriate next steps after enforcement
  • Focus on enforcement of intentional actions that have led to infections on large groups of people

I feel anger when there are no consequences for people making intentional dangerous actions that harm others. I always endeavor to help the families first, but seeing appropriate consequences for the people breaking public health laws helps me by giving me some sense of peace.

An example of seeking consequences for those breaking public health laws is my push to prosecute Trump and those in his campaign who intentionally helped spread COVID during their rallies. It led to pain and suffering for Oklahoma families and 100’s of thousands of others. I’ve been looking at the faces of those who died from COVID in Oklahoma on this great series, Oklahomans’ We’ve Lost from Frontier.

Trump’s rally in Tulsa happened in June of 2020. The people who committed those violations of public health crimes are still alive. Would an arrest now deter them from future crimes? Get them to stop future superspreader rallies?

On August 21, 2021 President Donald Trump held the largest political rally in Alabama history. The U.S. Secret Service estimated the crowd at 45,000 people, according to Deputy Chad Whaley of the Cullman County sheriff’s office.

Trump’s August 21, 2021 superspreader event in Cullman County Alabama. Alabama.com

As of September 9th 2021 an average of 83 cases per day were reported in Cullman County, a 61 percent increase from the average two weeks ago. New York Times COVID tracking Alabama Since the beginning of the pandemic, at least 1 in 6 residents have been infected, a total of 13,118 reported cases. Right now, Cullman County is at an extremely high risk for unvaccinated people.

While the detectives in Unforgotten tried to solve the crimes the writers of the show looked at the pain the victims’ family suffered over the years. It showed how people were damaged by the perpetrators of the crime and asked the question: “What helps the families now?”

We on the left need to push for enforce public health laws. Especially in cases of people whose actions have a big impact on large numbers of people. Doing so sends a message to the people who are breaking public health laws right now. If you break the law you will be in the Government’s crosshairs. You will be arrested and tried. If you are found guilty, you will be punished.

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