Friday, June 01, 2007

TB or Not TB...

Andrew Speaker, the 31-year-old man with TB who threw caution (and other passengers) to the wind when he boarded a plane with a personal "emergency" (read: wedding. Frankly, I think his new bride is the one with the personal emergency. Read: annulment) is the new poster boy for selfishess. Should he be charged with a crime the same way that a person who has AIDS and willfully infects others would be? Ho yeah.

Paraphrasing a soundbite from The Today Show: "Andrew Speaker is concerned about the international scare he caused."

HUH??? Andrew's soundbite from a week ago would have sounded more like "Fuck it!"

In the latest twist to this story, we discover that his father-in-law is a TB specialist for the CDC. Of course, dad-in-law says that this is a sheer coincidence and Speaker didn't get the disease from him, or from the CDC labs. Hm. As we say here in the Skeptic's Corner, "Coincidence? I don't think so."

And lest we forget, the border guard in Canada determined that Speaker "didn't look sick" and let him continue on his journey, spreading joy and germs to all. Any chance that guy was working at Logan Airport on 9/11/01?

Andrew Speaker and his unstoppable nuptial drive aside, what this story should teach us most is how patently unprepared we are for a serious pandemic of any kind. This is one person and there are very few hospitals who would be capable of quarantining him. Multiply him by a thousand, or even ten, and we're screwed.

Ironically, Speaker is a personal injury lawyer. Maybe anyone who becomes infected as a result of his irresponsible behavior can hire him to sue himself.