Field of Science

Amateur bioterrorism, now available at McDonald's

The Department of Homeland Security defines bioterrorism as "A biological terrorist attack would be the deliberate release of anthrax, smallpox, ebola, a plague, or another highly fatal organism in a large, unsuspecting civilian environment that would be conducive to the rapid spread of the organism."

Then I am made aware of this Craigslist posting:

11/1: Chicken Pox Party (Spokane)
Date: 2009-08-29, 12:29AM PDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

I am trying to put together a chicken pox party and am looking for someone to donate their chickenpox to the event.
I was thinking of having it at McDonald or some place with toys to play on.
if you know anyone who would like to contribute or would like more information on a time and place let me know.

Location: Spokane
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 1348079907

I realize that there are many people that do not understand infectious diseases, public health, or science but this goes beyond the pale. I can even understand why parents may not worry so much about chicken pox. Many parents remember having chicken pox as a kid or knowing people that had it and it not being a big deal. Of course that overlooks the entire world of shingle's, but nevertheless I can understand it.

However, how whacked do you have to be to plan to have an infectious disease party in a public place!?!? I realize these parents care about their kids. Of course the parents that beat their kids out behind the tool shed also care for their kids. But in so many ways these parents are wrong, factually wrong. What is the risk associated with the chicken pox vaccine (and there is one)? What is the risk associated with chicken pox, including relapses later in life as well as costs to society by infecting others? I expect these parents have an idea about the former question (even if its overblown with fake autism linkage) and have no idea about the latter question except anecdotes and personal beliefs. (By beliefs I do not mean religion, but the belief that chicken pox is perfectly fine based on insight.)

Regardless, this parent and others like this one, is going beyond the pale. Its not sufficient to have an infectious disease party. Nope, you need to make sure its done in a public place where other kids, parents, teens, adults who think you are batshit crazy have no protective recourse. A fucking McDonalds?!?! Lets spread the virus all over the toys?!?! What the hell is wrong with you?

Couple of things to consider batshit crazy parent. What if there are other kids there who are in some way immunocompromised. You know maybe recovering from leukemia or other disease? I know, its not your kid. What about adults that never had chicken pox as a child and catching it could be fatal? I know, they're not your friends. What about the elderly? I know, not your parents.

Here's a thought, what if there is a small outbreak of chicken pox that is tracked to a specific McDonald's? Think that will help with business? I know, that's not your problem. That's what I despise about these people, they want all the freedom in the world but aren't actually willing to be a part of the society that helps maintain all those freedoms.

I realize terrorism requires some political or social coercion, but damnit how are these people not bioterrorists?

H/T Aetiology


"Who turned off the shaker?" said...

I'm making a guess, but I'm guessing they don't fall into the "bioterrorist" category simply because most bioterrorists are more intellegent than that person is. (But the point is well taken)

Stuff like that just makes me sad. There should really be a test you have to pass to be a parent.

The Lorax said...

Clearly, there is no overt fatality associate with these people nor an attempt to coerce a societal or political agenda. Regardless, setting a bunch of bomb-like devices just for shits and giggles counts as a terrorist activity (even if perpetuated by 15 year olds), how can the behavior of these people not be considered bioterroristic.

Personally, Im not a fan of the over-the-top reactionary law enforcement we currently have in the US. No tolerance policies are inherently failed policies. Sex offender lists that tag streakers along side Catholic priests is absurd, for example. But someone should talk to these people, if not the cops, how about the lawyers for McDonald's.