Facebook is a menace. COVID-19 is a menace. Conservatism is a cesspool. Together, those three ingredients have created a toxic stew of malevolent death and devastation. We can talk about all those things in the abstract, look at the numbers and statistics, and catch the occasional whiff of seditionist right-wing rhetoric. But I hadn’t really fully understood just how horrifying that combination of right-wing extremism, Facebook, and a killer virus was until I became a regular at the Herman Cain Awards subreddit. This series will document some of those stories, so we are aware of what the other side is doing to our country.

Today’s cautionary tale is TikToker Amy Briar-Bement, who had over 5,000 followers on that social media platform spewing QAnon and anti-vaxx b.s. 

Given that this was a TikTok source, I was going to include links to the original videos. Unfortunately, her account was just made private, making that impossible. But the folks at SorryAntiVaxxer have a compilation video here. It’s tough to watch. Really tough. So click through at your own discretion.

I’m also going to weave this timeline into the video screencaps here, so it all makes more narrative sense. 

Mar 29th 2020: Takes 2 weeks off from work because she’s afraid of contracting Covid from people who don’t cough into their elbows, and she doesn’t want to get it and pass it to her sons (the youngest being ~6 yo at the time). Doesn’t mind if her 2 weeks off is unpaid leave. Seems sensible, even extra-careful.

Apr 2020 to Aug 2021: Goes to Facebook University and becomes a victim of Covid misinformation. Becomes a radicalized QAnon/Trumptard kook, though not the worst out there.

Aug 26th 2021: Refuses a Rapid-Antigen Test for the 7-yo son, who is sick (most probably with Covid). That’s a pre-requisite for entering the clinic she’s taken him to, so he probably doesn’t get diagnosed/treated and goes home to recover.

Late-Aug/early-Sep 2021: She catches Covid, most probably from the son. The kid will probably be OK, which acts as confirmation bias to her that Covid is not serious, maybe just like a mild ‘flu.

Sep 4th 2021: First onset of her symptoms, Day 1 by her calendar – but she may have caught it a bit earlier and been asymptomatic initially.

Sep 11th 2021: Coughing continuously, she presents at the ER on Day 8. A Rapid-Antigen Test shows a false negative. She’s allowed in and questioned by the nurse if she’s vaccinated and if she has prepared a Living Will. As seen in the video clip above, she dismisses both questions out-of-hand as bullshit.

(She doesn’t know it then, and probably neither does the clinic – but this is the last day when she can safely initiate Regeneron antibody infusion that can possibly save her. Beyond Day 10, the EUA for Regeneron does not permit its use for treatment of Covid. It’s possible that her insurance doesn’t cover Regeneron anyway, and she might not have been willing to pony up ~$3k out-of-pocket for something that’s rationed, especially if she had just tested false-negative for Covid. In hindsight, it’s a fatal mistake, but the choice wasn’t made available to her anyway.)

Now we pick up with screenshots.

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September 14

“I can’t stop this cough. Severe stomach cramps. My kidneys feel like they’re on fire, feels like I’m being punched in the back. And yes, I’m an anti-vaxxer. I won’t get that damn vaccine.”

Sep 14th 2021: With her cough worsening, she is still a vehement antivaxxer—it’s too late anyway for the vaccine, and also for Regeneron on Day 11, but she doesn’t know it. Vehement that she won’t take the poison (vaccine), whatever happens.

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September 14

She has COVID, she already feels like crap, like she’s being “punched in the back,” but refuses to let go of the ideology that got her there. She would rather feel like COVID-shit than to have gotten the jab. 

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September 14

Remember, she started by taking time off from work to protect her kids from COVID, and Facebook turned her into this. 

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September 14

She says, “I look like shit, I feel like shit. Something has to give.” 

Something had to give, but it wasn’t going to be her ideological opposition to a vaccine that would’ve prevented all of this agony. 

The “poison” virus is better than the “poison” vaccine. 

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September 17

Sep 17th 2021: SpO2 level from a pulse oximeter shows 89-91. Gets tested again—the test comes back positive for COVID. Calls the VA ER (she’s a veteran? Maybe the late husband) and is asked to call other ERs. They can’t give her any medication at this stage at any rate.

