Stigmatising someone for a having a disease is clearly not a pleasant or kind thing to do. Of course, historically this would have been a useful self-preservation strategy for deadly, highly contagious diseases.
We’re no longer in the Middle Ages and at imminent risk of contracting the bubonic plague though, so we should be constantly reviewing our attitude to those unfortunate to have caught a life-changing disease.
HIV, for example, is no longer the short and painful death sentence of the 1980s and 90s. With expensive cocktails of pharmaceuticals, the worst effects can now be held at bay for many years.
Much is now known about the HIV, especially it’s relative contagiousness. HIV is, in fact, one of the most avoidable diseases known to man; don’t share intravenous needles or have unprotected sex with a carrier and you’re pretty much guaranteed to never contract it.
The legislators of the great State of California have reviewed the changed landscape of our knowledge and treatment of HIV and have decided that we can do more to remove stigma from those who have contracted HIV. Their solution? Downgrade the punishment for knowingly infecting someone.
Pause for a moment and re-read the seven words in that last sentence. Can you see the problematic one?
i.e. deliberately, or “with intent”.
In other offences that result in the death of someone, that’s the difference between the definition of manslaughter or murder.
In the words of California State Senator Scott Wiener, “HIV is a public health issue, not a criminal issue“. Senator Wiener’s statement is correct, of course, but the new law is far more than touchy-feely “hug a HIV sufferer” legislation, it’s reducing the penalty for deliberately passing the disease to someone else. A disease, which despite all the mitigating treatments for its symptoms, is still incurable and results in a shortened life, not to mention financially crippling medical expenses.
It should be unnecessary to restate this but, for the sake of clarity, the law has reduced the punishment for intentionally infecting someone with an incurable deadly disease.
Once again, California leads the world in stupidity. There’s unlikely to be huge spike in the number of HIV infections in the state as a consequence of this legislation, presumably it’s quite a small subset of HIV carriers who are malicious enough to knowingly pass the disease on to others, but for those who are infected by such an evil act, it must be somewhat galling to learn that their attacker will be out of prison within half a year.
There is a clear schism opening up in western society between those who wish for legislation and government policy that is driven by data and logic and those who prefer for emotion, feelings and virtue-signalling to drive the public agenda. Fortunately, the latter group of people have have a Mecca, a promised land, a safe space, to emigrate to; California.