Friday, June 01, 2007

Andrew Speaker, Selfish Boor

Andrew Speaker is the man recently quarantined with a difficult case of tuberculosis after endangering people on two continents and people on two Transatlantic flights (one of which was scheduled specifically to evade detection). He risked the health of hundreds of people simply to enjoy a lavish European wedding and a jet-set honeymoon.

This man epitomizes the 'me first' entitlement mentality that pervades so much of our society at the moment.

He didn't care that he could infect hundreds or thousands (by proxy even more!) with a deadly disease.
He didn't care that he could tax an already sagging medical infrastructure on two continents.
He didn't care that he could cost the world millions in treatment costs and disinfecting efforts.

All he cared about was himself. Period.

He's smart, educated, completely capable of understanding the situation. He's a lawyer, after all. His father, also a lawyer, helped to justify his decision, so I guess that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. Together, they made plans to defy the wishes of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the advice of his personal physician and expose many to a very difficult to treat strain of TB. Mr. Speaker flew to France knowing that he was a modern-day Typhoid Mary in the worst possible scenario: on a jumbo jet full of potential victims for 8+ hours. Yet he he was selfish enough to do it anyway.

His defense is weak; he claims that the CDC didn't tell him he couldn't fly. He and his father maintain that the CDC told him that he shouldn't fly. Hmmm... this is a distinction that only a lawyer could maintain with a straight face. If you shouldn't fly for the risk of hundreds of people on the plane, wouldn't you honor that request due out of regard for fellow human beings? I would. I'm sure. But I'm the sort that actually cares for others. Mr. Speaker obviously isn't.

Mr. Speaker's protestation that his fiancee and her daughter were already in France at the time of his diagnosis also rings hollow. He implies that he had little choice but to carry through with the plans for his wedding in Europe without regard for the hundreds and thousands of potential TB victims that he contacted along the way. What?? For the sake of all of these people, you couldn't call your wife-to-be to arrange alternate plans? You spoiled brat of a man! It's all about you, isn't it?

Finally, Andrew Speaker claims that he didn't know the seriousness of his situation until the CDC contacted him in Italy and informed him that his strain of TB required immediate quarantine. What??? If you have TB, you avoid contact with others, no matter what strain you have! You defend exposing these people because your tuberculosis 'wasn't that bad'?? It's TB, for crying out loud! It's deadly. Capice?

I could go on, but I believe that my point is made: Andrew Speaker, you will live in infamy the rest of your days. And I hope that you wear that burden a long, long time.


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