It's still early, but we may already have a winner in our nascent Bad Coronavirus Takes sweepstakes. In a March 25 WorldNetDaily column, lawyers Richard Kibbey and David Lamos not only advocate using prisoners as guinea pigs for prospective coronavirus treatments, they cite World War II Japan and the Nuremberg Trials not as cautionary tales but as guidelines for what you can get away with:
As the clock ticks, the number of new COVID-19 infections rise. While promising theories are emerging over potential vaccines and drug treatments, the stark reality is that without large-scale human experimentation of those new medications, the public will remain at risk. State and federal prisoners may hold the key to finding a cure for this pandemic.
To be sure prisoner volunteers would have to give informed consent of potential health risks and side effects before they are included in a test group. Current federal rules governing prisoner use for scientific experimentation allows it so long as the testing exposes the prisoner to "minimal risk" of harm. That regulation can easily be waived or modified by Congress or the Bureau of Prisons in the case of emergencies, which COVID-19 would seem to present.
Historically, the testing of prisoners to find cures for disease is not new. Gen. Douglas McArthur, the supreme commander for Allied Powers in Japan, readily accepted for the benefit of the United States the scientific results achieved by the Japanese in their human testing on conquered people during World War II. The ethics and legality of human testing of prisoners was also the basis for the Nuremberg Code, which set out guidelines for medical research experimentation on prisoners. Chief among those guidelines is informed consent and that the risks be justified by the anticipated benefits.
It is anticipated that prisoners would readily volunteer to be included in testing in return for a reduction in, or commutation of, their sentences of imprisonment. Commutation can be fast-tracked by state governors or the White House.
There would be no shortage of prisoner applicants for testing. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, in 2019 the United States had nearly 2.3 million citizens incarcerated in state and federal prisons. In those prisons are inmates who possess medical and nursing degrees – perfect candidates to assist in the experiments and testing. Dr. Samuel Mudd, convicted and imprisoned for aiding John Wilkes Booth after the assassination of President Lincoln, received a presidential pardon for his medical assistance in stemming the outbreak of yellow fever plague in his prison.
Yep, they went there. Even by WND standards, that a pretty callous column.
We'll start working on the award to give them.