Naval academy attendee and attorney Andrew Speaker knew he had a contagious form of tuberculosis, but put his own needs above those of other people and refused to quarantine himself in Italy. Instead, Speaker and his new wife Sarah Cooksey flew from Rome, to Prague, to Montreal and then drove across the New York border back into the USA. Obviously, that put hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people at risk.
Now today Speaker, who is being treated in a Denver hospital, told Diane Sawyer that he wasn't fully aware of his dangerous condition when he decided to travel:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE SAWYER: Was it a selfish decision?
ANDREW SPEAKER: I said, what's changed? When I left, I was told I wasn't a threat to anyone. When I left, I was told that I wasn't contagious. What's changed? Why are you abandoning me like this and expecting me to turn myself over for an indefinite time?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Now, the question is should we give Mr. Speaker the benefit of the doubt? And the answer is no.
Here's why. His wife was also interviewed this morning. And here's what she said:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am, with everything I have I'm so sorry if we — if there was more than —there was any chance that we put them in harm's way. I would never want that. Just imagine sitting in a foreign country with your husband and being told that your government was just going to leave you there. And you would probably die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OK, so Speaker says he wasn't fully aware of his condition. His wife says he thought he was going to die. Add it up.
So what the story comes down to is philosophy of life:Traditional values people put others on par with themselves. That's a Judeo-Christian tenet: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Secular progressives put themselves above all others. That philosophy says "me first, then I'll worry about you." As a nation, the USA has been successful embracing the traditional point of view. But today, that's being challenged. And this TB case a great example.
Are Andrew Speaker and his wife bad people? Probably not. Did Speaker put his own welfare above everything and everybody else? You bet he did.
So what do you think about that? What would you have done? — Stayed in Italy in a strange place to avoid infecting strangers or high tail it out of there? Interesting question, isn't it?
And that's "The Memo."
Most Ridiculous Item
This morning [Friday, June 1, 2007] a guy climbed up on the George Washington Bridge here in New York City in an apparent suicide play. It took police more than an hour to talk the guy down. By that time, rush hour traffic was backed up to Scranton, Pennsylvania, or at least central New Jersey.
This demonstrates how chaotic the nation's largest city — New York really is. Every day traffic is out of control, because trucks are allowed to block the roadways and the bridges and tunnels cannot handle the volume.
Terrorists, of course, know this. But New York and New Jersey officials continue to do nothing about a really dangerous situation.
For example, in the city, child asthma is four times the national average because vehicles are trapped on the streets spewing fumes into the air.
The whole New York City traffic deal is a major disaster in this country and it is beyond ridiculous.
They did get the guy down. But you would have been in traffic three or four hours trying to get into the city this morning.
—You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org