Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Saturday, January 17, 2004
This makes me do the happy dance. (use laexaminer for the name and password) I never in my life dreamed I'd be seeing second thoughts in the opinons section of some of the liberal papers that I've seen such things in this year.

I think 9-11 has begun a subtle shift. People realize that even X-ray machines can't keep weapons away when bad people have the will to use them. People also realized that police/the military/the government is almost never on the scene when bad shit happens. You are the one who might be targeted by bad people. You will be the person on the scene. You might have to take matters into your own hands to guarantee your safety or the safety of others.

Seen in that light gun-control seems ineffective and not so important.

posted by Rachel 1/17/2004
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Hmm.
This is an interesting article. I'm not entirely sure where I stand on the issue. It's clear that as things currently stand it's poorly implemented, but I'm undecided on the principle behind the ban.

On the one hand it's a chronic disease (with treatment.) On the other hand, it is a contgious disease, and it is spread by irresponsible behavior (most of the time.) Absent an unethical (and likely illegal) morality analysis, I don't see any way to differentiate people who contracted it from blood-transfusions, or a broken condom, or an abusive husband, from those who caught it because they were sleeping around. Even at that point, I don't know that that's a defensible reason for kicking people out. We don't do that to citizens who become infected.

On the other hand I would have no problem demanding that infected people who come here prove their ability to pay for treatment. Many countries do that for exchange students (not treatment but school, you have to prove you can pay before you get there.) I think it's perfectly defensible for our country to refuse to pay for treatment of noncitizens especially if they have a disease that costs thousands of dollars and may last for decades. I would also have no problem with education right there at customs, for people who are positive, of the methods of transmission and also of the laws that say that if you knowingly infect someone you can be thrown in jail for many years. (That did actually happen in the late 80s or early 90s.)

On the other hand, I think that HIV tests at the borders are an invasion of privacy, precisely because of the stigma and because the method of transmission is so narrowly and clearly limited. I would approve of general health questions. "Do you currently suffer from any medical conditions which ar likely to require treatment during your stay?" would be fine with me. I'm also in favor of policies that differentiate between visitors and people begining the process of immigration.

posted by Rachel 1/17/2004
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