Has there been a subtle shift in some people’s attitudes towards healthcare professionals, and life in general, in the past two years? In this issue, Terry Maguire writes about the emerging trend in the North of people showing up at pharmacies with ‘legal’ documents as a move to try to intimidate pharmacists and their staff into not providing Covid vaccines.

But our Northern pharmacists are not alone. In September of last year, the Irish Examiner reported on how staff at Letterkenny University Hospital were approached by aggressive protestors both inside and outside the hospital. They were also filmed in the course of carrying out their duties.

In the same hospital, a Covid-19 patient was assisted in leaving his bed, with the help of protestors. He has since died and a man has been arrested in connection with the incident. In the UK, protestors formed an alliance which they call ‘Sovereign Citizen Defence’, also handing out dubious ‘legal’ documents and protesting at schools and hospitals.

They even hold training camps. At the more extreme end, there was the Bulgarian doctor who was punched in the face this year by a lunatic vaccine protestor, all on film. As the local police said at the time, “right now, several villages don’t have a doctor because of this case”.

Has there been a subtle shift in the psychological tectonic plates? The world has always had nutcases, but have these people been somehow empowered to pole-vault over the line that is marked ‘Acceptable’? There was a time when people would simply make their views felt, make a written complaint, or whatever the case may be. Now, to prove a point, a healthcare worker is harassed and/or assaulted.

Now, in the US, for reasons of ‘social justice’, it seems acceptable to riot and burn down ordinary people’s premises. Now, if a comedian makes a joke you don’t like, it’s okay to get up on stage in front of the world and assault him for it. And get a standing ovation in the process.

Twitter and similar platforms certainly don’t help. We are at the point where people put their careers in jeopardy if they say something on Twitter that offends a certain group of people whose narrative has been blue-ticked by a bunch of zealots desperate to be outraged.

As Mike Tyson said last year: “Social media made y’all way too comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face for it.” We all have the right to protest and the right to show dissent. If someone doesn’t want a vaccine, they should simply not get it. But it’s a dark time we live in if pharmacists and other healthcare professionals can’t go to work without the prospect of being intimidated or harassed by a group of people blinded by their own self-righteousness.