By Kent Heckenlively, J.D.
We autism parents have all been there. You know what I’m talking about. Your child was normally developing, they got their vaccinations, and then everything started to go very wrong.
They say when terrible things happen to human beings we need to talk about it, to process what has taken place. You get into a car accident, and for the next few months you’ll talk about it to just about anybody who will listen. The trauma begins to recede and you can move onto the next phase of your life, whatever that may entail.
But nothing even remotely similar to that has taken place for autism parents. It is as if we have been in a horrific car accident, but when we go to talk about it, people tell us there are no such things as cars.
Like many of you, I have had to endure the same response from family and friends. Perhaps it is my overly optimistic nature, but I kept thinking there had to be a way to get people to listen. I may have a law degree, but not a medical one. But lawyers are the ones putting doctors on the stand, and when the evidence warrants, making them pay for their mistakes. If the evidence is overwhelming enough, we even charge them criminally and prosecute them. I think that’s what I do in my new book, INOCULATED: How Science Lost its Soul in Autism, now available on Amazon.
The Reality of “Science…”
I mean, seriously, over the years, science hasn’t really had a good track record when it comes to social policy. At the beginning of the last century they were all over the idea of eugenics, giving rise to the crimes of Nazi Germany, then they really liked electro-shock treatment for mental problems, as well as forced sterilization, and hey, even in my life-time the American Psychological Association declared that being gay was a “mental disorder.”
In 2012 I started putting together a book, PLAGUE, with Dr. Judy Mikovits, that used her research published in the journal Science, to argue that an HIV-like retrovirus (originally found in mice, but which had somehow jumped to humans) might be causing the body to overreact in some people and trigger conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and autism. The scenario would go something like this: scientists know the HIV retrovirus hangs out in the cells of the immune system, so any attempt to stimulate the immune system could cause the HIV retrovirus to replicate out of control and cause disease. That’s why babies born to HIV-infected mothers are IMMEDIATELY put on anti-retrovirals, PRIOR to ANY vaccination. The concern was also raised in the book that the virus had jumped from mice to humans during vaccine production as mice tissue was used to grow and weaken many of the viruses later used in vaccines. One might say I’d argued for a vaccine two-fer. Vaccines not only transferred the retrovirus to humans which had caused the problem, but continued stimulation of the immune system was causing this retrovirus to rampage out of control.
I really thought I’d threaded a needle, creating a plausible explanation for the scientific community which would explain why a vaccination might trigger autism in some children, and hopefully lead to a productive discussion.
Now, normally, when you are in education and you publish a book, that’s a good thing. We set this wonderful example for our students of intellectual inquiry, especially considering the book had more than five hundred footnotes, allowing readers to easily verify my sources. And since we accept that none of us knows the FULL truth, we TALK about those things which concern us, such as the overwhelming number of young people with neurological disorders. I mean, that is a little more substantive than the latest folly of the Kardashians, isn’t it?
So after years of enduring the silence of my colleagues when I talked about what happened to my daughter, I thought that the publication of my first book would be a time to get the conversation going. I invited all of them to a book-signing at a local bookstore, and got ZERO replies. Not even a, ‘Hey, Kent, I’m going to be out of town that week, so sorry. Good luck!’
I got scheduled to speak in front of our local PTA and thought this would be a good time to share my story of my daughter’s vaccine reaction, tell the story of a brilliant woman scientist investigating why this might be happening, and say to those members of my community that I would probably get a little heat for what I was saying, but hoped they understood what I was doing and would have my back. After all, I was trying to PROTECT children.
No such luck. The principal brought me into her office and told me not to speak of such things again. Can you imagine that? A science teacher who is not allowed to talk about his science book? And what is more difficult to accept is that my principal is such a great person. My first book, PLAGUE, tells the story of a brilliant woman scientist and makes a comparison to the HIV-AIDS epidemic, something our very curriculum tells us is an example of prejudice and bias that we should avoid.
But apparently, I am outside of the circle of tolerance.
But, I am not slowing down…
Which brings me to my new book, INOCULATED, which tells the story of corruption in the CDC which affects not only EVERY normally developing child, but disproportionately affects African-American males. Many of you already know the story of Dr. William Thompson, the senior CDC scientist who was part of a cabal of scientists who covered up information showing a link between earlier administration of the MMR vaccine and autism, particularly in African-American males. This story is so much bigger than Tuskegee, and as I began to prepare for publicity around it I wondered if I would meet the same fate and essentially be told to shut up. Or would I simply be met with the stony silence to which I have become so accustomed from family and friends when I raise this topic?
Time to change tactics…
For this book I hired a wonderful publicist, Jackie Lapin of Conscious Media Relations, and it has been remarkable. I am booked on radio shows for the next four months.
And something remarkable is happening on those radio shows. Before most shows, the hosts feel compelled to tell me their personal stories around this issue. By and large, they do not have children with autism, but they have had brushes with what can only be described as a tyrannical system of medical and scientific oppression.
