In the Line of Fire

Scientists have been harassed for years. But a Science survey shows the pandemic has made things far worse for some

In the Line of Fire

An article from Science, Vol 375, Issue 6587.


I skimmed it. I just couldn’t read it all without a panic attack.

But ultimately, the abuse stems from deep societal problems, Koltai says. When the pandemic hit, huge numbers of people had already lost faith in health care systems and governments. “Without addressing those big societal issues that make people feel like they’re unheard, or they’re dismissed, or feeling like they’re wronged in some particular way … we’re never going to get rid of the harassment that scientists face.”

How do we function like this for very long? Good Lord, protect us from ourselves!


It is very hard for me to discuss this topic without getting emotional and possibly saying something hurtful to others that I would regret later.

At the heart of it is dismay. When did it become acceptable to resort to violence and intimidation over such foolishness? I sometimes feel like I am witnessing the radicalization of my fellow citizens. In the past I would unfairly scoff at those in other cultures or countries that were radicalized in the name of utterly foolish causes. It has been a painful lesson in humbleness and self awareness to watch it happen all around me.


It’s shameful to attack scientists for what they do. True, there are some bad apples out there. But scientists are the ones who gave you high-yield crop varieties to largely prevent starvation, clean water, medicines, and vaccines. They’re the reason your average lifespan is no longer 30 years. And they’re the ones trying to save your planet from becoming uninhabitable.

I can understand why some animals kick and bite the vet out of fear. I can understand why toddlers bite the dentist out of fear. (I did it once. The dentist told my mother not to bring me back!)

But adults have no excuse.


Here’s another related story from

Anti-vaxxer Family Members Blaming Hospitals for Covid Death

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Wowww. Well worth the long read I wonder how many of the harassers are Christians?

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Yes, this puzzles me. I had thought that the drastic changes in Covid sort of were scary to people who weren’t familiar with some of germ and virus theory, and might explain the conspiracy paranoia. However, one sees downright hostile response to those who explain the rationale behind statins, vaccines of any sort, screening for group B strep in women to protect babies, and all sorts of things.

I just received this ad for a “Christian Care” healthcare group that advertises that sutures are free for lacerations, and while they try to encourage shots and masks, they don’t guilt folks who don’t agree with them.

The story is a bit full of strawmen Interview with Christian Healthcare Center President Mark Blocher (

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I would guess that most of them are conservative Christians.

And American.

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You just reminded me of that line from Finding Nemo!

@beaglelady, @Kendel

Now don’t you all beat yo selves up now.

I watched a low production value western last night, the story of Bass Reeves, the first black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River. Loved it.

It reminded me of everything appalling and everything magnificent about the United States.

On another site my sig was Fiat Meam Diem Baro, which is bad Latin for…?

How could I have missed it!? I have only seen Nemo at least 45 times.
Give me a hint……

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Hello Martin,

Yeah. It’s hard to even comprehend the appalling about the U.S. but I’ve been dealing with it ever since I lived in Europe, when I learned that truth and perspective leave valuable but long-term scars. Learning to recognize and soundly reject cultural mythologies on which one’s own culture feeds and lives can leave one feeling deconstructed without any kind of scaffold.
My reactionary mind often has a hard time seeing much of the magnificent any more, particularly these last few years.

@T_aquaticus put it very well:

The humiliation, particularly in contrast to the mythologies my addict mind still craves, is real. This is not what I ever imagined about my world NOW. And yet, it’s real. It’s all around me. I’m sure I participate somehow and I certainly have in the past. I’m always looking for people who have insights on what to do differently, and to partner with, even in the must simple ways.

At work, I regularly work with the work of Black poets from Broadside Press in Detroit in the 1960s and 1970s. It kills me that those poems are still relevant today, and “my tribe” still insists “you’re just complaining,” “Quit your bellyaching.” Hearing a total of 9 minutes of Supreme Court grillings the other day just reinforced that “progress” here is questionable.

Sorry, man. I got no Latin. I was a student of German.


Fiat–let there be (or do)?
Meam–to me?
Baro–heavy ?

My guess! :slight_smile: Thanks

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I thought that I was a conservative American Christian. But I see that now that term has a completely different meaning than 20 years ago when I lived in the U.S. Conservative to me means that I take the Bible as a guide. American just means that I was born in the USA. However, now I see that I would probably be considered liberal by some rightists. I simply do not understand the attitude of many people in the US towards science and scientists. Even my father, who goes to a fundamentalist church, got his vaccination right away, and wore his mask religiously. I was proud of him for that. I just cannot understand what madness is going on in the US. Originally, I had planned to move back one day. I really have had second thoughts about it.


Make my day, punk.

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Clint Eastwood as choir boy.

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Clint can do no wrong, like Ron Christie.

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I see-- an old term for a street tough is a “heavy.” :slight_smile: Got it! I wish I had some formal Latin!

I enjoy learning the connections that Latin (and other languages) have to English culture.


See if your library gives you free access to Rosetta Stone. Also, is free for everyone, though not as good as Rosetta Stone.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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