Today I saw a social media post from a professional health care provider upset over a SCOTUS decision this past week. This HCP said care would be withheld from individuals based on perception of the patient’s race, sex and political views.

Some comments from persons claiming to work in the medical field said they had had colleagues look up patients online – and had treated them differently based on their perceptions of the patient’s online comments.

Whoa.

About 20 years ago, I was asked to attend a public meeting seeking public input on various public health initiatives for the future. I was the only attendee who did not work in health care.

I made a single suggestion that efficiency and effectiveness of health care should be considered in improving access to care. That is all I said. Thought this should be on the list.

All other commenters made health someone else’s problem – transit, for example, needed to be improved for access to health care. Better grocery stores were needed, they said. Schools needed more school nurses. Neighborhood health clinics should be run out of local schools. They talked about everything except traditional health care services.

At the end of the meeting an older man identified himself as a cardiologist and put his face six inches in front my face and said, “Remember, if you pick sides, be sure to pick the right side in case you have a medical emergency”. I had not even thought I was “picking sides” and found his comments inappropriate and unprofessional. And a frightening threat.

In thinking back on that – and looking at what I saw transpire today online, I am considering archiving 100% of my comments on public health, Covid-19 and health care topics and taking them offline. It is too dangerous for any of us to ask questions, point out inconsistencies, contradictions are note where messaging is incoherent. We have all been canceled.

Update – over the past 2 1/2 years, I wrote about 2,000+ blog posts on Covid-19 and public health. Perhaps 20-25% were never made public. In any case, I have made most posts into private pots, no longer publicly visible. Effectively, I have canceled myself before others have the opportunity to do so.

VERY IMPORTANT UPDATE

On a separate issue, SCOTUS ruled on concealed carry permits for those wishing to carry firearms. In response, the California state Attorney General issued guidelines on checking the background of individuals applying for a permit and said that publicly available information, including social media accounts, may be considered.

“As a starting point for purposes of investigating an applicant’s moral character, many issuing
authorities require personal references and/or reference letters. Investigators may personally
interview applicants and use the opportunity to gain further insight into the applicant’s character. And they may search publicly-available information, including social media accounts, in assessing the applicant’s character. Finally, we note that it remains reasonable—and constitutional—to ask
applicants why they are interested in carrying their firearms in public. Although applicants do not
need to demonstrate good cause for the issuance of a license, an applicant’s reasons for seeking a
license may alert authorities to a need for psychological testing, be considered as part of the “good
moral character” requirement, or provide information relevant to other statutory requirements.”

Legal Alert OAG-2022-02 (ca.gov)

This means that the U.S. has implemented a China-like “social scoring system” where each of us is assigned a score to assess our good or bad character qualities. This is being done without our knowledge or even what attributes are considered for being judged good or bad. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol began collecting social media account information from foreign visitors to the U.S., in 2016. DHS/CBP has asserted a right to copy the content of American citizen’s phones, computers, tablets and other electronic devices at the border when returning to the United States.

Because of these actions, I will be more cautious at exercising my – de facto non-existent – First Amendment rights to make comments on my personal blog. I will also be reviewing past content and will, as necessary, edit, delete or make private some past content over concerns it may be misconstrued, taken out of context or otherwise used against me. A couple of years ago, I deleted ten years of personal FB posts and all Twitter content, including even my Likes. I did not have anything I considered wrong or embarrassing – I just lost the ability to trust Facebook and what they might do with my data.

Update – New York State will require applicants for concealed weapons permits to turn over their social media account information for the past three years, even if they have deleted older accounts. This is an odd one since the new rule is in response to recent mass shootings – none of the shooters had concealed weapons permits and would not be caught by this new requirement. Indeed, several of the shooters had prior contact with the police and mental health facilities and even that did not stop them from committing mass murders.

Note – this post is not pro or con on firearms but is about the use of social media and other online information by the government and others, to judge a person’s character. I have never owned a firearm. I shot a pellet gun, as a youth, as part of a target shooting exercise (at tin cans), supervised by an adult law enforcement officer. That is my sole involvement with firearms.

By EdwardM

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