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Sunday, May 1, 2016

From the Midway: Did I infect you too? Sorry

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, the biggest news story that was reported by the mainstream media was about Andrew Speaker. He was the man who has an infectious strain of tuberculosis and traveled abroad for his wedding and honeymoon.

In the course of his trip he may have infected other travelerx with tuberculosis. Then Speaker and his new wife spent some time in Italy and then came back home through Canada. Well the man claimed that his doctors told him that he was not contagious and he thought it would be OK to travel.

So why did he fly into Canada and enter the U.S. through the back door? Maybe he needed to get cheaper prescription drugs while visiting our neighbor to the north.

The second issue of this story was when U.S. border guards dropped the ball and let Speaker in the U.S. even though there was an all points bulletin out on Speaker. Well not everyone is perfect.

After the story broke, the country was all riled up for that week's dose of fear. Did he infect others, what if I was sitting next to him, how did he cross the boarder without being detected?

What else is coming across the border, am I infected too? These are the big questions that fear wants you to ask.

Well no one has been infected so far. That means no harm no foul right? Speaker has been quarantined once the government found him so we are all safe for now.

Then of course, Speaker did what any respected Hollywood celebrity would do in his place. That's right, he went on Good Morning America and said that he's sorry. (I really like how the show's producers made him wear a face mask. That was a nice touch of showmanship.)

It seems that you have to go on national television nowadays and say that you're sorry; it's the only thing that makes a mob put down their torches and pitchforks.

Not to be left out of the spotlight, Congress seized the chance for free press by making Speaker give his testimony to a Senate subcommittee. Now that's action. It's like putting a sign next to a well telling you not to fall in. It really doesn't fix the problem.

Over the last week I've been reflecting about this real life drama and it occurred to me that this story really doesn't matter and I'll tell you why.

Have you ever noticed that around this same time of year there is always a health issue that happens, like West-Nile, Bird-Flu or, my personal favorite, an outbreak of Salmonella in a fast-food restaurant? Viruses and bacteria are dangers and can threaten your life; but you have no control if or when you become ill. You can take precautions, but that's it. Anything else you do just fuels the flames of fear.

That is why the media love to use fear so that you can keep your eyes on the television, why our public officials use fear to keep your mind off of whatever their real agenda is, why religion uses fear to spread ideology, why anyone who tries to get you to do something that they want uses the words "or else."

The "or else" is fear.

These types of stories do nothing to solve a problem just to spread the real infection, that of fear. There was no Senate subcommittee last week on anybody that is infected with HIV/AIDS and knowingly has sex with someone and not telling their partner that they are infected.

There was no one on television telling that story. No one comes forward and says that they're "sorry that they infected you with HIV/AIDS, good luck."

To me that seem more of a priority and a more major health problem that the media should be looking at rather then spreading fear. Remember what President Franklin Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Mike Leckband
From the Midway