"Hospital Lockdown" for SARS

I am just surprised that there had been no discussion of human rights abuse evident in the manner in which the local government had been containing the supposedly unimaginary “SARS” virus.

Think about it… overnight, without due process of any law, an entire hospital was locked down. Regardless of whether you were sick, just visiting, making a delivery, picking up some pills, etc. and regardless of the need to work to support your family … people in Ho Ping Hospital were locked up without any adquate sleeping or eating facilities! Hmmmm. What is even more surprising is that most local residents were glad these people were locked up. No protest. No lawsuits from any organization resembling the ACLU threatening to challenge the government’s acts!

I seriously doubt that if the same thing happened in New York, Boston, or LA, the authorities will not have the balls to do what the Taipei government did here. Can you think of the day when the New York city government locks down New York General? Or, Boston locking down Boston General? Or, LA locking down the UCLA Medical Center??? People would be up in arms and the ACLU would be very busy.

Now I used to sneer at people who believed in the ACLU. I called them bleeding heart liberals. well, in light of recent events here in Taipei, I now know that I had taken civil liberties for granted. At any moment in Taipei, I could be forced to do things that make no sense, even being locked away with 1000 other people in some concentration camp for “SARS” infected people. It is a scary thought! More scary is the fact the local residents don’t seem to think about human rights in light of recent events!

There were a lot of people on TV bemoaning their lack of human rights when that happened.

They’d have alot more to moan about than “human rights” if they went home and spread SARS to their families.


The London Plague of 1665

The Black Death. In the year 1665 death came calling on the city of London. Death in the form of plague. People called it the Black Death, black for the colour of the tell-tale lumps that foretold its presence in a victim’s body, and death for the inevitable result. The plague germs were carried by fleas which lived as parasites on rats. Although it had first appeared in Britain in 1348, the islands were never totally free of plague, but it was like an unpleasant possibility that people just learned to live with while they got on with their business. This time it was different.

One footnote to this tale of horror. The plague broke out in the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, brought on a shipment of old clothes sent from London. The villagers, led by their courageous clergyman, realized that the only way to stop the spread of the plague to surrounding villages was to voluntarily quarantine the village, refusing to leave until the plague had run its course. This they did, though the cost was 259 dead out of a total of 292 inhabitants. Each year this heroic event is commemorated by the Plague Sunday Service in Eyam.

Better than the Brits who would just shoot you if you don’t obey and try to run away:

[quote]May 14, 2003

Disaster police ‘could shoot’
By Stewart Tendler, Crime Correspondent

POLICE may have to shoot members of the public to control crowds after a chemical, biological or nuclear attack by terrorists, police representatives have warned.
Officers would have to take tough and extreme action so that the risk of infection or radioactivity was not spread, and prevent members of the public trying to break cordons to get away, Bob Elder, the leader of England and Wales

Well a very similar situation has been happening in the US. But instead of them being suspected of having SARS, they are suspected of being involved with terrorism. I think it is quite conceivable if there is a widespread outbreak in the US, that they will follow suit. In fact I believe bush has already given the ok for such an action.

In situations such as this I think people can forgive a suspension of some of their civil liberties for a limited duration.

I guess you weren’t born in the 1940’s or 1950’s before polio vaccine was invented. My cousin died last year of complications from his bout with polio 50 years ago. He was lucky I guess. He only had to wear leg braces from the time he was a toddler.