Should this U.S. Senator be tried for murder?

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), already infamous for his anti-vax antics, was torched Sunday, October 17, 2021, on MSNBC for telling Fox News host Maria Bartiromo, herself a piece of work, “that coronavirus vaccines are ‘experimental’ and ivermectin … is not being promoted as a COVID-19 treatment because there’s ‘not money in it.’”

Johnson was lying. The vaccines are FDA-approved for preventing Covid-19, while ivermectin is not an approved treatment, and is shunned by reputable doctors for that purpose. And there is money in it, or the drug company wouldn’t make it.

Appearing on MSNBC, veteran Capitol reporter John Bresnahan said, “It is stunning to see a U.S. senator, a national political leader, making these kinds of comments.”

But the real kick-in-the-pants came from Jennifer Rubin, a conservative pundit who currently writes for the Washington Post (bio here). She said, “Let me be perfectly clear … he is killing people. … He is contributing to death. … He’s helping to kill people.” (Read story here.)

Those are strong words, but probably factual. The vaccines do prevent death. Unvaccinated are dying.  While some anti-vaxxers may be listening to their own inner voices, the country is being bombarded with anti-vax propaganda, most of it false, and it’s a certainty that some of the people who’ve died were hesitant or resistant to getting vaccinated because of this messaging.

The kind of messaging Johnson is putting out. The chances that no one heard his messaging, or was influenced by it, is zero. And the statistical odds that no one dissuaded by him from getting vaccinated has died from Covid-19 seem pretty small. Rubin, who’s been observing and reporting on public affairs for decades, is convinced he has killed people.

So should Johnson be prosecuted for murder?

It would be difficult. First, prosecutors are reluctant to go after politicians, for fear it’ll look like politically-motivated persecution, and it’ll surely be called that by his supporters, if he has any. Second, they have to get a unanimous jury verdict, which would be difficult in a country where everybody’s a partisan. Third, they’d have to prove he was directly responsible for the death of a specific person. Essentially, that he talked someone into committing suicide. The evidentiary hurdles would be formidable. Finally, even if there was sufficient evidence to convict him, he could plead insanity, and it would be hard to convince an objective jury this man isn’t a mental case. He even looks crazy (see photo above).

I predict Johnson won’t be tried for murder. But he doesn’t have to be. A prominent conservative pundit that lots of people listen to has already found him guilty. She called him a killer. And there’s no appeal from that judgment.

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