Fire Engineering’s Halton on Vaccine Politics
Just about two months ago, Bobby Halton, editor of Fire Engineering, used the occasion of the annual National Fallen Firefighter (NFFF) Memorial observance as the opportunity to come down firmly on the side of those opposing vaccine mandates.
His opening was the NFFF’s requirement that some attendees be vaccinated.
He said in part,
“This is about devastating social contagion promoting the irrationality of the villainization of those who have freely chosen to not participate in taking a vaccine.”
He identified the culprit as “irrational partisan politics” a claim for which he provided no evidence.
For Halton, the NFFF’s position is an “irrational, politically motivated agenda of punishing the innocent…”
It’s also “…a politically motivated conversion effort…”
Halton used his editorial to do the very thing he attacked the NFFF for: politicizing the response to Covid-19.
He was anything but rational in doing it.
One thing he did get right was the need to test more and to test everyone.
Concerning vaccination politics, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 90% of Democrats had been vaccinated, compared with just 58% of Republicans.
Halton was speaking to his conservative readers, but ascribing vaccine mandates to partisan politics is the antithesis of science (and rationality) though perhaps good for Fire Engineering’s bottom line.
He relegated common good, community welfare and compassion to the realm of the “irrational.”
Yes, compassion, the human fount of selfless action, is irrational.
Helping strangers individually or by some larger collective effort is rarely rational in the short term: no immediate personal gain may be realized and indeed, one may suffer for an act of generosity.
So Halton, in his pursuit of the rational, argues forcefully against acts which promote compassion and community well-being even saying these acts are “punishing the innocent.”
He wrote his piece on November 1st and on that day the 7-day average of those hospitalized with Covid-19 was 43,774 and those in ICU, 13,255. On December 28th the numbers were 68,191 hospitalized and 16,431 in ICU.
Since it is undisputed that Covid-19 vaccines vastly reduce the incidence of severe disease and/or hospitalization, Halton’s editorial has become more irrational by the day.
The Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation has found there were “690,000 vaccine-preventable COVID-19 hospitalizations from June through November 2021.”
Besides the obvious question of how many Covid-19 deaths could have been prevented if those folks had been vaccinated is the question of how many non-Covid-19 deaths occurred because hospital care was not available?
That is an eminently rational inquiry.
All of this begs the question of whether or not Bobby Halton is aware that at least 181 firefighters have died of Covid-19?
Or does he care?