[On Mondays, if he’s so inclined, my non-blogger friend MYRLN will be a guest poster on this weblog.]
TB? So what??
As one who years ago lost both parents to tuberculosis, a mother at age 5 (after being taken protectively from home to live elsewhere with relatives at age 3) and a father at age 14, the current matter of one Andrew Speaker, carrier of a drug-resistant hence particularly deadly form of t.b., strikes a deep chord. And it evokes a powerful reaction: the man is an insensitive, unthinking, uncaring bastard. He is a symbol of that growing class of people in this country — those with economic ease — who think the only ones who matter in the world are themselves. Everyone else can go get screwed.
Knowing he is infected and hence infectious, having been advised against such travel, he says “Screw it,” and goes on a globetrotting honeymoon. Then afterwards claims he didn’t think it was a problem. Of course not, thinking so would have necessitated considering others: like his new wife, and fellow passengers on the planes he used, and the help and other travelers at hotels where he stayed, restaurants where he ate, and so on. Oh no, he was going to enjoy HIMSELF and screw everyone else.
About being flagged in Italy and told to give himself up to authorities, he says he thought to himself, “You’re nuts. I wasn’t going to do that.” Of course not. It would have spoiled his fun.
Speaker is a personal injury lawyer — one of those kind you see t.v. ads about — and is now thinking like a lawyer, saying: 1) he wasn’t advised not to travel, 2) was told he should wear a mask, 3) thought it was all okay, 4) didn’t know it was a problem. Take your choice. (And bet your life on it: his personal doctors have been in conference with their lawyers.) Speaker’s only aim is to cover his butt one way or another, truth be damned. His actions displayed and continue to display his lack of concern for anyone else along with his ignorance of the epidemic that ripped the Eastern seaboard of this country in the 1930s and ’40s and killed thousands of people, like a 5-year old’s mother and a 14-year old’s father; of how people coughed and choked and spat blood and had no recourse but to stay home and die, or go to work (to sustain some income, however little) and thus infect others, or go to sanitoria like at Saranac Lake and die in last-ditch surgeries to cut away infected lung tissue. Not that such knowledge would have made any difference to him. He is of the privileged class. The world exists solely to serve him. (And his Daddy, also a lawyer, says it’s all the media’s fault for blowing the danger all out of proportion. Another ignoramus.)
The failure of government entities to short-circuit his gallivanting is no surprise: think 9/11,think Katrina, think Iraq.
And irony of ironies which would be funny if the situation weren’t so serious, his new wife’s father works at the CDC as a tuberculosis scientist.
What should be done with Speaker? Once upon a time, we could’ve taken him out to the nearest tree and strung him up. But even if it were still possible, that would make things easy for him. The best punishment would be to keep him in government quarantine but give him NO treatment whatsoever. Let him experience the suffering and pain and ultimate ugly death he so recklessly risked on others.
Undoubtedly, he would gasp at the end, “It wasn’t my fault.”
And this, in a recent MYRLN email, which I post here because I agree:
Watching her interviewed today by Wolf Blitzer only increased my admiration of Elizabeth Edwards. She’s smart, articulate, forthright, warm, and real. I’d take her as Prez candidate. And she makes Sen. Hypocrita Clinton look like what she truly is: fake, stiff, unreal, and unbelievable. I’d pay to see the two of them debate.