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OfflineEchoVortex
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Registered: 02/06/02
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Lock 'Em Up
    #1513394 - 05/02/03 12:58 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Here is an interesting case in which liberty is not a pure, unalloyed good.

NY Times
May 2, 2003
Lock 'Em Up
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF


Right after returning from covering the war in Congo five years ago, around the time of an Ebola outbreak there, I abruptly broke into the shakes and a high fever one night. I was living in Tokyo, so a Japanese friend helpfully called the health authorities and asked what to do with a foreigner who had just emerged from the central African jungle with a high fever.

Ten minutes later, I heard the sirens approaching my apartment. Then there was a pounding at the door, and a team of men looking like space invaders in bioprotection suits came to take the Ebola patient away.

Good for them!

In my case it was just malaria. But a lesson of the SARS outbreak is that we in the United States need to compromise on civil liberties to confront health risks more effectively.

After 9/11, the Bush administration wisely pushed a Model Emergency Health Powers Act as a template for legislation by the states. Such legislation would permit governors to respond to health crises with a state of emergency in which they could impose quarantines, order vaccinations and the destruction of dangerous property, limit people's movements and ration medicine, and seize anything from dead bodies to private hospitals. The steps are tough and sobering, but would apply only in desperate circumstances and within safeguards. So far only 22 states have passed this kind of law, and California, New York and Texas have all spurned it.

One main obstacle has been shrieks of protest by civil libertarians, whom I'm usually sympathetic to; but not this time.

"In a smallpox attack, you're talking about a weapon of mass destruction," notes Keith Richman, a Republican doctor in the California Assembly and sponsor of the law there. "The ability of the public health system to respond in an emergency will determine how many hundreds of thousands of lives you save."

A smallpox attack is, I hope, very unlikely. But who knows? The spooks thought Iraq might have the smallpox virus, in which case it could now turn up anywhere, and North Korea may also possess it. A U.S. simulation called Dark Winter suggested that a smallpox attack could quickly leave one million Americans dead and the nation in complete chaos.

Aside from terrorism, 30 new diseases have popped up in the last quarter-century, from avian flu to AIDS. This is an age of global disease, when viruses flit across continents.

In the SARS outbreak, New York forcibly quarantined a man suspected of having the disease after he refused to isolate himself. That's a real breach of liberty, but suppose he had been an irresponsible superspreader like Typhoid Mary and caused the disease to spin out of control?

Consider Hong Kong and Singapore in the SARS outbreak. Hong Kong reacted to the disease much as America would have. Meanwhile, Singapore required visitors from any country with SARS to pass through a thermal scanner that flagged anyone with a temperature over 100 degrees; such people were forcibly quarantined for 10 days. Singapore's SARS patients were allowed no visitors, and schools were closed. And when a vegetable seller came down with the disease, all 2,400 people working in that market were forced into quarantine. While Hong Kong had five deaths yesterday, Singapore had none, and it appears to be over the hump.

I first encountered the dictatorial approach to public health in rural China, which combated leprosy much more effectively than democratic countries like India. Leprosy is so humiliating a disease that sufferers sometimes do not seek treatment, risking infecting others. So China instituted rewards: turn in a leper (even your spouse) for cash. This policy wiped out leprosy in China, and the Chinese are better off for it.

The American Civil Liberties Union argues that the model U.S. law "could have serious consequences for individuals' freedom, privacy and equality." That's right. But the alternative is to risk many, many deaths.

"I have very close ties to civil liberties," said Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown University law professor who drafted the model legislation (and who used to serve on the national board of the A.C.L.U.). "But I think we've got the balance wrong, and we've forgotten the other important issue of public health."

If you disagree, how about if I visit your neighborhood the next time I'm back from an Ebola outbreak in Congo and feeling feverish?





Edited by EchoVortex (05/02/03 01:00 AM)


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OfflineMadtowntripper
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Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1513411 - 05/02/03 01:02 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

I'll buy it. There are times when civil liberties have to be suspended for the public good. They whined when Abe Lincoln did it too, and that didnt 'cause a disaster. Nice post....


