Log in

No account? Create an account
Steve Likes to Curse
Writing, comics and random thoughts from really a rather vulgar man
Neil Parrott on tattooing HIV patients: It was William Buckley’s idea 
Saturday, October 30th, 2010 | 06:41 pm [commentary, hagerstown, politics]
Steve's New Userpic
So like I said a few days ago, Neil Parrott, Republican candidate for my district’s House of Delegates seat, wrote a letter to the Herald-Mail in 2005 proposing that those who test HIV-positive should be forced to accept a tattoo identifying them as such before they can receive medical treatment for their condition.
Thursday night, Parrott and his opponent in Tuesday’s election, Democratic candidate Brien Poffenberger,
faced each other in their only one-on-one debate. The issue of Parrott’s “brand the people with AIDS” proposal was raised. When asked by the debate’s moderator if he still supported tattooing the HIV-positive before giving them their medicine, Parrott backed away, but only very slightly. He claimed he no longer saw compulsory tattooing as the best solution to the HIV/AIDS problem, and blamed late conservative icon William F. Buckley for giving him the idea. 
“I respect him, and I respect his solution here,” Parrott said after Poffenberger asked what on Earth he could have been thinking to publicly suggest (say it with me!) tattooing HIV patients. Parrott also claimed he would favor doing anything that would stop the spread of AIDS.
Anything, it seems, except distributing condoms and including lessons about the importance of safe sex in public school sex education classes — two methods
actually proven to decrease the rate of HIV infection in populations. Parrott spends almost as much time in his 2005 letter speaking against these measures — which, I stress again, have been proven to actually work — as he does pushing for the forcible branding of sick people.
It turns out Neil Parrott and I disagree on more than I first thought. He also turns out to be even more of a fanatic — or, if not that, an imbecile — than I originally judged him to be. Not only do I find the notion of tattooing HIV patients (or anyone else afflicted with a particular disease) disgusting and antithetical to the ideals of a free and humane society, I am also unwilling to support any possible measures that would stop the spread of AIDS.
Think of the implications of that statement. “I favor doing anything that would stop the spread of AIDS,” Neil Parrott says.
Is that right, Neil? Should I infer that you favor herding all those who test positive for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus into quarantine camps, where they can be isolated from the general population of the country? Or — hell, why go through all that expense? Would you be in favor of simply summarily executing anyone who tests positive for HIV? We could remove their infection from the population immediately and permanently. In a few years, we’d have HIV/AIDS totally wiped out from the United States. Then perhaps, with those remarkable statistics to back us up, we could carry the program to Asia and Africa, where developing countries are suffering far more with HIV and AIDS than we are.
What else would you do to stop the spread of AIDS, Neil? If one of your children were found to possess an antibody that could kill the virus, but the process of extracting the antibody would be lethal to your son or daughter, would you be willing to make that sacrifice? Anything to stop the spread of AIDS, afterall.
Some people still contract the virus from intravenous drug use. Perhaps possession of any intravenous drug should also be a cause for immediate execution — why take any chances, right? And hell, Neil, we all know they used to call it “the gay cancer” — let’s just do what we should have done a long time ago and finish off the homosexual population once and for all. Am I right?
Of course Neil Parrott will never publicly endorse relocating or executing HIV patients. Nor would he allow his own child to die in order that a cure could be manufactured. Why? Because he finds these things (and maybe I’m giving Neil too much credit here, but so be it) morally unacceptable. There are some things that, in a free and humane society, are wrong, no matter the context, no matter the potential benefit.
What troubles me is that apparently Neil Parrott doesn’t think profiling sick people via compulsory tattoos falls into that category. I would not do anything to stop the spread of AIDS. I would do many things, including teaching my children about safe sex and the dangers of drug use and promiscuity. But I would not support tattooing those infected by this horrific virus. The fact that Neil Parrott would — even after being given the chance to retract and apologize for this appalling suggestion — tells me a great deal about him. So does the fact that he apparently believes all those who contract HIV are so morally bankrupt that they knowingly hide their condition from sex partners and willfully spread their infection, and that it is up to the government (which Parrott also claims to distrust) to ensure they don’t get away with it.
I don’t care whose idea it was. William F. Buckley is greatly admired by conservatives, but was not infallible. Not every idea the man had was a good one. Linking the disgusting proposal to Buckley doesn’t make Parrott look any better. It makes him look like a man lacking not only morality and compassion, but also discretion. Buckley should have known better, but so should Parrott. And so should anyone in Maryland Subdistrict 2B intending to vote for Neil Parrott on Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 | 05:02 pm (UTC) - Neil Parrott
Neil’s comments were made in 2005 during a time when a rather shocking national event occurred. In 2005 a man who had tested HIV positive was going around and intentionally sleeping with women with the sole goal of infecting them. As he was quoted, “I was punishing them for their promiscuous ways.” An explosive national debate ensued in relation to how we can protect citizens from someone who wants to harm them with an infectious disease. The CDC and NIH weighed in on the subject and both federally funded entities actually came up with ideas similar to what Neil suggested along with other ideas as well. You have to put comments made in context with the times and current events. As individuals we are certainly entitled to agree or disagree with anyone’s opinion.

