The difference between aggression, threats, and risks

Bo KelleherCulture, Health

More and more, I am seeing statements from people who are concretely certain about themselves, that they believe they have a right to be free from any and all forms of risk.  And usually, it’s in the context of, “Government should force people who do something I don’t like to stop, because somewhere, I (or small children, or puppies) could be at risk!”  These “risk-nazis” have brought us seatbelt laws, helmet laws, loitering laws, over-watering laws, gun control laws, mandatory vaccination laws, the TSA… and on and on.

When you think about it, the vast majority of our laws don’t exist to punish people who actually harm other people.  Most of our laws punish people who potentially put themselves, or someone else at “risk”.  Risk is a misunderstood concept when it comes to the nexus of personal liberty and the laws that infringe on it at the behest of those who are terrified of things that stand some statistical chance of happening.  I’m going to lay out a presentment of rights and logic, so bear with me. I’ve broken the elements into 3 parts: 1) aggression, 2) threats, 3) risks.


You have a right to be free from aggression. The inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness cannot be violated through aggression or coercion unless to do so would avoid specific and imminent harm (except as provided in the reasonable and proper punishment for a crime for which one has been duly convicted).


You DO NOT have a right to be free from risk. Risk is everywhere.  Degrees of risk vary, but even the variance of risk doesn’t give you an express right to be free from it.  There are certainly situations that every person engages in that carry risk, but it’s impossible to protect against all risk (try as the nanny state might).  You’re at risk for fraud if you’re an uneducated or gullible consumer.  P.T. Barnum has your number!  But wait!  The Government Consumer Protection agents are coming to police advertising copy and make sure that your vitamins don’t make absurd claims about their ability to keep you healthy.


You have a right to be free from a threat. A threat is specific and imminent. A risk is general and merely possible. For instance: Planet Earth is at risk for being hit by a rogue deep-space asteroid, but there is no specific and imminent threat at the moment. No known asteroids imperil our planet at the moment.

It’s very important to understand the difference between these three elements:

  1. [aggression] You have a right to be free from aggression.
  2. [threat] You have a right to be free from threats.
  3. [risk] You do NOT have a right to be free from risk.
The language matters here, because it’s the not so subtle difference between these circumstances:
  1. [aggression] I am punching you.
  2. [threat] I have my fist cocked and I’m menacingly advancing in your direction and yelling cross words.
  3. [risk] I have a hand. If made into a fist, my hand is capable of inflicting great damage.
In each case, your personal right to respond is accordingly this:
  1. [aggression] You can employ aggression sufficient to stop my aggression and secure your immediate safety.
  2. [threat] If you are able to avoid the threat, you have a duty to do so, but if you can’t avoid the threat, you can employ aggression sufficient to repel the threat and secure your immediate safety.
  3. [risk] You cannot use aggression at all.

Public Health

Now let’s do the same exercise with a Communicable Disease the likes of which send the media into a breathless panic:

  1. [aggression] My family and I have been positively diagnosed with the measles. I have a fever, red spots, and I’m actively coughing near you.
  2. [threat] My child has measles and I think I may have them, too.  I ask you to meet me at the yoga studio.
  3. [risk] I have a body. Measles exists somewhere in the world, but I don’t have it.  You question my vaccination status and prejudicially fear that anyone who is unvaccinated may be a carrier of any and all vaccine-preventable diseases.

Your right to respond is this:

  1. [aggression] This is passive aggression through gross negligence.  Just as if I dumped  sharp tacks on the road in front of my house; it would be impossible to imagine that a reasonable person wouldn’t foresee the imminent danger created by allowing tacks to remain in the road (even if the spill were an accident).  You can employ any means necessary to restrain me from actively spreading disease. A mandatory quarantine would not be inappropriate. If you have damages as a result from my knowingly infecting you (medical costs, lost work due to quarantine, etc.), it would behove you to litigate and recover them in civil court. Coughing on someone while knowingly being infected is technically an assault (a crime), but individual circumstances would dictate if a prosecutor would charge it criminally.
  2.  [threat]  (a) If you have advance knowledge that I have the measles and know I’m going to yoga; you should avoid the threat and not go to the yoga studio.  You might also choose to notify the studio about the threat so that as a private business, they can refuse to serve me as a client.  You might also contact the department of health and make a report of the potential spread of the disease, you might take any other action reasonable to secure your immediate safety and of those around you, for as long as the threat persists.
    (b) If I have spots and a fever but no diagnosis and choose to go to the yoga studio instead of the doctor, I may have acted with some degree of negligence. There would be no chargeable assault, but there ma be civil liability for damages from negligence assuming a jury agreed that the negligence was beyond the level of a mistake that a normal person would make in the same circumstance.
  3. [risk] Without any kind of known, active exposure to measles, here’s nothing for you to do. You cannot employ aggression just to mitigate your risk.

Risklessness is impossible

We cannot aggress upon people who have hands because of the risk that they may punch you someday. We simply cannot deprive people of inalienable rights and mandate handcuffs or boxing gloves to restrain hands or protect “society” from the risk of being punched.  And don’t kid yourself: more people are punched every day in this country than you can fathom.

Likewise, it’s untenable to aggress against people by forcing them to be vaccinated against their will, when you have no probable cause to believe that they are a threat. Remember that a nebulous risk is not the same as a specific and imminent threat.

If anyone thinks that they have the right to use aggression against another person in order to mitigate risk and not threats, they stand in bold defiance of the Declaration of Independence but moreso the principles of self-ownership, human liberty and freedom which it illuminates.