--------------------
After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action.  If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it.  - Ernest Hemingway

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it.  In the law courts, in business, in government.  There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.    -Cormac MacCarthy

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.  - Aeschylus


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Offlinewingnutx
Registered: 09/25/00
Posts: 2,268
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Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1513573 - 05/02/03 01:45 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Funny hearing that from Kristoff. If Bush suggested this, Kristoff would go berzerk.

Not a bad idea, if someone does in fact pose a direct threat. It's not like they are going to jail, just medical observation for a few days. SARS is overrated, though, imho.


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OfflineEchoVortex
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Registered: 02/06/02
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Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: wingnutx]
    #1513702 - 05/02/03 02:28 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

The Bush Administration DID suggest this. It says so in the article. And Kristof gave them credit for it. And no, a highly contagious infectious disease that kills 10% of its victims is not "overrated." In the course of a month it has already sent the Chinese economy into a tailspin and without due diligence it could do the same anywhere.


Edited by EchoVortex (05/02/03 02:29 AM)


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InvisibleInnvertigo
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Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 16,296
Loc: Crackerville, Michigan U...
Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1514152 - 05/02/03 09:12 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

i would have to agree about losing civil liberties. Anyone who understans logarythms(sp) and exponential numbers knows that a disease from one can be a disease for millions pretty quick.

1=2
2=4
4=8
8=16
16=32
32=64
64=128
128=256
256=512
512=1024
and so on....Sars is scary and since Toronto is only a 2-3 hours away i am not to far from it.


--------------------

America....FUCK YEAH!!!

Words of Wisdom: Individual Rights BEFORE Collective Rights

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson


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OfflineMadtowntripper
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Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: Innvertigo]
    #1514254 - 05/02/03 10:18 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Is 10% the kill rate for SARS? I question this...From what I understand, the Flu has a higher kill rate. SARS, in my non-medically educated background, is waaay overblown by ratings-hungry media.


--------------------
After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action.  If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it.  - Ernest Hemingway

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it.  In the law courts, in business, in government.  There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.    -Cormac MacCarthy

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.  - Aeschylus


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InvisibleInnvertigo
Vote Libertarian!!
Male

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 16,296
Loc: Crackerville, Michigan U...
Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: Madtowntripper]
    #1514261 - 05/02/03 10:20 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

i have no idea what the kill rate is...it has the potential to be pretty bad.

as a side note i saw on the discovery channel the other night that a disease doesn't qualify as a plague until it kills 5% of a society.



--------------------

America....FUCK YEAH!!!

Words of Wisdom: Individual Rights BEFORE Collective Rights

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson


Edited by Innvertigo (05/02/03 10:26 AM)


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OfflineMadtowntripper
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Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: Innvertigo]
    #1514270 - 05/02/03 10:23 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Mmm. I appear to have been wrong...Wow. That is a tad frightening. From CNN.com's world page...

The head of the WHO's clinical network, Mark Salter, says current death rates are at 6 percent, but could likely reach 10 percent. The disease is still in its early stages, Salter said, and it was normal for death rates to increase in such circumstances.


--------------------
After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action.  If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it.  - Ernest Hemingway

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it.  In the law courts, in business, in government.  There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.    -Cormac MacCarthy

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.  - Aeschylus


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Offlinewingnutx
Registered: 09/25/00
Posts: 2,268
Last seen: 5 years, 5 months
Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1514448 - 05/02/03 11:58 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Oops, that part bounced right off of my brain. Duh. My extra chromosome was acting up.

10% though? I think it has been much lower in the industrialized west, i.e. Canadia. Then again I completely blew my last post here...


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OfflineMadtowntripper
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Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: wingnutx]
    #1514588 - 05/02/03 12:55 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Yeah. That stands to reason because 40 people in the U.S. have gotten the disease, but none have died...


--------------------
After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action.  If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it.  - Ernest Hemingway

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it.  In the law courts, in business, in government.  There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.    -Cormac MacCarthy

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.  - Aeschylus


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Anonymous

Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: Madtowntripper]
    #1514599 - 05/02/03 12:58 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

i had SARS. i was over it in 3 days.


