This is the email I received from one of our senators today:
I was outraged when I found out the Obama Administration wanted to give Guantanamo Bay detainees the H1N1 vaccine while millions of Americans – including pregnant women and children – are still waiting to get the H1N1 vaccine because of massive shortages.
Swine flu is a very real concern for all of us across the country. Currently, the H1N1 vaccine is only being provided to certain high-risk segments of the population. The vaccine is in short supply, and, as such, there are millions of Americans in these high-risk groups still awaiting the vaccine. We should save the vaccine for those who need it most, and as of today, women, children and other at-risk individuals should fall squarely in line under that category.
Last week I introduced a Senate resolution with several of my colleagues asserting that the Obama Administration should not provide Guantanamo Bay detainees and terror suspects with the H1N1 vaccine before the H1N1 vaccine shortage is addressed and all American citizens prioritized as vulnerable to H1N1 have the choice to obtain the H1N1 vaccine.
Rest assured as your Senator, I will keep fighting so that terrorist suspects and detainees do not jump to the front of the line while millions of Americans vulnerable to H1N1 are waiting to take the vaccine.
And this is the letter I wrote back to him:
“I would like to express my disappointment that you would waste public time and money by introducing a resolution to keep Guantanamo Bay inmates from receiving the H1N1 vaccine ahead of American citizens. While I, too, would like to see all those at high risk from the various strains of flu provided with access to vaccines in a timely manner, squabbling about less than 300 vaccines does not seem particularly helpful to fulfilling this purpose. Furthermore, I think we must keep in mind that inmates in prisons are most certainly in the “high-risk” group. In fact, because of their close proximity to other inmates, guards, and other staff, those in prisons are, because of their incarceration, automatically at greater risk, regardless of their personal health. Further, those at Guantanamo are not criminals; they are suspected of terrorist leanings and activities. It is bad enough that they have been held so long without proper trials, will we now deny those who are at our mercy access to simple preventative health care? By taking them into our prison, we, the American people, have taken on the responsibility for their health. If we want to continue to claim the moral high ground (if that is even possible anymore!), I think it is necessary to show that we are willing live up to just these sorts of responsibilities. In the future, I, as your constituent, would prefer you focus on bringing affordable healthcare to all Americans, rather than wasting time trying to deny it to a handful of people under our care whom you think are not worthy of healthcare.”
It really bothers me that people can be so self-righteous about making other people suffer. Vitter is saying, “These guys don’t like us, so let’s let them get the flu and die. That’ll show them!” His web site brags that he and his wife are lectors at a parish in Metairie. Sigh.