She admits that Covid is kicking her ass.

She complains that the local ER won’t take her because they don’t have any beds, and defiantly states that she still wouldn’t take “the shot.”

It was too late for her anyway. You can’t get the shot once you have COVID. But it would’ve served some purpose had she reconsidered the wisdom of the shot at some point. She wonders if he should call an ambulance, to find her a bed somewhere. On Sept. 20, she says “I broke down, I’m finally in an ER.”

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September 20

Sep 20th 2021: She’s finally in the ER on a bunch of IVs. They diagnose pneumonia (ground-glass opacity on chest X-Ray?) and move her to the ICU where she’s put on supplemental oxygen for the first time after blacking out twice (not clear if she blacked out at home or at the ER).

She blacked out twice, which she says was “good, because it finally got me in the hospital.” 

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September 21

Sep 21st 2021: She’s getting worse, and realizes that her outcome could be fatal for the first time. She has been informed that she will be intubated and on the ‘vent if she doesn’t improve. She informs her parents and kids and prepares them for caretaking arrangements.

I can’t imagine having that conversation with young children. 

In fact, this is the first time she shifts from that defiant “condemn me” formulation, centered on her own selfishness, and acknowledges that her hospitalization is impacting other people. 

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September 22

Sep 22nd 2021: SpO2 is in the 70s, so she’s obviously heading downwards. Edit: On BiPap for the first time.

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September 23

Sep 23rd 2021: Still on BiPap, but feeling slightly better. Asks for PayPal contributions for the kids and bills, in a “worst-case scenario,” “being practical,” etc. Pillow cover is blue.

I hated watching these last videos more than anything. The fear and desperation in her voice is gutting. She may have been originally obnoxious with her “come at me” and “say I deserve it, I don’t care,” but her kids certainly didn’t deserve it. And I don’t think she did either. She was a victim of a massive disinformation campaign, and I wouldn’t wish this fate on my worst enemy. 

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September 23

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September 23

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September 23

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September 23

She had five kids. Four of them living at home. Father had already passed away. The youngest is 8 years old. She said she was trying to be “on the practical side of having kids and bills and everything.” But for the love of god, being on one’s deathbed from an avoidable disease is the last place one wants to begin being “practical”! The time to start was whenever the vaccine became available for her group. And given that she was obese, it would’ve been nearly from the start, in March. 

Sep 24th 2021: No video, just a message.

Sep 26th 2021: Miraculously improves, and is removed from the BiPap (mis-states it as bypass). Pillow cover is white. Claims a doctor had a conversation with her in which he said she’s taking up an ICU bed that could be better used for a good vaccinated individual. She thinks that the worst is behind her.

Sep 30th 2021: Probably last video, from the ICU while on BiPap again, maybe after a relapse in oxygen levels. Pillow cover is blue, speech is garbled/unintelligible (could somebody post a transcript if possible?). She’s clearly in worse shape than the first BiPap on Sep 22nd.

Oct 1st – 21st 2021: No video updates, but obviously in the terminal phase, on the ‘vent, in the ICU.

Oct 15th: Another fundraising request from her mom(?) Debbie. This must be in her terminal, possibly intubated, phase.

Oct 21st: Dead – would have been a horrible final 3 weeks.

There was never an acknowledgment that her actions destroyed her family. There was never any effort to turn her tragedy into a teachable moment that might’ve saved some lives down the line. Her obituary didn’t even mention COVID. She simply “gained her Angel wings and joined Jesus in Heaven.” 

What a waste. What a tragic, senseless, meaningless waste. 

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You can watch a compilation of her videos at SorryAntivaxxer.com, if you can stomach it. For whatever reason, her coughing got to me. So visceral. 

Remember, she didn’t start out as a rabid anti-vaxxer. She started taking precautions and behaving sensibly to protect her children. Then Facebook came and broke her so deeply, that she lost the fundamental instinct to protect her children against all threats. 

Something is deeply broken.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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