Professor WIU LEJA, Student Pen Security magazine article: “COVID-19, anti-vaccines and moving forward together”
December 10, 2021
MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – In November 2021, COVID-19 killed five million people worldwide, including 750,000 in the United States.
Western Illinois University’s Law Enforcement and Justice Administration (LEJA) Professor Dean Alexander, who also directs WIU’s Homeland Security Research Program, and student of LEJA Caden Buettner, a senior from Lasalle (IL), recently studied issues relating to people opposed to COVID-19 vaccines, particularly fringe actors who have threatened or committed acts of violence related to the vaccine and other other COVID-related protocols. Their work was recently published in the november issue from Security magazine. This is the 10th paper published by Alexander and one of his current and/or former LEJA students, giving students a great opportunity to showcase their knowledge gained in the classroom, Alexander added.
According to Alexander and Buettner, the reasons for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine vary widely; however, some of the most common justifications include people believing that vaccines don’t work or cause more damage than the virus itself; vaccines have not been studied enough; demanding a vaccine encroaches on his freedom (the “my body, my choice” argument); they contain microchips and/or alter a person’s DNA; and are part of a population control effort.
“These arguments are made by well-meaning individuals to those who are less so, and some of the latter may even support violence against others who have different perspectives,” Alexander added. “It’s important to differentiate between those who take an anti-vaccine stance and those who break the law trying to advance a cause.”
The couple shared in the article that anti-vaxxers and others lament the insufficient attention given to natural immunity in the population. In October 2021, a conservative radio show host said he was deliberately looking for COVID-19 (and he did), doing so “in the hope that I would get natural immunity and be supported by therapy. t ideal because a study found that unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than a vaccinated person.
Alexander and Buettner note that the social stigma of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in some parts of the country has caused some patients to go so far as to dress up to get vaccinated and want full reassurance that their status vaccine is not. is not disclosed.
“That individuals are pursuing such measures underscores how caustic the debate over COVID-19 inoculation has become. On a related note, many anti-vaxxers may be using fake COVID-19 vaccination cards as new mandates are passed. This is done to avoid vaccination while appearing otherwise and, therefore, keep their jobs,” Buettner explained. “In one such case, Vermont state troopers quit after using fake COVID-19 vaccination cards, and federal agents in Seattle seized fake COVID-19 vaccination cards related to the ‘Idaho. “
According to the article written by the couple, misinformation about COVID-19 is widely spread online and on cable and broadcast networks. Conspiracies project “the power to be seemingly everywhere at once, both unprovable and blameless.” Anti-vaxxers have claimed a Tennessee-based nurse died after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, when in truth she had an unconscious response. Yet this lie continues to spread on social media. In addition, the anti-vaxxers used the horse drug (ivermectin), instead of receiving the vaccine that could cost them their lives.
“Speaking out is key to overcoming misinformation about COVID-19, including the overall protection of the vaccine against non-use is strongly rooted in science, and the fact that a booster may be necessary for some, like for other selected vaccines, does not mean that the COVID-19 vaccine is not an effective instrument,” Alexander said. “The attacks on public health claims related to COVID-19 are (in part) due to the fact that the data government officials looked at when they made their plans was not complete at the time, as the virus continued to evolve.These public health guidelines, some of which were later amended, were called by opponents evidence that officials either didn’t know what they were doing or deliberately misrepresented the data. In reality, none of those things were.”
Some anti-vaxxers have embraced radicalism with participation in the January 6, 2021 siege of the United States Capitol. As with QAnon, Stop the Steal, and other ideologies attracting candidates for political office, the anti-vax matrix also incentivizes individuals to run for office. These developments may contribute to creating new chasms in an already turbulent political climate. Once elected, they will gain political power and may attempt to undermine legitimate efforts to combat COVID-19.
“Fragmental elements of the anti-vax community argue that the COVID-19 vaccine is part of a United Nations plan to establish a new world order. The involvement of white nationalists, conspiracy theorists, anti-government militias , neo-fascist street gang members and other extremists and crooks,” Buettner noted. “Despite the rise of these fringe groups, anti-vaccine tolerance is waning.”
Other fringe anti-vaccination “resistance” efforts overlap or exceed legal boundaries, including their actions against healthcare workers and others. Indeed, anti-vax harassment, threats and disruptions have been varied since the start of the pandemic, according to the article.
“The pandemic has sparked antipathy among some anti-vaxxers towards healthcare workers. So much so that these officials have been slandered, threatened or worse by disparate people who perceive COVID restrictions and vaccination mandates as legitimized by them,” the authors added. “These pillars of society are even singled out as public enemies within some anti-vaccine groups, which are also involved in intimidation and threats of violence. At a pharmacy in Canada in September 2021, a man punched a nurse in the face, mistake: administering a COVID-19 vaccine to his wife without the husband’s consent, as a Tennessee woman drove her SUV to health workers and to National Guard employees who hosted an administration COVID vaccination event. “
The article also cites numerous examples of threats and intimidation towards school board members and school officials for their masks and other mandates in place surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Pandemic opinions can be based on self-made moral convictions, and in doing so, incivility toward opposing opinions can be done more easily and with greater self-proclaimed moral justification than not,” Alexander and Buettner concluded. “Unfortunately, this is a reality we are facing. It is difficult, though possible, to affirm adherence to a belief while simultaneously allowing openness when the data demonstrates realities other than what they are. we believed that it was really emerging. Ultimately, COVID-19, like other hazards, is a risk that must be managed. It is a peril that cannot be eliminated or denied. As such, current and emerging scientific solutions to reduce the extent and lethality of COVID-19 must be vigorously pursued. Moreover, our common goal should be to attack the virus, not against each other. “
about the authors
Alexander can be contacted at [email protected] He has been a member of the WIU School of LEJA since 2005. His alumni work in law enforcement, government agencies (FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and State Department), and risk management companies across the United States. United. His teaching, research and speaking activities cover terrorism, security and legal issues, and he has lectured in 10 countries, including to law enforcement and military officials at events in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the US State Department and National Intelligence. University. Since his publication on terrorism in 1991, Alexander has written several books on the subject, including: Family Terror Networks (2019), The Islamic State: Combating the Caliphate Without Borders (Lexington, 2015), Business Confronts Terrorism: Risks and Responses ( University of Wisconsin Press, 2004) and Terrorism and Business: The Impact of September 11 2001 (Transnational, 2002).
Buettner is a senior specializing in law enforcement and the administration of justice, with minors in security administration, forensics and homeland security. At WIU, he is Attorney General for the Student Government Association (SGA) of WIU and is the Founder/Chair of WIU for St. Jude, the Fellowship of Leathernecks Assisting Shriners Hospitals (FLASH), and the Leatherneck Presbyterian Alliance. Buettner also learns Arabic to master reading and writing in this language. After graduating, he plans to work for federal law enforcement.
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