Hashtag Hijacked, Debate Pivots

Posted: April 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

It started when someone hijacked a hashtag.

The trending topic was a kid named #AlfieEvans and he’d just died in the UK because doctors had advised no more treatment for a terminal case. Despite the lengths to which Italian doctors and the Italian government were willing to go to admit this small child to further treatment, the UK health system found in the doctors’ favor.

It’s an imperfect system meant to protect children from desperate parental attempts by recognizing the rational and informed decision making of doctors.

I can see both sides, honestly, and my heart just breaks for everyone involved. The key points I made on SwampFox Radio, my friend Shane’s Saturday night program on 100.7 The Point, were:

  • The doctors are not trying to kill the child. Their medical opinion was asked for, given, and upheld in a system that values professional opinion over parental rights.
  • The child was too young to advocate for himself, but what about children who might? Like pre-teen girls? Shouldn’t they be protected from the irrationality of their parents and protected by the medical establishment?

The hashtag hijack came from this article on Vox.com and the quoted tweet by Joe Walsh, an American politician and gun advocate.

Screenshot 2018-04-30 12.27.42

What I said, after introducing the tweet to the SwampFox team was, “Can you explain to me what this means? How is the intervention of the UK medical establishment in this kid’s case an argument for assault rifles?”

My Swampfox friend Shane said, “This is a hostage situation.”

And his co-host said, “If they had my kid in that hospital and wouldn’t let him leave for treatment in Italy…”

And I said, “You’d storm the hospital with an assault weapon and spray bullets taking down innocent bystanders, patients, families, nurses, and doctors in a Hollywood-style rescue attempt?”

Shane then said that the threat of such action – that it should be possible to do so – would deter the state from making these kinds of judgements.

So, if I had the means to overthrow my state, in this case, an AR-15, then the state would be less likely to exercise control?

The argument being made by Joe Walsh and gun advocates is that, yes, possession of an assault weapon would give individual citizens more authority – power – to prevent the kind of state intervention that sentenced poor #AlfieEvans to death.

Fucking stupid.

I’m not a gun person. I don’t understand why you want them, I don’t think you actually need them, and I think there are better things to spend your time and money on.

I don’t buy the argument that if citizens were armed, they would exert authority in places where they are legislated into submission. I don’t think Alfie Evans’ parents could have brought their weapon to the hospital and done anything but exacerbate the situation.

In truth, I don’t know the extent of physical stand-off in this case, I didn’t follow it that closely. I won’t dispute the term “hostage situation” because when a child is being held against his parents’ will, it falls in the definition of hostage.

But making this a gun rights conversation is hijacking the debate. Joe Walsh took the #AlfieEvans hashtag because it was trending and made a ridiculous claim with it.

I’m not a gun person but I’m not in favor of legislating them out of your life either. This is where the debate goes, inevitably, when I say Joe Walsh was wrong. My SwampFox Radio friends think I must be part of the binary debate surrounding guns: ban them or not.

I don’t understand why people keep iguanas and snakes as pets. But I don’t think they need to be banned. I wouldn’t want one. I wouldn’t want my daughter to have one or date someone who did. I think there’s a certain kind of person who keeps snakes indoors and I’m skeptical of those people.

Like I’m skeptical of polygamists and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I didn’t say “ban AR-15s” I said, that tweet doesn’t belong in this debate. Guns are a debate for another time. This debate was about healthcare and the rights of the child versus the parents and who makes the decision in a case where the child is unable to decide for himself.

In the UK. Remember? In the UK this happened.

What I said was, the hospital and the doctors were not acting with malicious intent. They truly thought they were doing what was best for the child. This is not a case of kidnapping with intent to murder. This case is about compassion. And guns have no place in it.

I am not a gun person, but I am a Libertarian and I did enjoy visiting with my SwampFox Radio friends. I hope we’ll get a chance to take up the debate over guns another time.

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