When I was on the air in Florida with Larry Whitler and Robin McBlaine, they had to tell me of their own investigations into vaccines and autism, and how chilled they were when a grandmother told them of being in a room full of three hundred autism parents and the speaker asked how many of them thought their children had been damaged by their vaccines. All of them raised their hand.
I have had radio hosts tell me of being bullied out of their medical careers when they tried to question authority, and others tell me of how they had come to the conclusion that parents simply wanted answers, and that medical professionals were acting in a decidedly unprofessional manner toward those parents who wanted answers.
I have had hosts tell me that I should prepare for hostile questions when the phone lines opened, only to have caller after caller tell me their own story of vaccine damage, or how their legitimate questions had been dismissed by medical professionals.
To tell you the truth, I have often felt like somebody who came out of the closet about being gay, years before it was fashionable, had abuse heaped on them, then wakes up one day to find that EVERYBODY wants to hear his story. I’m starting to lose count of the times in my introduction to the audience the radio host will say something along the lines of, “This may be THE most important radio show I have ever done in all my years of broadcasting.”
I’d like to think these wonderful receptions are because of something I have done. After all, I did base my book on documents I received FROM Congress, and I did interview people like a Stanford Law professor, a senior judge on the so-called “Vaccine Court”, and a top staffer for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. I let these people speak in long passages because I believe it’s important to get an understanding of these people, just as if you were sitting across from them having a cup of coffee. And I do the same when I quote from the government documents released to me by the office of Congressman William Posey, or when I relate the story of Dr. Brian Hooker, to whom the CDC whistle-blower, Dr. William Thompson, poured out his heart, or Dr. Andy Wakefield, one of the bravest men of our time.
There’s a lot more…
But I think that something deeper is taking place. Although it had been hidden from me during the years when I have felt abandoned by my society and most of my family and friends, there are many people who have heard this message. They have taken it to heart. They have not known how to start the uprising, but have in some secret corner of their heart pledged that WHEN the uprising takes place, they will join it.
And as I recount in my chapter, “TRUMP MEETS DR. WAKEFIELD” one of those people appears to be the new President-Elect of the United States.
In the movie, SELMA, recounting the march of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers across a bridge in Alabama as the Civil Rights bill was being debated, King knew that he needed white people to join him as they marched into the battalion of mounted police armed with clubs. America needed to see that the forces of segregation would attack white Americans as well. I have come to understand King’s approach. We, autism parents are the OTHER. Most of America will stand aside if the attacks are simply on us. But if we are joined by those who do not have children with autism, who may simply have a radio show that’s been broadcasting for ten years or so, and they join us in this fight, then people will start to take notice.
I am happy to be one of the leaders of that uprising, standing on one side of a bridge and gazing at the battalion of my enemies, mounted on their horses with riot gear, truncheons, and tear gas canisters, who wait on the other side. Because I know I do not walk alone. An incredible group of brave allies will be walking with me. Let us venture out with courage to meet our enemy, and show America the wickedness they embody. We are the ones protecting children.
In ending this piece, I want to share with you a recent review for INOCULATED:
The Best Book I’ve Read this Year
By Amazon Customer on December 17, 2016
Unbelievable. The best book I’ve read this year. A must for parents to read. Good review of pharmacy and events leading up to how we got here regarding vaccinations. Heartfelt. My sister is a high functioning autistic and is 58 now. Her life has never been easy. We need to shed light on the subject and this book helps to provide that needed illumination.
I think the revolution has begun. Please join.
By Kent Heckenlively, J.D.
6 thoughts on “Something Strange is Happening on the Radio…”
Good luck with your book and radio spots… but I would wish to clarify (or alter) that image of lawyers attacking doctors for aggrieved patients and winning.. Not so…
First of all, studies show that the court outcomes favor medical people over real grievous misconduct.
But worse, the lawyer image of heroic battler, is wrong. They are simply businessmen and women. They have a formula for what settlements they are likely to get from a jury for the patient in front of them (age, dependents and income) and the lawyers’ formula determines whether the lawyer will take the case, simply on the probability of a large enough jury settlement to pay the lawyers their imagined worth and chosen expenses.
Not the extent of the harm, not the evidence, none of that. It’s business. The lawyers know how miserably the courts perform and can gage the amount of investment they will need to put into the lousy courtroom process, the more lucrative cases they would have to pass by, so they will not take the case unless their formula says the court’s clumsy, lack of performance, and the jury’s biases will still produce a big enough settlement to pay the lawyers back.
Destroying your untrue fantasy of law in medical malpractice court rules….. ttyl
I am hoping you are correct in this. My own observances over the last twenty years or so indicates this is so. A few years back and the vaccine dissident was a despised animal on the endangered species list then suddenly (over a few years so a slow sort of sudden but much quicker than I would have expected) there is this massive anti-vaccine movement. It may still be small overall but it is growing and there are giants popping up out of the weeds and managing to stand against all attempts to cut them down. Indeed, it is this trying to cut us down that is creating many of these giants and many become giants simply because they refuse to go away and hide in a corner.