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OfflineRonoS
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Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: Madtowntripper]
    #1514621 - 05/02/03 01:14 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

Is 10% the kill rate for SARS? I question this...From what I understand, the Flu has a higher kill rate. SARS, in my non-medically educated background, is waaay overblown by ratings-hungry media.


The kill rate for SARS is only 2 - 3%....and while I agree that the media is probably blowing SARS out of propportion, I can understand how it is better to be safe than sorry. If the media didn't alert the public of the potential danger, I suspect incidents of SARS would be alot higher than they are...


--------------------
"Life has never been weird enough for my liking"


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OfflineMadtowntripper
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Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: Rono]
    #1514631 - 05/02/03 01:18 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Where are you getting 2-3% from? Just out of curiosity. And if the death rate IS that low, Its not much worse than the flu, right? So why make everyone worried sick?


--------------------
After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action.  If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it.  - Ernest Hemingway

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it.  In the law courts, in business, in government.  There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.    -Cormac MacCarthy

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.  - Aeschylus


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InvisibleInnvertigo
Vote Libertarian!!
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Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 16,296
Loc: Crackerville, Michigan U...
Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: Madtowntripper]
    #1514644 - 05/02/03 01:23 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

it's summer boys and girls, coming to a neighborhood near you: West Nile Virus.....the other SARS disease. :grin:


--------------------

America....FUCK YEAH!!!

Words of Wisdom: Individual Rights BEFORE Collective Rights

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson


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OfflineRonoS
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Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: Madtowntripper]
    #1514655 - 05/02/03 01:27 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

I got that percentage from the newspaper last week...I'm sure a google search would give the info. I think the panic is there because it is a "new" disease and relatively unknown..whereas the flu is well known.

And yes...West Nile warnings are already being issued here..lovely..


--------------------
"Life has never been weird enough for my liking"


Edited by Rono (05/02/03 01:30 PM)


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InvisibleInnvertigo
Vote Libertarian!!
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Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 16,296
Loc: Crackerville, Michigan U...
Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: Rono]
    #1514670 - 05/02/03 01:33 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

they had an article in the Detroit Free Press on how to correctly cut your lawn to avoid getting west nile..long pants long sleeve shirt, baseball hat and shoes....try that when it's 95 degrees.


--------------------

America....FUCK YEAH!!!

Words of Wisdom: Individual Rights BEFORE Collective Rights

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson


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OfflineRonoS
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Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: Innvertigo]
    #1514681 - 05/02/03 01:38 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Small chance of it reaching 95 degress here in the mountains... :wink:  I'm still pretty uninformed when it comes to West Nile though...I don't really consider it enough of a threat to change my way of life.


--------------------
"Life has never been weird enough for my liking"


Edited by Rono (05/02/03 01:40 PM)


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InvisibleInnvertigo
Vote Libertarian!!
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Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 16,296
Loc: Crackerville, Michigan U...
Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: Rono]
    #1514693 - 05/02/03 01:44 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

they found a dead bird infected by west nile a few miles from where i live..i still don't know much aboot it...life's too short to worry aboot every germ.


--------------------

America....FUCK YEAH!!!

Words of Wisdom: Individual Rights BEFORE Collective Rights

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson


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Anonymous

Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: EchoVortex]
    #1514763 - 05/02/03 02:22 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

being allowed to run about infecting your neighbors with a deadly virus is not liberty.


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OfflineMadtowntripper
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Re: Lock 'Em Up [Re: ]
    #1514811 - 05/02/03 02:41 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

I really dont care to know about West Nile. Ya know? I mean, if I get sick, I get sick, but I dont see alot of reasonable precautions a person can take.

If Ebola hits Wisconsin, I want to be warned...Or the flesh-rotting disease. But West Nile & Sars? Please....


--------------------
After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action.  If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it.  - Ernest Hemingway

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it.  In the law courts, in business, in government.  There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.    -Cormac MacCarthy

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.  - Aeschylus


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