On Thursday, September 8, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. I hosted a screening of VAXXED: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe at the Crow Canyon Cinemas in my hometown of San Ramon, California.
Brandy Vaughn, the former pharmaceutical sales representative from Merck and now a health activist, joined me for a panel discussion after the movie. We ended up selling a hundred and thirty two tickets, a number beyond my wildest expectations.
But it was something deeper than showing of a film. It was an opportunity for my wife and our 16 year-old neuro-typical son to better understand what we have been living with for the past eighteen years.
My daughter, Jacqueline is vaccine-injured and severely autistic.
While my son spends his summers in the weight room working out to earn a spot on his high school track team, my daughter has trouble walking. That is the reality of my life. I rescued my son from the path of autism, but have not yet rescued my daughter.
I’d like to report that those friends and family members who reacted so violently to my invitation to view the documentary reconsidered their response, grudgingly came to the movie, and despite their reservations, found themselves deeply moved by the experience. But they didn’t.
Despite all my efforts, we did not have a single representative from the office of Congressman Mark De Saulnier, or from the office of another local congressman I had contacted, Eric Swalwell.
I am happy to report that we did have in attendance the president of our local teacher’s union, Ann Katzberg, as well as her vice-president, Bob Donovan.
There were also some of the former leaders of our local Tea Party, Heather Gass, and Pam Farly. Every one of these people is committed to children’s health and are heroes in my eyes.
The documentary ran from 7:30 to 9:00 and the theater manager told us we would have about a half an hour after the movie to take questions from the audience before they had to close up. However, when the theater manager came to tell us we really needed to stop at 10:15, the questions were still flying fast and furious.
The event was profoundly moving to me because of the presence of my wife and son in an audience of people who were learning about and reacting to the story. I think there was something so deeply healing to them to see that despite the slings and arrows of insults and cold shoulders from people who don’t believe us, the truth endures. Their father spends his time actively engaged in a righteous cause.
VAXXED is the first wave of an invasion to liberate the world from the lies spread by the pharmaceutical companies that vaccines are safe, and not causing damage on a massive scale. It is impossible to watch the film and not come to the conclusion that the whole story is not being told. I understand why the pharmaceutical industry is pressuring film festivals to not show the movie, whether it be in New York, Florida, Australia, or Italy.
Like Hitler, the pharmaceutical companies know they have to defeat us on the beaches, or else the game is up.
The more than 50,000 people who have now seen the film in theaters or purchased it on-line are the new soldiers of truth in this war for our children. How will they “science-shame” us when our numbers are so large and we say something as simple as, “Hey, why don’t you read the confession of Dr. William Thompson that he released from his lawyers on August 27, 2014?” Or “Perhaps you should read the six-page detailed confession of Dr. Thompson that he submitted to Congressman William Posey on September 9, 2014?”
You see, most people consider such confessions to be what we call “evidence.” And while the New England Journal of Medicine may choose not to publish these documents, in the real world, people go to jail when they confess crimes and provide evidence of their wrong-doing.
While I was disappointed not to have the attendance of certain family members and friends, I must note that there were certain family members I did not expect to attend, who did, and other friends to whom I had offered an invitation, who gladly accepted.
One friend from college, with whom I had rowed on the crew team, wrote me a text the following day. “Thanks for inviting me last night. My company is sponsoring free flu shots so after last night I decided to read up. I read an article SO condescending, calling the anti-vaccine people a cult. I’m stunned. Keep up your great work. It is heroic.”
I’m not interested in cutting the friends and family members who disparaged me for even attempting to show the film out of my life. However, I do feel a bit like the coach of an athletic team, making decisions on who to put on the field. A coach needs to decide what is best for the team, and I need to decide who is best for me.
Although it pains me to take the former all-stars of my life out of the game and put them on injured reserve, it’s what’s best for me. There are others who seem to understand me better. And after all, isn’t that what being a friend or family is all about? I haven’t cut anybody out of my life, but I have made some decisions on who gets the lion’s share of my attention. Maybe they will someday come around. Maybe not.
There is a war to be won, not just for our children, but for the children and grandchildren of those who do not currently understand our fight.
And we will not stop until our flag flies above the capital of our enemy.