I will ask you this, would you say that you have different opinions now than you had 5 years ago? Would you say that events around you perhaps influence how you perceive and respond to things? As we grow older and see things in our lives we tend to pattern and change our opinions based on the information in front of us. The problem with politics is that it has become a gotcha game. The media and other politicians want to find that one thing someone said, or something that happened in their lives, their families, careers, etc. Then we wonder why so many good people don’t run for elected office. Many people simply don’t want to subject themselves or their families to the scrutiny. I’ve been asked several times to run for elected office and I refuse to do it and I give a ton of credit to those that do.

Neil is a good man with a good heart and an opinion and we all have opinions. But before any of us pass judgment on anyone else we should put ourselves to the test as well and see if we measure up to the lofty expectations of perfection we have of our politicians.
Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 | 06:40 pm (UTC) - Re: Neil Parrott
My opinions are somewhat different now than they were five years ago, a bit more different than they were ten years ago, and very different than they were, say, fifteen or twenty years ago. This is a natural thing. My problem with Neil Parrott is that he doesn't seem to recognize how ghoulish this suggestion of his is. When challenged, he merely says, "Well, I don't think it's the best solution anymore."

I'm sorry, but that's not good enough. That's not an apology, that's not a retraction. The guy publicly called for sick people to be denied medicine unless they accept a tattoo identifying them as infected. I remember the case you're talking about, of the HIV-positive man intentionally sleeping with people to spread his disease. I'm also familiar with the phenomenon of "bug chasing," where people would intentionally seek out HIV-positive partners in order to deliberately infect themselves. Both of these phenomena were incredibly rare, and only received the amount of attention they did because of how sensational they were. There is no reason to believe that an HIV-positive person has a desire to spread his/her infection to others. One sick person is not a cause for a national panic, and it certainly is no excuse to call for the branding of an entire segment of the population.

I don't expect my politicians to be perfect. But morally speaking I think I measure up pretty good against Neil Parrott. He doesn't set a very impressive standard.
Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 | 08:34 pm (UTC) - Re: Neil Parrott
I think you miss the point. Why is there a need for a retraction or apology. It was an "opinion" given 5 years ago. I certainly wouldn't apologize for anything I said 5 years ago nor should you.

We seem to want our politicians to be honest and straight forward. We would rather them show their warts than find out later on. Is Neil perfect no. Are we probably not although we'd like to be! I happen to be a neighbor of Neil's for over 7 years. I talk with him all the time, seen how he raises his family and acts within the community. I will gladly accept all the good that comes with that.

Considering his opponent received national attention for blatantly false ads against Neil (little Hagerstown national attention seriously) I will gladly take Neil over Brien.
Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 | 08:46 pm (UTC) - Re: Neil Parrott
I don't think I miss the point at all. He didn't propose an unpopular tax, or push through some controversial budget measure that failed to do what he said it would; he publicly advocated the compulsory tattooing of HIV patients. That's not something I'm willing to just chalk up to experience. "Oh, well, that was five years ago." No. It doesn't suggest that he has an unsophisticated understanding of government or fiscal and monetary policy (his "no raising taxes ever" philosophy does that); it suggests that he has a very deep and basic misunderstanding of what it means to live in a free society.

He claims to support a smaller, less expensive, less intrusive government, and yet he also advocates giving that government the power to brand particular citizens that have been determined to be undesirable. When you add that cognitive dissonance to his infantile attitude toward taxes, and the anti-gay bigotry he all-but openly expresses, Neil Parrott becomes someone I am simply incapable of voting for. He's not who I want representing me in Annapolis or anywhere else. I've spoken about how unhappy I was with the negativity of Brien Poffenberger's campaign, but I voted for him today with a clear conscience, and I would vote for him again in a heartbeat if his opponent was as odious as Neil Parrott.

And by the way, if I had ever suggested something as vile as Parrott's HIV tattoo, I would not only expect others to demand my apology, I would happily give it as many times as necessary, whether I said it five, ten, or twenty years ago. It's a despicable and indefensible notion, and an apology is the least we have coming from any decent, moral person who gives a damn about maintaining this as a free and humane society.
Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010 | 03:28 pm (UTC) - Re: Neil Parrott
What's wrong with simply understanding that the above mentioned criminal who deliberately infected others with his virus would have used a different weapon if not infected, himself? And then what's wrong with prosecuting him the same way we prosecute other people who assualt or kill? Keep in mind, we do not cut off a guy's.....well..you know...............for sexual assualt.

If we are going to use tattoos, why can't we do that as part of a sanction for someone WHO HAS ALREADY COMMITTED the crime, rather than round up all the people who either have or might have been infected? And what about the man's victims? Do they get spared the tattoo?

And...............what's this notion about denying medical care? That's not even in the public interest, let alone the fact that it would qualify as "cruel and unusual punishment".
This page was loaded Jul 18th 2018, 4:47 am GMT.