Tom Burke’s column listing comments from the vaccinated about the unvaccinated was beyond alarming; it was chilling (“When patience runs thin, the ire runneth over,” The Herald, Dec. 6). It is a truism, as exemplified throughout history, that when a person or country wishes to destroy a group one of the necessary things to accomplish this is to dehumanize them. It makes it easier to justify terrible actions on many levels, even up to killing people. It made the Holocaust possible!
I find Mr. Burke’s writing to be beyond defensible. He is apparently in complete solidarity with those vilifying over 60 million Americans who choose not to take the vaccinations for various reasons. Does The Herald feel the same as Mr. Burke? Are you so enamored with this sentiment that you feel no shame? Where is your humanity to your fellow citizens, or do you wish to see them die, too? Truly disgusting!
Tom Burke responds:
“More than 790,000 Americans have died from covid; 115,000 (more than 90 percent of them unvaccinated) in the past 12 weeks when (free) vaccine is readily available, good masks can be purchased, testing is virtually ubiquitous, and it is well understood how to minimize risk.
“Reporting on how the vaccinated feel about antivaxxers is not vilification or dehumanization, it is part of the essential job of a journalist to record history as it unfolds.
“Those who refuse vaccination aren’t being threatened or killed by those who do their civic duty; rather they seem to many to be committing suicide by rejecting science, spurning the advice of medical professionals, and ignoring the pleas of government officials.
“I wish to see no one, ever, die from covid (or anything else). And to suggest that this is part of some nefarious cabal to ‘make it easier to justify terrible actions’ is incorrect.
“The intent of my column was to make the point that where once there was a deep well of sympathy for anyone getting sick; that well has dried up when it comes to those who refuse (for other than medical reasons) to get the shot.”