Gavin Howard, the writer of the excellent (/serious)
bc now used in FreeBSD, espouses anti-mask and anti-vaccine views which endanger others.
Initially written starting Mon Mar 13 01:51:35 UTC 2023 by Amelia Bjornsdottir (she, they, he).
First of all, if you’re Gavin Howard and you’re reading this post, this isn’t intended to be a hit on you or anything. In the US, where the server this writing is hosted on is sited, this page does not constitute libel, because it is factual (apart from the speculation about autism later on - I am aware of some autistic people who have a problem with wearing a mask because it literally hurts them, and I did speculate that this may be your case). Probably not so much here in Canada - so if you want to come after me legally, come after me legally in the courts of BC, in Canada. Contact me as described on the contact page for information necessary to launch a civil case. Alternatively if you’d just like me to take this article down, I will - though it will remain in the git history of this website.
Throughout this article, I use he/him to refer to Gavin. I’m aware that I’m assuming his pronouns based on appearance and name - if you are Gavin and these are wrong, feel free to email me, as I’m willing to honour basically any pronouns you’d like so long as you can use them in an example sentence.
Discovering the repository of which this article is the topic
While poking around the history of Gavin Howard’s
bc (which is also the fastest
bc I know of per the benchmarks), I noticed the git repository https://git.gavinhoward.com/gavin/petty-tyrant-businesses on his Gitea (which I have privately mirrored for journalistic interest).
Here’s the head of the README of that repo.
Petty Tyrant Businesses
This repo is a list of all of the businesses that have forced me to wear a mask or get vaccinated, which I call “Petty Tyrant Businesses” (PTB’s).
WARNING: Naming these businesses is only for the reason of encouraging them to put off the tyranny of stupidity by voting with our money. Under NO circumstances should anyone commit crimes or violence against these businesses.
See this post.
tl;dr: I am sick of obeying tyrannical rules.
I note that this is very strange to me, as someone who despises petty tyranny - isn’t this person imposing his own petty tyranny, on others of any viruses he might be carrying or shedding by not wearing at least some kind of mask, as well as on himself of any diseases he might catch, from which he may not ever fully recover (link to Don Ford’s Substack), by not wearing at least an N95 mask? I can understand, theoretically, boycotting mask-mandate and mask-ban businesses both, if you’ll also wear an N95 or better anywhere you go.
I’d also note that my pasty-white face thinks this bodes ill for how well Gavin would work with racialised software developers. While African-Americans are a lot more anti-government mandates than the average population, understandably (link to Wikipedia on the Tuskegee experiment), they’re also disproportionately more afflicted by things like respiratory diseases, and I’ve heard that telling your average whitebread about this is apt to make them more careless about respiratory diseases , which is… suspicious, at the least.
Wild speculation regarding autism
There’s also the alternative hypothesis, like -
what if Gavin is autistic (very possible, given that the likely-NT source of the IRC dare on which he wrote his
bc dramatically underestimated his coding ability, possibly as a means of bullying), and has actual sensory issues with masks, and is expressing that in this really shitty, anti-communitarian way? Then I’m just doing a lateral ableism with this whole blog post, as an autistic person who does not have the same issues.
For a closing word
Gavin, as much as this thing is worded invectively, and the title and OpenGraph tags are kinda invective also, I don’t think you’re a horrible person. This stuff just isn’t exactly great. As I said, it’s possible that you’re doing this out of necessity but it’s coming out in this way that ends up harming everyone involved and calling for a boycott that would leave you very unfree to do anything in a country with sensible protections and a community spirit (which it seems like the elites want to shoot down because forcing people back into the offices makes them more money). If you really cannot wear a mask or a respirator, consider patronizing business that will deliver kerbside or to your house. This reduces your risk of getting anything the shopkeeper might have (though not to zero).