Wakefield was far from the first, that goes back over a hundred years before Wakefield but he is the catalyst for the modern anti-vaccine movement, the giant who gave so many the heart to go on, to stand against the tide of public ignorance and official corruption and incompetence. And now there are many more giants taking to the field.
We aren’t going away and we will stand by our giants, supporting them so they don’t fall. We will tell our stories, we will be heard and if there is such a thing as justice we will get some measure of that.
Nothing short of a revolution will end this insanity of modern medicine but if enough cry out, “No more,” it must end – a revolution of refusal.
Kent, I am one of the parents you speak of, with two healthy and thriving sons (4 yrs and 18 mos) with very few vaccines and no autism. I can never say what would have happened to them if I had not learned of you, Dr. Judy, Dr. Humphries, Dr.Wakefield, Polly Tommey and the other heroes, but I honestly believe your collective bravery has saved my sons lives and vitality. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
I downloaded the kindle version of this book and read it in two days. It was exactly the information I was looking for: a comprehensive summary of the modern vaccine controversy covering relevant information from the Andrew Wakefield study up to the Dr. Thompson confession. For anyone looking to be brought up to date on all the issues this is a must read.
I don’t have an autistic child but I am a mother who refused the Hep B vaccine for my son who was then kicked out of preschool due to SB277. I thought it was preposterous that a vaccination for a sexually transmitted/blood born disease was required for preschool. It prompted further research and down the rabbit hole I went.
I am deeply grateful to the parents who are suffering immeasurable anguish from witnessing the destruction of their children, their hopes, and their legacy, yet still have the courage and compassion to sound the alarm for those of us who are unharmed.
I am proud to stand with you.
I think the core reason for the uphill battle to gain support is that the human race has a deeply ingrained collective instinctual fear of disease. Considering that the plague killed off a huge portion of the European population, and that epidemics continue to wreak havoc in developing countries, it is entirely understandable that this fear is part of our DNA. Fear drives people to lie, cheat, steal, kill, and deny. It drives cognitive dissonance, herd mentality and irrational behavior. Add greed to the equation and you have a juggernaut.
In order to overcome resistance, we must overcome fear with knowledge and practical effective solutions. I’ve found that when I’m discussing a subject that challenges someone’s belief system, the most effective way to build a bridge to a new perspective is to acknowledge their thoughts, and connect with them on a personal level by finding common ground. You can bombard someone with all the best research or lecture them with endless facts and it will fall on deaf ears if trust and respect are not first established.
There is no communication without connection.
In reading the numerous blogs and websites dedicated to health issues, I think both sides are falling short on connecting with those who have opposing viewpoints. The majority of our fellow citizens are not our enemies, even if we disagree with them. Those engaged in corruption should undoubtedly be held accountable for their actions, but we should not be discouraged simply because someone doesn’t come around to our viewpoint instantaneously.
I pray regularly for potential whistleblowers. Let a thousand more gain the courage to come forward in the name of truth and reconciliation. Life is not easy, we are all fallible. We welcome you with open arms.
I am one of the parents of children without autism, so I am not affected in that way. I am affected though through my work as an ER Nurse. I have awakened to the fact of adverse vaccine reactions through people like you telling their stories and the awareness is made real from witnessing children who come into the ER with high fevers, wailing and keening unconsolably, having seizures, passing out, developing amnesia directly following their routine vaccinations.
My role, the way I view my role has not changed since I have come out of the hazy dreamland of accepting vaccines as good and important and into the light of understanding there is a very real danger in those injections. My role as an educator and advocate for patients is intact and I hold it as part of a sacred trust between them and me. That has not changed. What has changed is that I now present the counterpoint to the rank and file vaccine orthodoxy. I believe it is incumbent upon me to do so, because I am charged with the duty of helping patients and their families understand what may be behind their sudden health crisis. My approach is evolving, and I feel I must be careful in how I bring the discussion ’round to adverse vaccine reactions. More often than not I feel like a tension dissolves when I ask if they think what they are experiencing may be an adverse reaction to the vaccines. Usually they do, but are afraid to suggest the idea. That is the strength of the taboo. The subject is perceived as off limits, but when I open that door for them it puts them at ease and enhances the trust so they are able to talk about it.
This has led to me filing an ever increasing number of VAERS reports and and educating parents and co-workers about the passive surveillance system we are supposed to be using to track and document suspected vaccine adverse reactions. As I’m sure you know, Kent, the law requires us to report “suspected” adverse vaccine reactions, but very few of us even know about the framework for doing so.
The hill we are climbing is long and steep, but it is oh so important to carry on.
Thank you, Kent, from the bottom of my heart!
The vaccine insanity must stop. There seems to be significantly larger number of vaccine injuries than vaccine manufacturers and CDC admit.
I greatly appreciate the work you do for vaccine injured people!