LA Times columnist says publicly mocking deaths among anti-vaxxers’ is’ necessary ‘to create’ educational moments’

A columnist for the Los Angeles Times on Monday urged readers to publicly mock the death of anti-waxers, calling attacks of this kind a “necessary” evil to manipulate vaccine skepticism.

In a column titled, “Mocking the Death of Anti-Waxers is Creepy, Yes – But Necessary,” Pultizer Award winner Michael Hiltzik spoke of the death of Kelly Ernby, a district attorney in Orange County, California, who allegedly died of coronavirus complications in last week after conflicting vaccine mandates.


Ernby’s death was instantly mocked by vaccine supporters on social media, who happily pointed out her opposition to vaccine mandates. Ernby was himself unvaccinated.

While Ernby’s friends and family condemned the attacks on the late 46-year-old, Hiltzik said there is a bigger “moral dilemma” to consider.

Kelly Ernby reportedly died of complications with coronavirus.

Kelly Ernby reportedly died of complications with coronavirus.
(Orange County DA Office)

“On the one hand, a hallmark of civilized thinking is the feeling that every life is precious,” he writes. “On the other hand, those who have deliberately violated sober medical advice by refusing a vaccine known to reduce the risk of serious disease from the virus, including the risk of others, and end up in hospital or the grave can be seen as receiving their bare deserts. . “

“There may be no other way to ensure that the lessons learned from these memorable moments are heard,” Hiltzik argued.

Other anti-waxers – or “enemies of public health” – as Hiltzik refers to those who have died from the virus have met with similar comments on social media.


Hiltzik stated “that not all people who are unvaccinated against COVID are the same,” and called the deaths “deceived by the misinformation and disinformation spread by the anti-vaccine crowd.”

Ernby’s death, however, falls into another category, he writes.

“As for COVID, the argument [vaccine mandate opposition] “undermines the municipal action precisely at the moment when the joint action has emerged as the only obstacle to the spread of a deadly disease,” he said.

“What is particularly unfair about the anti-mandate and anti-vaccination arguments is the damage they are doing to the US public health system,” Hiltzik continues. “Republicans like Ernby used COVID vaccines to make public health a part of their biased cultural war.”

“The consequences are harmful. They can be measured in overcrowded emergency rooms and intensive care units, in hospital staff who have been burnt out or disappeared in action because they have been infected. Ernby reportedly died at home, but others of her like-minded trains in hospital who can therefore have been denied to others in dire need of treatment for non-COVID conditions. “

As for the online reactions surrounding her death, Hiltzik argued that those protesting the tone of the commentary merely express a variation of the “bourgeois” argument commonly raised against critics of the Trump administration’s unbridled and inhuman policies.

“As I noticed at the time, prayers for ‘bourgeoisie’ are a hoax,” he writes. “Their goal is to blunt and mute criticism and distract from its truthfulness. Typically, they are the work of the hypocrites.”


“We must see each of these deaths as a teachable moment. They demonstrate in the most vivid way imaginable, the foolishness of rejecting vaccines and mocking responsible public health measures,” he continues. “They emphasize the dire consequences of turning public health into a biased football.

Ernby’s friends and family claim that this was only a facet of her accomplished life, and beg the public to remember her for her career as a public servant and as a devoted wife and mother.

“But let’s not cut the words: Her campaigns against public health measures rejected all the good she might have done in her other endeavors,” Hiltzik said. “It may not be a little silly to celebrate or rejoice over the death of vaccine opponents. And it may be appropriate to express sympathy and care for those they leave behind. But mockery is not necessarily the wrong reaction to those who publicly mocked anti-COVID measures and urged others to follow suit before dying of the disease, the dangers of which they diminished. “

“Nor,” he writes, “is it wrong to deny them our sympathy and care, or to ensure that it is known, when their death is marked, that they had stood firm against measures which might have protected themselves and others; against the fate they succumbed to. “


Hiltzik’s Twitter feed, where he promoted the column, boasts a long history of eyebrow-raising tweets and statements of a similar nature.

An article published in September 2020 suggested Trump’s efforts to speed up the approval and distribution of the vaccine before the November election could “kill us.”

A separate tweet calls for the immediate suspension of an airline pilot who was heard singing the anti-Biden slogan “Let’s go Brandon” in a viral recording.

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