I care, somewhat passionately, about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, so I hold the view that mandatory or coerced vaccination (e.g. ‘You can’t attend daycare, public or private school) is a totalitarian form of abject medical tyranny that stands in the way of those principles. It is fundamentally un-American and anti-human.

About the Author

Tetanus and the Rusty Nail Myth

Bo KelleherHealth, Vaccines

You’ve probably heard over and over again, that if you step on a rusty nail, that you’re going to get Tetanus. Rusty Nails=Tetanus. That’s what I was told my whole life. Almost every doctor is taught this unsubstantiated truism in medical school.

But I’m Blind

Last year, I suffered from what turned out to be a case of painless migraine that caused sudden blindness. I went to Kaiser Permanente immediately because I was worried that I might be having a stroke. When I got to the triage desk at Urgent Care, the nurse was completely unbothered by a desire to discover why I was blind. Her first priority was to remind her blind patient that he needed a TDaP. Why? Did I step on a nail? Does Tetanus cause blindness? I urged the nurse to set aside the vaccine bureaucracy for just a little while, so that I could be evaluated for what was making me blind. I was more concerned about dying from a stroke at the moment. Two other doctors finally figured out the migraine cause and sent me home, where the blindness resolved the same day.

Do you need a Tetanus Vaccine?

I was kind of disturbed by the triage nurse’s drug-pushing before a diagnosis was even attempted and it made me wonder just how serious and prevalent this Tetanus problem is. Maybe she thought, “blind people can’t see rusty nails, so we need to vaccinate them against tetanus!”

Just how deadly is tetanus anyway? I went on a search of vaccine safety and efficacy for TDaP and my sources (revealed by Google) were all official government sites and databases. None of them were health-conspiracy blogs or vitamin websites.

What I learned was that the average annual incidence of Tetanus between 2001 and 2008 was 0.10 per 1 million population and declining and 15.4% of the 197 deaths (30 people in an 8 year span, at an average overall death rate of 25 a year) were amongst people with diabetes and 15.3% (30 people) were among IV drug users. [1]

That report also showed that Tetanus was most prevalent among Hispanic men aged 35-60 (59.2% were male with a mean age of 49). So unless you’re a middle-aged, hispanic, diabetic sharing a dirty heroine needle with a junky, your risk of death from Tetanus is infinitesimal. And within all those deaths; for the 61 souls who sought medical treatment for an injury susceptible to tetanus, over 96% were not given the proper protocol of wound care by medical staff (Tetanus Immune Globulin prophylaxis) [4]. They died because of medical incompetence or neglect. 

In the SAME time period as the CDC Tetanus Surveillance, VAERS (the HHS Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) shows that 54,556 adverse events were reported following a Tetanus related vaccination [2]. It also shows that 795 people DIED in correlation to receiving Tetanus during that same period [3], meaning that you are over 400% more likely to die in association with a tetanus vaccine than you are of tetanus, and if you get tetanus and seek treatment but succumb to the toxoid), there’s a 96% historical probability that the doctors will have failed to treat your wound properly.

You’ll notice that the sources I’ve linked to are from official government data, not from a playboy bunny or some supplement peddling website. Thanks Google for pointing me to these authoritative sources.


What’s up with these Anti-Vaxxers?

Bo KelleherHealth, Parenting, VaccinesLeave a Comment

The anti-vaccine movement is led by parents with vaccine-injured children who are SCREAMING AT DOCTORS for answers they NEVER GET, and they’re being dismissed, derided, fired from Pediatricians offices for the slightest hint that they would like to slow down the tempo of the cradle to grave peristaltic pump of more and more vaccines.

Most of these parents have no hope of seeing a root cause analysis. Doctors just say, “sorry… you must have bad genetics… you’re one in a million.” Oh and [playing recorded message]: “vaccines are safe and effective.”

But when these parents who are UNIVERSALLY experiencing the same GASLIGHTING by their doctors connect with each other, they realize that they share very similar observations… observations that no one with a stethoscope around their neck will investigate, document, or catalog. The whole system is set up to DISMISS these concerns and to shield doctors and pharmaceutical companies from inquiry, investigation or liability.

The guy at Jiffy Lube who changes the fluids in my car has more liability than the Pediatrician who injects my very small human with 49 doses of 14 vaccines by age 6. No one shields the oil company who supplies the lubricant from product responsibility if they make a bad product that damages my car… and they’re BIG, POWERFUL, OIL COMPANIES!

And just to extend the metaphor a bit more, there are not massive communities of facebook users who all have lubricant-injured cars sharing nearly identical stories about how they noticed the complete loss of function in their car within hours or days of going to Jiffy Lube or Valvoline.

Nor are state legislators creating laws that mandate the “every 3000” oil change schedule or revoking your car registration or even have the “Car Protection Service” (CPS) impound your car for it’s own safety, if you don’t lubricate, seal and top off fluids according to manufacturer tables. (point made?)

But these parents aren’t talking about their CARS, these are their futures, their hopes and dreams, the girl they planned to walk down the aisle at her wedding, the boy who they hoped would play college football. This is WAY MORE IMPORTANT than a car, but these parents are persona non grata. If they dare to question the knowledge, thoughtfulness, loyalty or perceived authority of their Pediatrician, they’re the enemy, not the patient. Parents have fearfully discussed their experiences where pediatricians have threatened to have CPS kidnap their children if they didn’t vaccinate on schedule. They are afraid to discuss these horrific events openly because of the fear of reciprocity from either the doctor or from hyena-like stalkers who have made it their mission to hunt down unvaccinated kids and file false abuse claims with CPS.

This is medical tyranny with an added layer of citizen-to-citizen espionage unmatched since the East German Stasi, and it’s un-American and wrong.